How do you sleep these days? Media and pictures of rape victims of 8-months-old girl child in Delhi, 17-year old Unnao victim, Kathau’s 8-year old child to women from various ages flood life around. Pictures of the 8-year-old Kashmiri girl from Kathua and the Unnao victim- their vaginas were not only violated but life stripped away dignity and honor in flesh and bones.
They didn’t just rape them, they hurt the genesis of humankind. But then I wonder what kind of human beings we Indians are after all? Indians have been consciously practicing violence in one form or another in the name of caste for hundreds of years and they don’t bat an eye about that. Women from particular communities have been raped and tamed and controlled by the dictates’ of horrendous religious Hindu laws and it’s been obediently either forced to be performed by them or they are bound of obnoxious religious bindings of bad karma in after life by sanctified laws of oppression. This long form behavior acquired a form of social conditioning in India and thence women were told to be, behave and abide by the rules as dictated by a patriarchal Hindu man called Manu, who thought women and marginalized people were of no use to life, let alone dignity or honor.
In this respect, I am reminded of a man, a man who needs no introduction today. A political currency for some and for some a well of energy which flows from both ends, as from the hands of the maker, i.e India’s first law minister Dr. B. R. Ambedkar himself to the hand of the receiver that Ambedkar’s ideology propels. He fought for women rights so hard that it hurt the dogmatic caste Hindus back in 1951 when Hindu Code bill was pulled over raising fears of ‘Hinduism in danger.’ Now in 2018, the fundamentalist Hindus are ripping apart the flesh and spirit of Indian Constitution and the state of women is fearsome. Perhaps Ambedkar’s this quote could lend some perspective for this time in India:
“I measure the progress of a community by the degree of progress which women have achieved.”
Honors of children, women are destroyed, destroyed so bad that instills fear in everyone. Indians practice casteism so flamboyantly that its worst expression is getting exhibited with every rape, caste and communal violence on marginalized communities, new born children, girls and women. Getting uglier and bestial by the day. Consistent social, political and economic attacks on marginalized communities one after another. From college funds to scholarships, research grant, and the latest trying their best to dilute SC/ST( Prevention of Atrocities) Act which seriously jeopardizes Dalits rights in a largely Brahmanical hegemony and as result of which India witnessed a Bharat bandh on 2nd April by Bahujans like never before. The protest turned violent and it cost many people serious injuries and 9 lives were lost
Do you dread opening your newsprint, social networking accounts or just having a peaceful day in this country? The kind of violence that is rampant at this moment in India on marginalized, women, and poor is beyond description and should put citizens of this country in shame.
From mother daughter, Surekha and Priyanka Bhotmange’s caste violence to the current nomadic tribe 8-year-old girl from Kashmir, the men of this country have not only ravaged vaginas but also the very spirit of being a woman in India. From letting the bestial perpetrators walk free one after the other, the government, the law and order, the politicians, last the judiciary and their allied bhakts in every space and strata of this country have put up such an adamant conscious caste attitude in covering heinous darkness of crimes that humanity is shuddering and may split in time to come.
The New York Times headlines on April 13th ‘In India the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl has led to protest by Hindu nationalists – coming to the defense of the accused.” Now this was a day before the birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar, a man who fought for women rights nearly 67 years and was opposed by caste Hindus, for proposing the legendary Hindu Code Bill on February 5th 1951.
On April 19th Sadanand Dhume in Wall Street Journal reported, “According to a police report, in January two men allegedly kidnapped Asifa Bano, a Muslim shepherd girl who was grazing horses in the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir. For the next seven days, six men, including a temple custodian and two policemen, hid the child in a temple, where she was drugged and brutalized. The men murdered the girl and tossed her battered body in a nearby forest. All the accused are Hindus. Police say the motive was to terrorize the girl’s community of nomadic Muslim shepherds into fleeing and tilt the demographic balance of the area.”
London raised Black flags condemning the arrival of PM Modi with words like,
“PM Modi, the face of Indian terrorism.”
“What has happened [in India] is just revolting,” said International Monetory Fund, Christine Lagarde said at a conference in Washington, according to PTI. “I would hope that the Indian authorities, starting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi pay more attention because it is needed for the women of India,” published Scroll.
On the other hand, Shashi Tharoor took a diplomatic stand and tweeted, “While supporting UK Indian who express concern about Govt’s weak response to rapes &crimes against women & girls, I cannot support such attacks on PMO India abroad. This plays into the hands of anti-Indian elements (JKLF, Pakistani gropus, Khalistanis) piggybacking on our protests.”
Such hypocrisy! It’s truly alarming. It’s truly alarming because it seems that India has lost conscience when it comes to action towards safety of children, women and oppressed. It’s alarming because these are not just rapes but sexual and caste violence of another level. The bodies of these girls are not just bodies but histories and guides of hounding experiences that caste and communal violence bring to the fabric of human life and in this case lives of marginalized in India. Its disturbing because while this knowledge makes its sense acknowledging the government of being purely anti- Muslim and Anti-Dalits; a government which gives impunity to criminals to propagate xenophobia, Islamophobia and Dalitphobia while being consistently branding them criminals, while cutting them short of every opportunity of having a dignified life. One cannot refute the ugly Brahamanical face that this government has introduced one issue after another since it has come into power and has blood on its hand with everyone involved from top to bottom.
In that respect, an analysis of the practice of violence against women by the caste would reveal that while the incidence of dowry deaths and violent controls and regulations on the mobility and sexuality by the family are frequent among the dominant upper castes-Dalit women are more likely to face the collective and public threat to rape, sexual assault and physical violence at the work place and in public (Rege, 1994)
A kind of violence that shudders one’s spine to think of the nature of brutality and crime that these women must have gone through and then you have something like this happening with media colluding with the State:
“Dainik Jagran, one of India’s leading Hindi daily newspapers, alleged the 8-year old Kathua victim was not raped. The report had mentioned the existence of two post-mortem reports submitted by the doctors at Kathua district hospital to the special investigation team of the Jammu crime branch.”
The collusion of media broke out as as soon several right-wing handles on Twitter called this as a victory of their stance that rape was added in the chargesheet to defame the Hindu community in Jammu doesn’t come as an obnoxious surprise as such since that’s how fundamentalist have always dealt with the marginalized in India and especially when BJP has come into power through its history.
Further the online story of was taken down by Jagran.com post noon, a fact confirmed to BOOM by Kamlesh Raghuvanshi, digital editor of the Boompublication.”
On the other hand NDTV, published today, “The eight-year-old girl killed in Kathua this January was raped before she was strangled, the Jammu and Kashmir Police said in a statement to counter a media report and a video circulating on social media that claim the girl hadn’t been raped. Such reports, the police statement said, “are far away from truth”.
While protests pursuing justice for Asifa to Swati Maliwal sitting for hunger strike until PM Modi and the Centre announce ‘steps to protect women, capital punishment to rapists of children within six months and fast-track courts for such cases’ have been the talk of the town, no hope seem to uplift since its lip service at one end and treachery at the other. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari India is outraged demanding justice for the little girl. People keep coming to streets year after year, for candle vigil march once again, since Nirbhaya’s rape case but the mentality and actions towards those who are harassed and oppressed remains the same.
PM Modi’s government’s every action is seeped into hatred and purposeful callousness towards the lives of marginalized in India and that raises serious questions towards the integrity of their actions as human beings not just politicians. The people of this country needs to remind this government that they have been chosen by choice and it becomes their moral duty to stop acting like human beings deprived of anything human. Bringing social justice is necessary for keeping this country’s fabric intact (- although it is laden with caste/ communal hatred by the caste Hindus since the beginning of time in India) but perhaps nothing has conditioned and revolted human beings more than pain. It kind of shakes something from the comfortable and ordinary and at this point of time once again pain in raging louder than ever. Everything connects if you put all the dots together of RSS’s dream of having a safforanized India. I am afraid to think but Kathua could become that one episode which is being used for political mileage. From communalizing and consistently politicizing the lives of marginalized people for the fundamentalist agenda. We need to pay heed and understand that it is not just the attack on vaginas, it’s a systematic crackdown on marginalized communities from one end to another.
These were not just girls but dreams of their parents. A lifeline that let’s others around live. Yes sir life. There is after all ‘life’ that is involved here. Lives whose experience could have been anything but you as a caste conscious country gave them rape. They were lives who must have aspired to be something in this world and you snatched that opportunity from them. You repeatedly abused and hurt them so much that the nation is angered to think what kind of animals you must be that the only way you could think was from your greed and power. And a greed such ugly that you willingly towered over these lives and corroborated into this monstrous violence of division, of communalizing everything that fell under this earth just to pump your chair up. And then we wonder is questioning identity and identifying location and castes of the victim and perpetrators pertinent?
“Sexual violence is a tool for establishment of political power. Women and their bodies have been used for political dominance for years in this country.” But because this was not some sexual violence and having said that there isn’t any intention to trivialize the magnitude of rape as a crime but to be neglecting the caste identity and the power structures involved in this whole mechanism would be a grave mistake which I perhaps cannot afford to miss.
Since BJP government came into power in 2014 atrocious violence has been inflicted on young children, women and people from Dalits, Muslims and other marginalized communities. Modi’s regime has been systematically attacking spaces, educational scholarships, research grants, institutions, and universities at on level, at the other end, it is has been allegedly murdering every voice that has stood against their Brahamanical hegemony. Rohith Vemula, Jisha, Delta Meghwal, Una, Gauri Lankesh, Narendra Dabholkar, M M Kalburgi, Govind Pansare, Bhima Koregaon, Saharanpur violence, and now Kathua, these are names of dead people and they were not just killed but murdered to become pawns for political mileage. Some were whistleblowers, fearless voices, children and women who were harmed in dreadful ways by the dominant perpetrators to teach a lesson not only to them but also to their communities. Atrocious caste and communal violence are horrendous attacks against assertion of marginalized communities for having a dignified life.
As social activist Kancha Illaih once said, ‘caste violence is directly proportional to assertion of identity.’ It reflects a lot about the current times in India.
In the homogenized idea of Brahmanical feminism, ‘All women are conceived as ‘victims’ and therefore ‘dalit’; results into colluding the very different existence of Dalit Bahujan experience and is a result of a classical exclusion. Sweeping statements such as ‘All Women are Niggers’ were made by (Rubin, 1969) in West.
So if one looks from a marginalized’s lens in India, each crime in this respect reeks of politics, of Brahamanical power structures where the upper caste rapists and murderers are set scot free while having not only committed a crime but also willfully corroborating into the mechanism of systematic violence against the children, women and other people of marginalized communities.
The only thing common between the victim and the oppressor is caste and the game of its dirty hierarchal structure that one way or the other legitimizes the stake of the oppressor over oppressed. What’s even more shocking about this entire episode is that when a young Muslim girl from a nomadic community, the unfortunate Kashmiri child is brutally raped and murdered in a Hindu temple, the nation wakes up to a shock but when you look from the lens of a marginalized person that’s not the end of it as Hindu temples have always been places extreme exclusion and violence. History stands true to the fact that Dalits have always been repeatedly been discriminated, harassed and inflicted caste violence while trying to enter a Hindu temple.
For example: When an upper caste woman at Pimpri in Mahrashtra public complained that the Dalit man had harassed her that results into the Dalit man being hacked to death. What’s interesting to notice that this issue was not an issue of molestation alone or one of violence against Dalits alone, but one that underlies the complex reformulations that Brahamanical patriarchies undergo in order to counter collective Dalit resistance.
In line of that Dalit resistance, on 2nd March (1930) Dr. B. R. Ambedkar led a protest known as ‘Nashik Kalaram Temple Satyagraha’ in order to allowing Dalits into the temple. This movement was solely designed to have a right to enter temple with the idea of equal rights. ‘We don’t want to go to temples though but we should have rights.’
Young Devadasi practice is still exists in India continues to sexually exploit minor young children and women in garb of service to the God. Moreover as ordinary practice Hindu women are segregated from their household during their menstrual cycle and aren’t allowed to enter their kitchen let alone temples.
This India saw Hindu lawyers walking in support of Hindu rapists; six men, including a temple custodian and two policemen. In this process when we learn of some crime in this country it becomes essential to identify caste; I am embarrassed to say that we have become normalized to the idea of sexual violence and have been purposefully ignoring how caste is attached to this kind of sexual violence.
Jotiba Phule, a formidable anti-caste revolutionary and social reformer had conceptualized a Bali Rajya of equality of all men in opposition to Ram Rajya based on Varna Ashrama Dhrama, thus reversing the Aryan theory and giving a liberatory vision of history. In that liberatory vien, Tarabai Shinde’s ‘Stree Purush Tulana’ 1882, a text against women’s subordination written during Satyashodhak tradition launched attack on Brahmanical patriarchy and revealed in detail about the linkages between de-industrialization colonialism and commodification of women’s bodies. (Bhagwat,1997)
Why it becomes essential to look at the subordination and commodification of women’s bodies from a Dalit feminist point of view because nothing else is perhaps capable of being sensitive to the lives and honor of women in India. When the law of the land give a second class citizen to women what do you do?
You question. You question everything.
It becomes all the more necessary since Brahmanism is bereft of humanity as its heart lies in the life of a caste parrot that parodies riddles of castes and its evil consciousness that has corrupted the social, moral, spiritual fabric of life in India.
When your respected PM breaks his silence only when public outrage both at home India and abroad reaches a point that marginalized welcome you with Black flags, it becomes necessary to not ignore the culpable crimes that our leaders have committed in garb of a religious identity and political hierarchy.
The tragedy of Unnao case even worse for she wasn’t only raped by a BJP MLA but her protest for her honor led her father’s death in police custody. And now with India’s Cabinet approving the introduction of the death penalty for child rapists; once again one ought to think who will be put behind bars in a largely Brahamanical judiciary.
That’s a pertinent question.
- Guru, “Dalit Women Talk Differently by Gopal Guru”
2. Rege, “Dalit Women Talk Differently: A Critique of ‘Differnce’ and Towards a Dalit Femnist Standpoint Position” by Sharmila Rege http://www.jstor.org/stable/4407323?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
3. Datar, “Non-Brahmin Renderings of Feminism in Maharashtra: Is it a more Emancipatory Force? By Chhaya Datar
4. Collins, “Black Feminist Thought” by Patricia Hill Collins
- JYOTI NISHA