Why Not Janeu Under My Kurta?

 

Rahmath EP

Rahmath EPLipstick Under My Burkha is a ‘by the Brahmin for the Brahmin' movie to propagate the Savarna definition of the ‘oppressed women’. The whole movie gives you a clear picture of the story of women’s assertion on their personal and sexual liberation through brahminical patriarchal narration filled with Islamophobia by projecting Muslim men as a symbol of oppression and misogyny.

Many of you might have seen this controversial women-oriented movie. The story is about four women in a small town in Bhopal and their private life and desire for personal and sexual freedom and breaking the taboos. Rehana Abidi is a burkha clad college student, daughter of a tailor; Shireen Aslam, mother of three, a home maker and having a secret job as a sales girl;  Leela, a beautician living in her sexual fantasy while struggling for livelihood and Usha Parmar, a 55-year-old widow who falls in love with a swimming coach and expresses her sexual desires.

Yes, it is important to address patriarchy and liberation of women. But how to touch such issues, and address on what grounds and does it uphold the values of dignity, human rights, gender equality or women’s liberation. Is the narration free from patriarchy while making such an attempt? These are some of the key questions that immediately arise in our mind.

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Brahminical Patriarchy and Social Media

 
Bhagyesha Kurane

bhagyeshaSocial media has become an integral part of our lives these days. There are various notions prevalent about whether one should use social media, and if at all it is to be used, then how. Some people view social media only as a tool to pass their time and beyond a certain limit, see any engagement as wastage of time. Many parents are wary of social media out of concern for their daughters who might be harassed by anti-social elements and hence warn them to stay away. At the same time, social media helps one to connect with many people whether we may know them personally or not and it is through such communication that exchange of thoughts takes place. I also joined social media thinking of exploring the possibility of whether this media can be used as a viable alternative option to traditional media. So I started communicating with people through media such as WhatsApp and Facebook. I have been using Facebook for the past six years now. While I think about social media as an alternative to traditional media, it also becomes imperative for me to discuss about safety and security of girls/women in detail. Of course, it is also related in the context of the recent Amar Khade incident.

First of all, we need to take into account that in our brahminical patriarchal society there are certain rules that girls are supposed to follow, as far as use of mobile phones is concerned. Many a times it is just out of necessity that a girl is allowed to use a mobile phone albeit with certain harsh restrictions. The reason being the caste based society considers the girl as the 'honour' of the family. So her parents fear that through mobile phone she may come in contact with someone and get emotionally involved, thus marrying the person out of her own volition and this can result in loss of 'honour' for the family. That's why parents try to limit the use of mobile phones as far as possible and hence check call records and other details on mobile phones. In such a situation, for many girls to be able to use and access social media freely itself becomes a daunting task. Defying traditional restrictions she tries to express herself through social media. But our brahminical patriarchal society looks at her as a form of readily available entertainment instead of looking at her as an individual human being. That's why, often, these girls have had to face sexual exploitation in the online world.

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मुलगा पहायला आला

 

Vidya

vidya

"मुलगा पहायला आला"

 मुलगा पाहायला येतो तेव्हा मुलीला काय वाटत असेल? आज मला मुलगा पाहायला आलेला. मुलगा पाहायला येणं म्हणजे नेमकं काय? जेव्हा मुलगी "वयात येते", म्हणजे कि ती प्रेम किंवा मुलांशी मैत्री वगैरे करायला लहान असते मात्र लग्न करून संसार करायला समर्थ असते, तेव्हा तिचा बाप (किंवा घरचा करता पुरुष,..हो फक्त पुरुषच ..कारण हा अधिकार बायकांना नाहीच) हा मुलगा शोधतो ... अर्थातच जातीचा आणि 'स्टेटस' चा (मुलीचं मेंटल, इमोशनल, फिसिकल स्टेटस नाही, ते गेलं चुलीत)..शोधण्याची मोहीम हि वेबसाईटवर तर कमी होते पण काका, मामा, ताईच्या सासऱ्यांच्या बहिणीचा दिराचा मावस भाऊ, अगदी सगळेच, कोणीपण, हे सगळं करतात...काय सुख मिळतं यांना काय माहीत... May be मला वाटतं कि मुलगी वयात आली आहे तर त्यांना sense of pride वाटत असणार कि त्यांनी तिचे कदम "डगमगण्या अगोदरच" तिला वाचवले .. त्यांना कितीही पिण्याचे, दुसऱ्या बायकांचे व्यसन असले तरी मुलीने मात्र स्वतःच्या मनाप्रमाणे मुलगा बघू नये हि त्यांची "निरागस" आशा असते .. असो..

मग मुलगा सुचवायचं कार्यक्रम सुरु झाला कि सर्व decide होत.. मुलगी चुकून नौकरी करत असेल आणि सुट्टी मिळणं अव्हघड असेल या बघण्याच्या कार्यक्रमासाठी तरी ती office मध्ये काही कारण देऊन "स्व-इच्छेने" जाते .. मामा काका भाऊजी या सर्वांना विचारून मात्र दिवस ठरवतात आणि त्या मुलाच्या जॉब प्रमाणे सगळं ठरत कारण कि त्याचा जॉब महत्वाचा .. आणि समजा जर मुलीला जॉब नसेल तर तिला एकाच प्रश्न विचारतात कि "नाश्त्यामध्ये कोणती मिठाई खाशील बाळा? बाप तोपर्यंत मुलाचं नाव पण पूर्ण सांगत नाही कारण कि Facebook वर पोरीने search करू नये म्हणून .. कारण मुलीने उगीच काही "उकरून काढल" तर काय? आणि Facebook तुमचा फक्त चेहरा दाखवत नई तर तुमचे मित्र, लाईक्स, विचार सगळं काही दाखवतं...आणि हे असल काही मुलीला अगोदर कळू नये... मुलीने मुलाला नापसंत केला म्हणजे कि बापासाठी अपमानजनक गोष्ट .. आणि मग मुलीला एवढे superpowers कोणी दिले म्हणून लोकं तोंडात शेण घालतील .. मग आई आत्या यांच्यावर मोठी जबाबदारी असते कि मुलीला नीट नेसावे . असो.

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Where are the Women Professors from the SC/ST/OBC categories?

 

Prachi Patil

Prachi-BeaulaSpeech made at the protest organised by United OBC Forum and BAPSA on 9th June, 2016 against the discriminatory Anti-OBC Reservation circular of UGC/MHRD which denies OBC reservations in Faculty Recruitments and Promotions.

Jai Bhim Friends,

I will only take a few minutes of your time. Speakers before me have placed their important points on the issues of OBC reservation in Higher Education and Faculty Recruitment and spoken about the new Anti-OBC Reservation circular by UGC/MHRD. I will specifically talk about the condition of SC/ST/OBC women's representation in academic spaces, be it as students or as professors. Friends, few days back I was reading an article titled 'Dalit Feminist Standpoint' and when I read the author's name I found that the author was a Brahman woman! So you can see for yourself the condition of SC/ST/OBC women.

What is the reason that a Dalit woman is not allowed to write about her own standpoint in the academic spaces and that standpoint is written by upper-caste or Brahman women? Friends, I see many upper-castes writing papers and thesis on 'Dalit patriarchy' but someone needs to tell them that Dalit patriarchy is a matter concerning Dalit women and you should leave it to them, Dalit women have been fighting against it since ages. You should talk about your own patriarchy and casteism which you practise against SC/ST/OBC women to keep them out of the academic sphere. I want to question the Savarna women feminists from this platform, you speak of 'sisterhood', you speak of 'gender equality', you speak of 'gender justice', you speak of 33% Women's Reservation Bill, but I want to know why you are silent on the issue of 'reservation within reservation' in the Women's Reservation Bill? I wish to know when will SC/ST/OBC women get representation within the demand of 33% Women's Reservation Bill? Many friends have spoken before me about the reservation for OBC candidates, but let us not forget to include women in this. SC/ST/OBC women must have 50% representation within the SC/ST/OBC reservation.

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Can we bring up kids telling them not to fall in love with someone from another caste?

 

Radhika Sudhakar

radhika sudhakarIn the Swathi murder case, as mainstream media increasingly plays the role of judge and jury, while evidence gathering, judgement based on facts and adherence to the rule of law takes a back seat, it does immense disservice to the victim's rights as well as the accused's rights. In the process, it also reveals the reinforcement of status quo in caste and patriarchal relationships between people. Radhika examines the socializing processes explicit in the responses to the murder of Swathi and critiques the demands to follow caste supremacist behaviour in gender relations at various levels – individual, family, celebrities, institutions and media. ~ Round Table India

What is the centrality of the multiple advice being given to non-brahmeans in the Swathi murder case? Are the arguments placed by commentators, celebrities included, aimed at abolishing lack of egalitarianism in society or is it to systematize inequality?

If it is not to systematize inequality, then why is it an acceptable argument to build gender parity questions when inherent casteism of the girl's family is not questioned; which incidentally, could be a murder motive too.

The advice thus far given to non-brahmean males are: 1. don't pursue (stalk) women. This, when we do not have evidence that the murdered girl was stalked or there was a relationship interest. 2. "accept no," from women. Accept no at any point in a relationship or out of it, not because we know it is the choice of women, but because there could also have been an unspoken social limitation in the manner of "you are not of my caste," rejection, which can also create violence not to be mixed up as a case of gender violence, which would be an attempt at simplicity and deliberate ignorance and diversion. Unless addressed, there can be no safeguard against this type of violence in a modern society. After all, can we bring up our kids telling them not to fall in love with (someone from) another caste? We are not sure if such advice was given to the murdered girl, but calls for a probe.

Is it fair in these debates to leave unaddressed the creation of a terribly constricted social environment where a healthy mingling of both sexes is prevented through casteism? Why haven't these become debatable points?

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How is the Present-Day Woman Oppressed?

 

Sweta Yadav

sweta yadavI have been a student of journalism; technically speaking, I hold a degree in Journalism and consequently have worked in many media houses, but had to resign every time. Sometimes because of the caste based prejudices, other times for not wanting to undermine my principles. In some of these places I also had a good working environment and a good salary but even in those places, many male coworkers and bosses treated me like a sexual object they were lusting after.

Believe it or not, but even today, men find it difficult to accept that there is world where a woman is not just a body, where women are not only successful but prove themselves as competitive co-workers. I remember that at one of these places I was undergoing such an experience and had become emotionally perturbed. Seeing my condition, a woman coworker, in an attempt to counsel me said, "Compromise, you have to lose something to gain something; if you want to live in Delhi and create a name for yourself in this bustling crowd you will have to compromise." My response was, "To lose something doesn't mean to lose dignity and conscience. And as far as recognition goes, the worst would be that I'll be one among the crowd ... that is acceptable to me! But I will never make any such compromise where I lose my dignified life itself!"

And all this was at a place where the culture was considered highly feminist. Here it is important to mention that in the whole organization, I was the only woman who came from the Dalit-Bahujan community. Many of you might disagree and many might get upset. Some might also say, "all this is talk from a bygone era. Where does this happen these days?" You may disagree with both the points I am raising: caste discrimination and gender discrimination. You can deny the existence of both. Please do. But in my eyes, your denial is an act of running away from reality, nothing else!

The greatest risk of sharing personal experiences on a public portal is that you become exposed to a lot of criticism. There is also the risk of character assassination. Not just that, people will bestow you with thousands of unsolicited advice on handling the situation: why didn't you do this, why didn't you complain to the police, you should have hit him back, if you didn't say anything back then why do it now, what did you do at the moment, etc. My intention is not to enumerate what I did or did not do. I'm writing today because there is no fear in me any more. So I thought of sharing with you the discrimination I endured for my caste identity and gender identity. Sometimes even if it isn't our own fault we end up blaming ourselves for it and even punishing ourselves for somebody else's fault.

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