By Veda Nadendla:
“If a girl is dressed decently, a boy will not look at her in the wrong way. If you want freedom, why don’t they just roam around naked? Freedom has to be limited. These short clothes are western influences. Our country’s tradition asks girls to dress decently.” This was openly declared by Manohar Lal Khattar during an election campaign, a few days before he became the Chief Minister of Haryana. It is painfully clear that the newly appointed CM is still living in the bygone century. So, before India hurls itself at development and growth, let’s correct our leaders, shall we?
What Does The Future Of A State Look Like When The Chief Minister Blames Women For Rapes?
Gender insensitivity is at its best yet again, in a country that boasts of its rich culture and heritage to the rest of the world, while back home, some of its own men publicly exhibit uncivilized and immature mentalities. Some of the thoughts of these so-called leaders are preventing us from being a nation free of prejudice and discrimination; a nation supposedly ready to embrace development.
So why does India need feminism? Because some of the people governing our nation don’t give a toss about gender equality or human rights. What they care about are votes and power which they will gladly exploit; not for delivering justice or promoting civility, but to inject their dense ideas into the society. And this is not to intentionally pinpoint some of the ‘men’ of our nation. If you haven’t already seen, let me show you their infamous shenanigans.
Samajwadi Party Chief, Mulayam Singh Yadav, post the death sentence of the offenders convicted for the Shakti Mills gang rape, casually proclaimed that it is wrong to pass a death sentence for rape, boys make mistakes (“ladkon se galti ho jaati hai”) and that there will be a change in the law if they come to power. This man further insinuated that girls befriend boys and when the friendship falls apart, girls report rape. I would love to see him prove this. This was followed by Akhilesh Yadav, CM of Uttar Pradesh, telling a journalist when approached for comment on the increasing number of rapes in Uttar Pradesh, “Why are you worrying? You weren’t harmed.” He went on to add that that there are 21 crore people in Uttar Pradesh, yet the number of rapes was less as compared to the rest of India. Clearly, Papa Yadav and Jr. Yadav need a lesson in mathematics.
Drumming to the tune of the Yadav family was Dharamvir Goyat, Haryana Pradesh Congress Committee member, claiming that 90% rapes in Haryana are consensual because women get into affairs with men without knowing of their criminal mindset. This came close on the heels of INLD Chief Om Prakash Chautala’s advocacy of the Khap Panchayat seeking the lowering of a woman’s marrying age to 16 years, so that her sexual needs maybe satisfied by her husband and rape can be prevented.
Rubbing salt on fresh wounds, legendary singer KJ Yesudas spoke about women and jeans at the inaugural function of the Gandhi Jayanthi cleanliness drive in Trivandrum, Kerala. “What should be covered must be covered. Women should not trouble others by wearing jeans. When they wear jean, all you can notice are the things beyond those jeans. Women should not try to become like men, but must behave modestly” said Mr Yesudas, further adding that women in jeans must not tempt vulnerable men.
Men, like the ones above, desperately need to be taught two things; first, your sexual arousal is not a woman’s fault, it started in your mind, and second, being horny is not an excuse to do whatever you want. Finally, this one’s for the society in general- she was not asking for it, no one ever asks to be physically tormented and brutalized. As if the above comments were not enough, Mumbai police was arresting men and women for taking selfies in public because it encourages close contact. Just when we thought it could get no worse, the Chief Minister of Haryana has arrived to reaffirm our faith in patriarchy.
I completely agree with you Khattar jee, freedom must have its limits, at which point, I am glad that you have exercised your freedom of expression, because now the country knows what to expect from you. Will this mean another ABVP situation in Haryana, giving fuel to untamed moral policing? Does this mean that women in Haryana should be even more afraid for their freedom and safety? Safety not just from sexual assault and rape, but from the state government ready to blame them for a crime committed against them? What is the future of Haryana under such a leader?
I agree that women need to be self-aware and conscious of our safety at every step we take, but that is because we live in a society which does not take responsibility for the safety of its women. A society willing to stand by and watch, pass comments, blame the victim for her whereabouts and point fingers at her upbringing, but seldom willing to talk about her culprit. Why did he rape her? What led them to force her and vandalize her body? So many men against one girl, how can they be so inhuman? Why don’t we question their upbringing and their mentalities? Why do you judge her for being attacked? Take responsibility yourself before you preach others.