Tamil Film Draupathi Promotes Casteism And Rape, Masked As Protection Of ‘OUR’ Women

Years of effort to dismantle the caste system goes waste in 2hrs 40mins of watching the Tamil film Draupathi that promotes misogynist and casteist violence.

Years of effort to dismantle the caste system goes to waste in the 2hrs 40mins of watching the Tamil film Draupathi that promotes misogynist and casteist violence.

Draupathi is a Tamil movie recently released amidst huge controversies on casteism. The film has been attacked for its pro-casteism stand, and its intent to uphold the same.

The movie addresses the fake marriage mafia (demonising an entire community) in the name of ‘women safety’.

Fake marriages are a valid cause of concern, and they do happen with or without the support of the legal authorities and the political hands. These fake marriages leave the women involved homeless and helpless, only to be exploited for money and sex, or abandoned, or worse, get killed for honour and shame.

However, what really jolted me is the patriarchal lens through which the women’s safety is seen. It alarms that men really think they can act this way for safety of women. Once again the onus shifts to the victim.

‘Both the land and women are same to us; lay your hand on any, then we’ll crop your hand’
‘Get a chain, iphone and a bike, IT guy id card to lure them’
‘Do something and fill her womb’
‘If we want to win, the first step should be is to ruin their women’ – (ruin here means cheat her and impregnate her)

These are some of the dialogues in the movie. Both the parties consider women as a property. Something can be stolen, to be won, to be ruined, to be safeguarded, to be worshipped, to be goddesses…It is 2020 and still the ‘wombs’ are in the hands of men only to be played. The film slyly also uses a  pro-casteist attitude to glorify the ‘honour’ and shame.

Purports to ‘create awareness’ in ‘good girls’

On the release date, some political leaders called for daughters and fathers to watch the movie together, so that the daughter might “understand or realize the love and struggles of a father” and she will “not elope with someone from lower caste, not love anyone without her parents’ consent;  she will be a ‘good girl’.” Purporting to “spread social awareness not to ‘fall for the viles’ of the lower caste men.”

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Here comes the big question. Is there really any woman actually NOT aware what is happening here?

Since the birth of a girl child, she is fed fear and weakness in the name of awareness. Every living cell in our body is aware of the ‘be safe’ concept. By 2012 every woman had realized what Indian woman’s safety meant. And since then the crime rate against women has soared like anything, thanks to the ‘strict and sincere’ victim blaming authorities. By the time of the shocking Pollachi revelations, every woman in the remotest corner of TN came to be ‘aware’ what women’s safety meant.

No, women are not the same as land you can own

Then why these men are so determined to spread the ‘awareness’ crap further. What are they going to prevent? The words ‘spreading awareness to women’ sounds so sickening, now. The violence and exploitation is out in the open.

We need men and women to act constructively. To create spaces for women to talk about the injustice meted to them should be of utmost priority.

If women are expected to be silent as the land it is the fault of the patriarchy. Women have life; they breathe; they have blood running inside. Women are subjected to exploitation just like the land, and the men of this movie came up with the wonderful comparison that ‘Women and land are same to us ; they both are primarily important’.

To the hell with their comparisons and worship!

Casteist & misogynist violence

The trailer itself garnered support on the basis of caste. Members of the same caste came together on social media and made pledge to make the movie a successful one. What was worse were the young women and men stigmatising intercaste marriages, and cheering for the caste slurs and the patriarchal dialogues glorifying “honour residing in women”.

Years of effort to dismantle the caste system goes waste in 2hrs 40mins. Years of effort by the Constitution makers and other great minds to achieve gender equality gone to waste in the name of “awareness”.

These things were a reminder of the eulogising of the Hyderabad police who carried out the extrajudicial killings few months ago. People like violence and they enjoy killing.

In all the drama that followed the trailer and the movie, not one person has said that “I will not lay my hand on any woman”, or “I will not abuse or hurt any woman.” And the less that is said about the public response to the movie or to protest the movie is really disgusting. They have all used names of female body parts for scathing attack. Why the hell are our body parts thrown up in the garbage talk they have been spewing?

‘Women’s fault’

The real problem lies in the patriarchal mindset. “After marriage only a woman begins her life; so it is her duty to not offend her husband, otherwise it is her life that will be in trouble; she is bound to give him money, wealth etc., or he may throw her away and her life is over; husband has all the rights to beat and torture her.”

It is this attitude sanctioned by the society that is ingrained in our people. Families don’t help a woman to come out marriage. Once married then that’s all; everything is done for.

(sarcasm alert)

Because women are torchbearers of culture and honour.

If something happens even after this strong effort by men, then it is undoubtedly the woman’s fault. She should have listened to the men. What a wonderful solution to the women’s safety!

And I don’t understand why these people are inviting fathers and daughters to watch it together. Why not mothers? Doesn’t a mother have any say in her daughter’s well being and safety? But no. The daughter should realize how much her father only (not mother) is struggling and loves her.

The same attitude is prevalent in every society regardless of the castes.

I wonder whether these men will ever realize that to protect a woman is not to shun her freedom and worship her. The director says openly that women are weak and it is necessary to prevent the intercaste marriages because they are weak to take decisions.

The solution to prevent fake marriages does not lie in the cctv cameras in registrar offices (as some have done years ago) and definitely not in parental consent. Instead of how to fight the injustice that had befallen these women, or how to establish support systems, these kind of movies just focus on victim blaming. Just chop the person up, and then it is over. Just don’t fall in love then no problem will arise.

This kind of awareness is just like shouting amidst thieves that there is a thief. For decades we know that there is no safety. What we want to be aware of is how far the family and society we live in can support us without snatching our human rights.

The Constitution grants India’s citizens freedom of life under Article 21. The same constitution talks about the duties – ‘renounce the practices that affect the dignity of women’. Perhaps they should create movies to ‘create awareness’ and make men understand their constitutional duties, and the rights granted to women!

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