To Ms. Bhasker,
Even though, according to you Padmavat is all about vaginas, but feminism is not.
I do not mean to offend you or your opinion in any way, but this is what I have to say about your well-written letter.
Being an honourable actor in our society, you must and should be aware of the cruel realities of our country and it’s ideology something your letter and the motive behind writing it clearly lacked. Let’s go as per your points, precise and neat. No hustle made.
- Women do have the right to live, true! I stand by that statement with you but despite being raped? Seriously? Has our country ever let a rape victim live? Actually, live? They might have survived ma’am, but they never really lived after that one incident which changed their lives.
- Women have the right to live, despite the death of their husbands, male ‘protectors’, ‘owners’, ‘controllers of their sexuality’.. whatever you understand the men to be. True! They do. But we aren’t talking about Padmavat in today’s century, it’s a movie in the 13th century where the women wasn’t confined to vaginas but they were surely confined to their man and their lives were their honour. You cannot and should not compare a 21st century status of women and 13th century status of women, it’s just like comparing ice and water, even though it is just and evolved status of one another.
- Women have the right to live — independent of whether men are living or not. They do. But once, they didn’t. Just like we can’t question why the women had to go to live with the man after marriage similarly back then we couldn’t question the ritual of sati, because the question of remarriage wasn’t available either.
- Women surely do have the right to live, but in the Indian history, that’s a right to achieved, not from the constitution but from the society because what brought us this far is our right to live and be educated to this level of understanding to our rights. Period.
- Women are not only walking talking vaginas. They might not be, but let’s come to the fact of reality, are they treated anything more than that? The one of the most important question in our institution of arranged marriage still stand to be is, was and I guess will always be virginity. They aren’t walking or talking vaginas, yet in our much developed 21st century, a bleeding vagina is denied entry at innumerable places and I wonder why you never raised a voice against than.
- Yes, women have vaginas, but they have more to them as well. So their whole life need not be focused on the vagina, and controlling it, protecting it, maintaining it’s purity. Hah! Well, let’s smell the brewing coffee of our society and it’s norms. We still do accept all types of women, be it a prostitute or the one who earns money out flesh but accepting a rape victim in our lives as a daughter, sister and most importantly daughter in law is still a big issue in every second household of our country.
- It would be nice if the vaginas are respected; but in the unfortunate case that they are not, a woman can continue to live. She need not be punished with death, because another person disrespected her vagina without her consent. I agree with you. Death is the punishment for the doer and not the sufferer. But in how many instances have you really seen that happening in our country? If you haven’t you must watch the documentary made on the case you mentioned which happened in my city five years ago, what you failed to notice is the ideology which was intact behind the mindset of the culprit and it’s defence, and that’s the majority of our country.
- There is life outside the vagina, and so there can be life after rape. There can be, but that isn’t where you live, that’s where you just survive, you just breath because that incident had made everything else around a woman turn numb.
- In general there is more to life than the vagina. No, that’s where the life begins from, hence ultimately that’s how things in our country are. You cannot let your dignity, pride and integrity be violated by the atrocities of the enforcer. Hence, to me Nirbhaya was another Padmavati, they both fought, and died with valour with their prides intact. Difference being, Nirbhaya fought in the 21st century and was thrusted with the iron rod because of it, and Queen Padmavati fought in the 13th century, and thrusted herself to the pyre than in the hands of the vulture who wanted to quench his thirst of lust.
You find this movie to be a glorification to heinous crimes like sati and jauhar, but to be honest, it was not. What you couldn’t understand was, the comparison which was to be really drawn out of the movie.
So far, we’ve been known to warriors and kings who fought in the honour of their kingdoms and it’s people what we never came in virtue was the Queens and ladies of the land who let them go that far to win their lives. The ones who held back the walls of their forts and kingdoms so no one may be able to enter the walls of their city. What you failed to notice was that it wasn’t about a vagina but the responsibility and the honour she held on her shoulders, not just for the vagina but of her husband’s pride and respect because had she been a coward to let herself be tormented, the battles would’ve been lost without even fighting for one, and the beast in her tormentor would’ve won without much effort. Hence, even if the war was won by the beast of Khilji, the battle of devouring the impeccable beauty, (the major purpose of war) was lost and no women, be it from the 13th or the 21st century would ever want to let her man down.
So, it wasn’t about the glorification of the malpractices our history held but was a glorification of the bravery which lived in every women of that time because trust me or not, burning yourself alive holding your pride, honour and dignity isn’t a small task. There are women of the 21st century who have found ways to fight the pain of labour, and then there was that one woman who walked into that pyre with her little girl. You not only need to be brave but also courageous to live and die on our own terms.
Ma’am, in your entire letter, what you fought for was right to life, but in the 13th century, what Queen Padmavati fought for was the right to death. She wanted and needed the freedom to die at her own will, and in her own way. She didn’t want herself to be in the hands of a male who couldn’t respect her pride, she would rather die in the flames of fire while her pride remains intact in the valour of her act. That’s what she fought for and you couldn’t notice.
No, I’m not a supporter of jauhar or sati here, but I’m surely in support of the act of courage which is an event in my history. I’d say sati was a malpractice where you were condemned to die with your counter half as we call our man, but jauhar, it’s all about how one may prefer living with pride than be enslaved by the shackles of a person who takes away her will to live. I’d rather have a right to death than be burgled from my will to live. I’d rather have a right to be respected than hold a right to live because in our country and it’s glorious present days, there isn’t a life if you aren’t respected.
Well, concluding my opinion, and by reading your letter I can only say one thing to you, “grass is always greener on the other side of the fence”. It’s easier said than done because you and I can surely say, that there is life after a vagina is raped but do once ask a vagina who was robbed of it’s dignity, you’ll see the true colours of the life after it’s raped.
A Girl With Pride!