By Arastu Zakia:
A couple of weeks ago, I happened to see ‘Badlapur’ – a film where Varun Dhawan’s character forces a woman to have sex with him, has deliberately planned sex with another to create an alibi, and strips a third to humiliate her husband, all as revenge against a bank robber who killed his wife and child.
A while back, after the ‘Nirbhaya’ brutalization, I remember the whole discourse over the lyrics of the song ‘Fevicol se’ from the sequel to Dabangg. Trying to research it a little more online, I stumbled upon a making of the song video on YouTube. What struck me the most in that video was when Kareena Kapoor, also the actress who starred in the “item number” said “My favourite line from the song is – Main toh tandoori murgi hu yaar, gatkale saiyan alcohol se”, which was the very line causing the furore.
Recently, an acquaintance of mine got married. I had always known her to be amongst those girls who displayed tremendous potential. She had done her graduation, post-graduation and had a few successful stints at buzzing companies. She could have had a great career and would definitely have gone places. I met her once after her family had successfully coerced her to get married and I remember her looking extremely worried. Upon asking why, she told me that she was supposed to go to her in-law’s place to tell them that she wore glasses and her family was worried that it would jeopardize her wedding. In one of her wedding functions, I distinctly remember the most expensive gifts displayed in public for the groom’s extended family to gossip about and take home.
As a child I remember a friend telling me how his recently married cousin had to show a bloody bed-sheet to her mother-in-law the next morning after her wedding to prove that she had been a virgin. I also remember recollecting this episode when I passed by a temple on the AMC Heritage walk that had a sign outside which read something on the lines of “Women are not allowed to enter during their periods”.
A few weeks back, a group of friends had come over to my place to play board games. That is one of the few remembrances from our childhood that we still like to continue. Midway through the fun, one of our female friends got a call and went into another room to answer it. As she came out, she seemed visibly perturbed and told us that she would be leaving immediately. Her father had called her, boiling with anger and had reasserted his command to never stay out so late, especially not at a boy’s home. That we had all been friends for over 5 years was immaterial it seemed.
Sometimes when I walk into my office and see my only female colleague, I do wonder whether she must ever feel uncomfortable being the only female in a 10-people team. At other times, I guess, maybe she would have gotten used to it by now.
A few months back, I remember reading about the Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan’s statement: “So-called ‘sex education’ should be banned.” I also remember Sakshi Maharaj’s comment on how every Hindu woman “must produce” at least 4 kids. Leslee Udwin’s BBC documentary ‘India’s Daughter’ has been banned and there are detractors who are slugging it out online taking pride in how UK is worse for women, asking Udwin to focus there!
On March 6th, Kaushal Chauhan, a security guard aged between 20-25, lured a 6-year-old girl child to the basement of an under-construction building in Sola, Ahmedabad. He then sexually assaulted her and inserted a 12-mm-thick-4-and-a-half-feet iron rod in the child’s genitals. As per Chauhan’s confession to the police, he had had a feud with the child’s father and this was his way of getting back at him. This baby girl is now out of danger but lies in the Sola Civil Hospital where because of the harm to her genitalia, doctors have been forced to surgically open her intestine for her to pass urine and stool.
Recently, we were discussing this incident at a social gathering and a gentleman there asked with a lot anguish: “Why does this happen?”
Hmmm, I wonder why!