Through the ages, India has always been a male dominated society, our history rife with stories of male dominance over women; kings, zamindars, masters, husbands, peasants, even beggars… across all strata of society, our history has always painted a picture of man over woman.
Against this backdrop, I would like to salute the Indian spirit that has relentlessly over time worked for as well as embraced the levelling of the genders. Today the Indian story is definitely different from our maligned history (referring to the context of the blog). The emergence and growth of the Indian woman is a story repeated endlessly (though deservedly each time) and my blog is not another one of those.
In spite of our evolution in this regard, every now and then there are gruesome incidents in our society that show us how fragile the progress can be. Against the backdrop of having fought and won acknowledgement and respect, it is a sad fact that many of our friends, family as well as countless others have experiences in their daily lives that make them realize their vulnerability. Harassment at work, transport as well as at home are still pertinent issues that our women have to contend with
The struggle reached its peak with the tragic incidence etched in our memory as “Nirbhaya”. This tipping point incident rallied people of New Delhi as well as all over India to rally together in their outcry of the state’s failure in ensuring protection to women which in turn led to governments bringing in stricter legislature to protect women in our society.
As is it always easy to have a scapegoat, the government was once again the reluctant but most likely candidate. But it does raise the question, “Was Nirbhaya the government’s fault or was it the result of our social hypocrisy???”
Case in point…
In 2007, the Rajnikanth starrer “Shivaji – the Boss” ran to packed houses all over India raking in more than 300 crores in the process.
In the movie, the hero enchanted by the heroine, enters her house in the guise of a government official. When it doesn’t have the desired effect he pursues her at her work place. When that too does not prove fruitful, the hero with his entire family barge into the heroine’s house to push things forward… fast forward to inevitability… heroine falls for the hero…
Do my previous lines reek of harassment? They obviously do. So this brings up a million dollar question. If we, as a society, celebrate harassment on the celluloid, why do we have a problem with it in real life? Why do we get angry if a young sincerely enamoured Indian boy “harasses” a girl in his attempts to woo her??? Why do we have a problem when a guy thinks he is a sincere lover like the hero and accept his actions? Why do we have a problem if a guy in offices makes a woman uncomfortable by his advances???
Ironically, the sections of the movie that I have referred to are constantly aired as “comedy” in many channels. Why would not a kid who grows up watching this as “comedy” not resort to it in his life?
If we truly want to make India a safer place for women, we need to stop celebrating what we don’t want to suffer…