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We say 'human civilisation' but in reality, perhaps men never really evolved from their caveman mindset to date.
Trigger Warning: This deals with rape culture and gender based violence and may be triggering for survivors.
“This is the blackest news story I have seen since the Godhra riots and the heinous Nirbhaya case —” someone told me the other day. She was obviously referring to the Manipur riots and gang rape of a 21 one-year-old that flashed as the breaking story across news channels.
You hear the common speeches doing round, with sagacious interjections, enquiring how long will this continue. There are those NRIs and even others who straightaway label India as a misogynist, and unsafe country for women.
But this isn’t a commentary of ‘how women in my country are safer than those in yours’. The trend to note is the patriarchal mindset and gender politics ingrained in our heads since Adam and Eve became conscious of their differences. At least, based on physical parameters. The mental and emotional discrepancies are a topic for another day.
War. Invasion. Political domination.
Those three words are the beating hearts of gender politics not just on the Indian subcontinent, but the world in general. I know of people who have already opened their mouths to contest my claim.
It doesn’t happen in civilized, advanced nations with democracy at their core—such would be their arguments. No? What are civilized democracies, really? Has anyone seen the two words that make up this utopic concoction anywhere except those nooks and crannies of the world with negligible population? Places with a population that’s highly literate and too sparse to savour the surplus of facilities offered by their governments?
Gender politics is in fact the ‘civilized’ world’s oldest dirty trick to expound the ‘survival of the fittest’ theory. Be it the ancient Indian scriptures such as Ramayana or Mahabharata, or the famed Roman Empire (Does ‘Rape of Lucretia’ ring a bell?); the shared colonial past of several nations chequered with the solo or combined rules of many world powers in the early 18-19th century, to the dark ages of Nazi regime, and even the recent shameful incident at Manipur. Till date, women are still the ultimate ‘trophy’. If tainted and dishonored the ‘proper’ way, their story could alter the structure of a particular territory, ethnicity, or civilization.
It’s the ultimate weapon harbored by the ones with brute force to show the weak that they can snatch their upcoming generations away from them and scar their history and name for an eternity.
The irony here is that the women who are exposed to this inhuman tool of exploitation, in the name of warfare and domination, often have no say in the matter. On countless occasions, the society has forced them to choose silence over an ignominious trial.
In the medieval ages, when the Mughals crossed the vast north-western deserts to conquer India, their first act to instill fear into the minds of the native crowd was to loot their temples and the women.
The forced impregnation of women during wars and mass genocides, or even the more recent trend of ripping unborn children out of a woman’s womb before raping her, is just another form of asserting that brute force. Shock the enemy by trampling over their weakest and most vulnerable artery. Women, to such invaders, notwithstanding their race or nationality.
A woman in any household is supposed to embody the honour of that family or race. They are the conduits carrying the bloodlines of a family, nation, or dynasty over the ages. Hence, taking other people’s women has been deemed the most ‘successful’ act to break that lineage and declare supremacy over another nation or race.
For a few days now, we will hear a lot of social media discussions about the subject of how Manipur turned into a hellscape from an idyllic tourist location in North East India.
Our ‘esteemed’ representatives from the entertainment world or other fields have already expressed their ‘shock’ and ‘deepest’ concerns over the horrifying Manipur gang rape and mass rampage. But of course, that’s like a hollow line or a disclaimer — the least a person can supply to share their state of mind.
Some of our revered political figures have also added their ‘shame’ and ‘disgust’ in regards to this terrifying razing of one of the eight sister states of India. However, it’s interesting to note that the law enforcers only promised swift action when the country’s apex judicial body warned to take matters in its own hand.
So now, social media and mainstream news agencies will be abuzz with these screaming headlines and breaking news stories of more carnage. But is this really helping us?
Go and ask a guy on the street. You might or might not receive the same answer from all of them. But many will say that those women put themselves in that position. Shouldn’t they have known better? If tomorrow a woman drafts a #metoo, she will again receive taunts from a volley of men with the same rotten patriarchal mindset.
Why make a fuss about such trivial issues?
Do you have proof of being violated?
She is just an attention seeker.
Mind you, some of these men will have prized degrees from prestigious institutions and white-collared jobs in some reputable MNC. And why just blame men? There are many women who stand next to them, shoulder to shoulder, assisting such boors to victim-blame other women. Perhaps they live oblivious to the fact that time can twist things within a snap of a finger. God forbid they could be standing in the same spot as the woman they are busy ridiculing today. But until that point, such massacres will continue, because in truth, we hide beneath the clothing of a ‘civilized democracy’ only to meld with the popular crowd, and boost our parliamentary image in the present world.
In reality, perhaps men never really evolved from their caveman mindset to date. Yes, the exterior might have undergone centuries of sophistication. But that’s just a shallow veneer hiding the barbaric gush of mass and blood which courses through our veins; which still clings to the most ‘time-tested’ formula to bring an opponent to their knees. Taking their women.
Image source: Claudia Soraya on Unsplash
Amrita Sarkar is an aspiring writer based in India. Her short stories have been selected winning entries for The Times of India Write India Contest (Season 3) and The Hive Publishers anthology #Love. Her self- read more...
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