In my opinion, every single individual protesting on the streets for Ram Rahim is aware of the facts. They simply fail to comprehend the principle of the crime in question. The principle of ‘gender equality’ and ‘gender justice’.
Gods being worshiped even after assaulting women is nothing new. Dominant mythological discourses, recorded in the over-arching social structure of patriarchy, have endorsed it. Take an example from any non-semantic mythology- Zeus and Leda, Indra and Ahalya, and now what seems to be Ram Rahim and his Sadvis.
According to reports cited in various newspapers, the rape was referred to as “Babaji ki Maafi” (the mercy of the father) among the Sadvis in the dera. This is hardly a surprise. It was not a case of coercion. It is a case of internalized subjugation. The existing discourse of patriarchy in the society elevated the “father” or the Baba to a pedestal where the consent of the women did not matter. This existing culture of adulation is a dangerous precedent in any society. Another example of this adulation is seen in the Pati-Parameshwar (Husband is like God) discourse that justifies marital rape. The principle in both the cases being that God needs no consent. This is most disturbing. More disturbing than legislatures branding a rapist as a “pure soul”. All these expressions, of protests and of “pure soul” are caused by this dominant discourse of patriarchy in Indian society.
B.R Ambedkar had correctly stated that no political reform can be achieved without achieving a social reform. One major impediments to Indian society, as I see it, is patriarchy. Patriarchy promotes the dominant discourse of subjugation. Patriarchy creates this pedestal for the ‘God’, ‘Father’, ‘Husband’ and ‘Brother’ to act as trustees of everyone else even if the trust is blatantly abused.
Today, as thousands protest in the street on a conviction following a decade long trial, can we at all dodge the blame of allowing patriarchy to persist?
On one hand, there is a promotion of women rights with the abolition of triple talaq. At the same time women are targeted for their clothes, demeanor, consumption of instant noodles and of greater cardinal sins such as attending JNU, JU and other such blasphemous cults. The trouble is, these two doctrines cannot simultaneously co-exist. There is either a discourse of gender empowerment or their is an artificial imposition of patriarchy and ‘brahamanism’. Societal reform cannot be justified with the constitution in one hand and the Manusmriti in the other.
It is imperative that the political class and influential social groups such as thespians and academicians, must also play their part to initiate the social change necessary for the political reform. Till then, it is safe to conclude that our ‘Father’ will not have a hallowed name and neither will we.