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Nirbhaya To “Nirbala” – All Point To Our Country’s Increasing Nirlajja

Posted: December 6, 2019

The sexism, misogyny, and utter shamelessness of the men (and patriarchy supporting women) in our country can be seen in 3 apparently unconnected incidents.

The Hyderabad rape-murder evoked very little anger, at least for me. I viewed the boiling rage with interest on the news, in Hyderabad, in Delhi, in Parliament and all I could think of was “How long will the channels keep up with this before they get bored? Will anything really change?”

And trust me, I am not alone. The acceptance of such brutality and the ease with which one can digest the horrors that were inflicted is a new benchmark on how shameless we have become as a society.

You watch too many horror movies and you get used to the jolts and spine-chilling scenes and it scares you no more. The same thing happens when you see the occurrence of rape-murders daily. It becomes a bitter pill that you swallow along with your morning chai. One pill for good health, one pill for human rottenness and its business as usual.

Locker room mentality “Nirbala”

One would have thought that we’ve hit rock bottom with the Nirbhaya case but apparently the well of human bestiality goes a lot deeper.

And that brings me to this little gem that was played out in Parliament where a MP called the Finance Minister “Nirbala” instead of “Nirmala”.

One wonders at the hidden talents that spring to life when an ex-Defence Minister and current Finance Minister is a woman, as one cannot recall names such as Arun, Manohar or Pranab being distorted. This shows the locker room mentality of our elected representatives which surely reflects on us as a society, as we put such people in power time and again.

And the misogyny of the film industry

Moving from politics to cinema, the recent bashing of Arjun Reddy/Kabir Singh by a talented Malayalam actress Parvathy and the succinct justification she received from the actor who played the role of Arjun Reddy, which was “The whole world is f–cked up” shows just how desensitised we are to films that portray subjugation of women.

The actor genuinely appears to have no idea on how his film can be interpreted by a young audience, he does not even once think that he is normalising such behaviour for all the men who are sitting on the fence of “Should I ‘be a man’ and force her, or ask her for consent?” The actor’s film has pushed these men over to the wrong side, and while we can all agree to his earth-shattering wisdom of “The world is f–cked up”, he and his director would be doing us a great service by keeping their muck out of it.

Finally, one word that would describe us best these days is Nirlajja (shamelessness).

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Roopa Prabhakar describes herself as a mother, a working woman, a closet feminist and blogger.

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