Go ahead, beat up the woman, they do it in Indian movies too!

If one were to play the blame game then Bollywood movies would be squarely responsible for this heinous mindset.

Aalia Suleman June 11, 2014
The incident, in which a female bus conductor in India was beaten up, on June 6, only proves that the country has learnt from history that it has learnt nothing from history. Even after the global hue and cry over the gang rape of the student in 2012, the Indian male populations’ attitude towards women hasn’t undergone any significant transformation.

In fact, it has gotten worse where even the politicians are desensitised to the extent of calling rape ‘right in some cases and wrong in others’, as stated by Babulal Gaur, the home minister of Madhya Pradesh.

Given that caste mentality still rampant in India today, this probably means that rape is ‘right’ when it occurs to a woman of the lower caste and ‘wrong’ when the victim belongs to a higher, more acceptable class.

A number of reasons stand out when attempting to assess the possible reasons behind the grave desensitisation to rape in India. For instance, if the caste system, and the humility that this class is subjected to, makes every injustice towards them correct, it will be a long time until the Indians get anywhere in getting legislation related to rape acted upon by the population. While the politicians duly devise legislation to control the menace, the policemen directly concerned with registering the cases and moving them forward, duly refuse to do so.

If any legislation regarding rape in India had really been effective, the guy beating up the bus conductor would have had second thoughts. Also, none of the male passengers came to help her. In fact, the conductor from the other bus who came to her aid was also a woman.

All this goes to show, and reiterate, that the male psyche in the country continues to consider people from the fairer-sex worthless and lowly despite the country’s rise to the status of the third largest economy in the world. Obviously, the culture has yet to catch up with the economic boom.

The Indian law professor Ratna Kapur calls sexual violence in India an ‘epidemic’ where ‘women will continue to be nothing more than disposable lives’. According to the Times of India, 95 per cent of women in Delhi and nearby areas do not feel safe outdoors.

The general male psyche in the country not only includes the population but, sadly, encompasses the politicians of the country as well.

In yet another case, two girls from an ‘untouchable caste’ were raped at night when they ventured into a nearby field of chili plants to answer the call of nature. The next morning, they were found hanging from a mango tree.

In fact, when a journalist broached the topic in front of Akhilesh Yadav, the chief minister in Uttar Pradesh, he responded saying,
“You’re not facing any danger, are you? Then why are you worried? What’s it to you?”

Yadav’s father, Mulayam Singh Yadav, had a similar callous attitude towards rape and made headlines for himself when he airily commented on the subject of rape saying,
“Boys will be boys. They commit mistakes.”

Assessing the failure of the country’s legislative machinery to control female abuse and violence in the country, Amnesty International cited outdoor toilets to be a major contributing factor. The shallowness of this suggestion needs to be debated when weighed against the enormity of the crime of violence against women, whether it is rape or bride burning.

If, however, one really were to play the blame game here, then Indian media, especially Bollywood movies, would be squarely responsible for their inexcusable contribution to this heinous mindset.

With all these acts of extreme violence against women in India suddenly gaining global attention, there is a deeper need to analyse how it reflects that sexual dominance, always known to be present in the Indian culture, is also heavily laced with extremely violent tendencies. These same tendencies are heroically exhibited in Indian films and hence, adopted with fervour by the youth. Sadly, this is not only adopted in India but also across the border in Pakistan.

According to Steve Derne’s in-depth study of Hindi films produced between the late 1980’s and the early 1990’s, Indian movies not only legitimised but also ‘eroticised’ sexual violence. Derne’s interview of Indian men on their views of romance revealed that female submission, even if violent, was idealised by 76 per cent of the respondents on the basis of images seen in the Indian movies and television. Even romance is violent because the women on screen ‘crave’ it. Hence the men assume that the women on the streets crave the same.
WRITTEN BY:
Aalia Suleman A freelance writer and poet who is keenly interested in the status of women in 21st century Pakistan. Her writing also zones in on Pakistan's new social and political status on a redefined global chessboard. She has a masters degree in English Literature and blogs and invites debates at 'Socio-politically Pakistani'. She tweets @aaliasuleman (https://twitter.com/aaliasuleman)
The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necassarily reflect the views and policies of the Express Tribune.

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COMMENTS (52)

Nero | 6 years ago | Reply | Recommend @ Author: I just have a few comments regarding your writing/analysis. 1. You have used caste and class interchangeably, which just muddles up your arguments. 2. By trying to explain attention to rape through higher versus lower caste issue, you betray general lack of understanding of caste dynamics in modern India. The example you quoted involved a "middle" caste (Yadav), not the "higher" ones. 3. I am not sure how Bollywood can be held responsible for a societal phenomena. Further, considering women as property seems to me a curiously North Indian trait, which is shared by most Pakistanis I have met. 4. International media coverage of rape cases in India is not really a logical support for your arguments, especially because rape against women in India are not particularly higher than most other countries in the world. Sensationalizing some cases might make good press, even policy I daresay, but not good research.
ShawnS | 6 years ago | Reply | Recommend Maybe these such things such as rape, child marriage, sexual assaults, female infanticide wouldn't happen if the people we call "the leaders" of India would do something that would benefit the people and not just sit on their lazy asses and do nothing all day because they are too busy counting the money they have "stolen" from the people. The people of India have elected these so called "people" to run the government and fix their problems. And what are they doing just making it worse. These ministers shouldn't be called humans or angels they should be called devils or other forms of Raavan. Maybe these ministers should crack down on all this by clearing peoples minds of the belief that "sons are a blessing while daughters are a curse" the world where there are more women and girls is doing fine without this belief. And yet look at India what is their problem. They are still sitting on that same belief that is 100000 years old. This will just push this country back. No wonder till this day India still has no proper plumbing, roads and civil services. And if you people call yourself the people of India I hope you guys can find a way to change this social and political problem or watch all of India collapse one day and nothing will be lady besides chaos.
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