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A woman was beaten up in public for being ‘characterless’ on the orders of a Khap panchayat in Uttar Pradesh. Do you still doubt why we need feminism?
If there was a competition of generating the most regressive news between people, this headline would still shock the audience. That’s how ashamed our country should be for actually letting a woman be beaten up in public, under the eye of the Khap Panchayat of the district of Bulandshahr in Uttar Pradesh.
A video came into light last Thursday of this incident, about a woman whose husband suspected her of trying to an affair, and hence, she was sentenced by the Khap Panchayat to be flogged by her husband in public, while tied to a tree .
This happening at a time where we expect society to be progressing towards a better tomorrow is immensely enraging and saddening at the same time. To all those misinformed individuals who still question the movement that is feminism, this news should be more than self-explanatory about the urgent need of the same.
The most outrageous aspect of the news is the fact that this was an act condoned by the Khap Panchayat of the district…a body which was has some traditional judicial authority within a local area, but routinely misuses its powers as in this example. The Khap orchestrated this extremely cruel judgement when no real fault lies in the supposedly ‘characterless’ woman. This is just a sample of the vicious and fragile mentality of patriarchy manifested into an institution which holds a position of power. The butt-hurt panchayat ordered a medieval way of ‘punishing’ the woman just because she tried to assert her autonomy as an adult citizen of India.
This is also a slap on the faces of all those who argue that there is complete equality between men and women, and that gender inequality is a ‘myth’ that feminists conjured out of their heads to create drama. It is 2018 and women still do not enjoy half the power as men do, and then we get reports which say things like the above? What even is the future of a country which systematically represses women, through such oppressive and suffocatingly small minded panchayats that exist all over the nation?
The scariest fact is that, far from being impartial and unbiased, an institution of power punished a woman for an act which is not a crime, nor within their mandate to judge/punish. Thankfully an FIR has been lodged but the bigger question that this incident poses is the relevance of the khap mentality in the modern world. Are they still fulfilling the purpose that they had been created for (to help resolve local disputes) or is it just an act to assume a sense of control that they had previous to the modern judiciary system? These might just be resisting progress by clinging to age-old notions of society and hence, the role of women in it; the transgression of which seems to be an attack on their ego which results in a shameful incident as this.
What do you think should be done about these small authorities? Is there a way out?