A cow gets far more attention by the intelligentsia than a raped woman. Reams of intellectual hair-splitting on other issues of perceived social inequities, but a stony silence on rape.
My question - Why so few male voices against molestation and rape?
It is surprising that enlightened male writers do not find it important enough to lend their thoughts and analysis on the subject. Is it a lesser crime against humanity? It might help to get a man's overview, wouldn't it? They have the collective male psychology, so they could throw valuable light on 'why?' But no, we have a burst of angry articles by women, after every such instance, and a stray one here and there, by a man. WHY?
Could it be that a rape lacks the weight and gravitas of say, caste discrimination, religious intolerance, freedom of speech, etc.?
Is this topic beneath them?
Beef recently engaged the attention of many writers and commentators in a big way. When there was a debate about freedom of speech all were vociferous. Standing up for the national anthem, in cinema halls got a fair share of cognisance and, of course, demonetisation ran away with the trophy. Fair enough. All these are important topics.
But, what about the horrific spate of crimes against women? Why is there no sustained attention and focus on a topic that covers, not a single community, nor any one religion, race or country, but entire one half of humanity - all women?
Think about it ...
The men (let's call them that) who groped, molested, and grabbed, are men of the 21st century.
The majority have education behind them. Parents at home. A mother. And, maybe sisters.
So, where does the blame lie? The 21st century? The education? Parents? Phones (and pornography)? Or as often chanted, 'mindsets'??
If mindsets, where do these mindsets come from? It is time to investigate and enquire as to what makes these psychotic mindsets 'happen' (not only in India, but all over the world), and take urgent action to dissemble them. And this cannot be the responsibility of aggrieved women alone. We want the men's - the #NotAllMen's - point of view now. Not in 40 characters, but in analytical detail. Their insights can surely help because they are basically men, and in a better place to understand what makes some of them, behave like this.
And, in the meanwhile - one more woman's point of view...
The story starts early, the moment a child is born. The birth of a boy, in India, is the Olympian gold to proud parents and a girl-child the compensatory bronze. Patriarchal patterns, deeply embedded, start distorting the picture right away. Later the pattern continues. Boys are pampered, spoilt and overfed, and girls are disciplined and rigorously trained early on, in virtues of humility, modesty, and self-sacrifice. Boys, you see, have no need for these. In the poorer sections of society, apart from all this, girls are denied adequate food. Between a brother and a sister if there is one hen in the family that gives one egg every day, the egg goes to the brother. Parents need to soul-search on this.
Then, the education. The big silent hidden culprit. The goal of education is widely and erroneously equated with acquiring degrees and a job. Even on the school level the accent is on getting higher marks. Doesn't matter that the child who gets those marks is a bully, or objectionable in other ways.
Marks are everything. Who cares about remarks??
High time to take cognizance of this glaring gap in the education system. Education is not for mere degrees. An education that provides mere information, without transformation is a colossal waste of time. True education is holistic and refines not only skills (for getting jobs) but character, that creates an integrated human being, with the right vision and values for life.
Then, the times we live in.
I hear that in the 21st century we have gone through the roof as far as 'progress' is concerned. All thanks to that seductive yet strangely inhuman thing called technology.
Take phone technology. If anything is a double-edged sword, it is the manic presence of the smartphone in contemporary lives. Phones have hijacked the entire narrative. Smart, but sad. And sometimes, highly damaging to the psyche when, the technology available, is not only being used - but misused.
The mind-numbing negative content online, is available, at a click to all and sundry. Imagine the deleterious effects this has on those who are #NotAllMen! Porn sites have proliferated and easy availability makes it a lark for anybody so inclined. If a survey is done I am sure it will reveal that watching online porn is a significant factor in rapes and molestations.
Progress is great, but let's not leave our humanity behind.
So, all you noble, good and intelligent #NotAllMen out there - Do not be dismissive and do not look the other way. A sketchy and fleeting hashtag response is just not good enough. Prove those words. This is your fight as much as ours.
Do your bit to demonetise crude macho behaviours and help humanity get a new currency - worthy and real men. Men with strength of character, clean minds, and human instincts.
Is that such a tall order??