Monday, February 9, 2009

#19th Amendment: Curbing Women's Lib

In India, equality is a privilege, not a right. Brahmins govern wisely by the grace of Gods; Kshatriyas peddle wares, and Untouchables beg for change at traffic signals and get nominated for Academy Awards.

There is caste, there is class, and there is whup dat ass for anyone who steps out of line. Whether he be a tribal minority, a muslim immigrant from Bangladesh, or whether she simply be a she.

Though Indians honor Gandhi as a hero who stood up against the imperial power of Britain and delivered to India a long-deserved independence, some find the opportunity to subjugate and oppress too tantalizing to ignore. Though a majority of Indians prefer freedom and democracy, a few bad mangoes can't resist denying others their rights. Most Indians like freedom, but some Indians like oppression even more.

This oppression takes many forms: killing those of a different faith, exploiting those of lower status, and beating those of the fairer, though ultimately inferior, sex.

While India enjoys a progressive reputation in comparison to its neighbors Pakistan, Myanmar and China, some Indians still harbor a peculiar penchant for putting women in their place. Though "pub culture" abides throughout India's more cosmopolitan cities, some conservative Indians believe the opportunity to imbibe is a privilege held exclusively by the male. Though the result of this mind set is an awkward amalgamation of men dancing together with their arms up and interlocking pinkies after 3 too many Kingfishers, it's far more desirable than Mindy, Summana, Kabita and Karbi knocking back Mumbaitinis in public while waiting for their Maharaja Big.

Just ask 21 year-old Sanah Galgotia, who was quoted in the New York Times. "In India, no matter how modern you are, you're still in this schizophrenic nonmodern thing," she said, straining to be heard as the D.J. blasted Pearl Jam.

Some Indians also take a more proactive approach to their harassment of women. Instead of responding to women who drink, dance and fraternize in public, they go out of their way to bother women on the street. For example, if a group of Indian men in a Tata Sumo pass an Indian woman walking down a street, they do not see anything wrong with aggressively cat-calling toward her. If this woman has the gall to confront her tormentors, however, the jeep full of Indian men will feel affronted, make horn, and attempt to run her over. Hitting Shrutis with Marutis is an acceptable practice for the unenlightened Indian male, some may even call it a time pass, like carrom or maths.

If you are ever in India or within the company of Indians, closely monitor the interaction between the sexes. If the tone appears to be civil, proceed with common social decorum such as saying please, saying thank you and refraining from beating women if they choose to express an opinion.

If the tone is noticeably hostile, however, and an Indian woman makes the mistake of speaking out of line, quickly hold hands with another man since the normalcy of this homosocial behavior may diffuse the tension of a woman asserting her independence. To some Indians, equality is a privilege, women socializing in pubs is wrong, and the opportunity for men to hold hands with other men is the only right that's right.


Anonymous said...

Oh please, I don't exactly see you "condemning" the fact that the president of India is a (possibly hallucinating) lady, or the fact that the leader of the ruling party is a woman (however ill informed about the country ) or criticizing child labour or saying something about the pesticide content of the shit that cola companies make by buying out Indian farms, or about how the tobacco companies have rediscovered India as a whole new market when the West got some sense knocked into it.

The Mangalore incident was the act of a decidedly extremist Hindu nutcase going wild right before an election. If you would have read more, you would have come across news stories stating that both the ruling and opposition parties criticized it and so did most of the media. All you can do is pick a controversial story and add your own "Hindu Indians are patriarchs who mistreat their women" spin.

Pigs in the form of men is a phenomenon seen everywhere in the world, and is not necessarily endemic to India. "An opportunity to imbibe held exclusively by the male" - seriously, the India of what century are you describing? I'm not sure whether most Indian women actually care about a "right to imbibe", my guess is, they probably don't even think about it. If you're trying to comment on the bad state of Women's lib in India you should try commenting on something like pay inequity - but then again, you'd be faced with the problem of how to criticize Indians by contrasting them to your dear Amreeka, because the glass ceiling is everywhere, isn't it now? And equally untrue is your take on untouchables, there are no untouchables, not any more. In fact, the descendants of the untouchables from a century ago, are reaping excellent benefits of affirmative action that ranges from free post secondary education to job reservations and benefits. Care to comment on the drop-out rates of black kids? or their employment status, or the healthcare they receive? From what I read in the article, you don't wish to compare and contrast, just misinform and denounce conditions that are more or less prevalent all over the world.

That is, basically, you picked an isolated incident, spun it your own patronizing way and added the "caste-system" element to it and Voila ! , you have a whole new article telling us exactly how Indians mistreat their women. I mean, wow!

Subhash said...

Sweet, salubrious satire

Mahotma in Herre said...

you sound ugly. a/s/l?

Anonymous said...

I'm almost a 100% sure that I am ugly (kinda working on the quantification of my ugliness quotient) and am delighted that my writing is consistent with my character.

Whatever the facts may be about that incident (I'm not even going to mention the evangelical extremism or the brothels disguised as pubs, or the deliberate and systematic disenfranchising of Hindus in Karnataka and the frustration it causes). The truth is, this article is not funny or satiric (SILDC's output usually is); it is downright callous, patronizing and absolutely unfair to the average indian male.

Anonymous said...

There is a thing called Personal Liberty. Even if the pubs were brothel, it was nobody's business to be vigilante. If someone needs some info, start with John Stuart Mills' books and then read some Thomas Hobbs for basic understanding of what freedom means.

Mahotma in Herre said...

Mill? Hobbes? Locke? Rousseau? F the books, just watch Lost.

Anonymous said...

You must think it sounds so intelligent when you start talking about big words like "Personal Liberty" and then start telling people to read very old books, written mostly by dead French guys.

Here's a suggestion, try putting all that old literary shit in context with the Indian society, the cultural system that has been existent for at least a couple of thousand years, add the fact that these people are mostly frustrated and have next to nil education. Think ! what happens... people snap at strange things and react weirdly ... it's not misogyny per se, it's just an isolated act of innovative vandalism.

Alternatively, you can go watch 30 Rock. Lost is just too damn boring this season.

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