The examples of misogyny are just so overwhelming, that trotting them out would be boring. Women walking behind their men is a common sight in rural areas, eating after their men, tolerating their after-liquor blows, they even tolerated Sati and the funeral pyre adieus to both hubby and wife for centuries till Englishmen got rid of this practice, whatever Shashi Tharoor may want to say against the Brits. We could focus on some of the incidents that have kept a major part of our population riveted to the idiot box recently. It is better to move from the ridiculous to the sublime or the apocalyptic. So let us start from the Sushant Singh Rajput case. Small question: had roles been reversed and Rhea Chakraborty, God forbid, khuda na khasta, committed suicide, would the entire male middle class have bayed and hollered for Sushant’s blood? Would BJP and Bihar (alliteration unintended) have flexed their muscles, slapped their well-oiled thighs, as they do in wrestling pits, and boarded flights for Mumbai, only to be quarantined? Would Sushant have spent 28 days in jail, and earlier, spent 80 hours answering not very intelligent questions from the Narcotics Bureau? Would Rhea’s family have had the gumption to suggest that she was murdered — look at the ligature marks carefully, Director, CBI, where is your microscope, pal? Would those humorous investigating agencies — three, or more? — beat the homicide drum if Rhea had committed suicide? Would Bihar have jumped on drug-taking Sushant’s neck?
The Bihar DG, Gupteshwar Pandey, who within a week of his resignation was inducted into the JDU, Nitishji putting a green scarf round his neck, would he have said that Sushant Babu did not have the standing to question Nitish Babu? Mr Pandey, in a democracy, everyone has the right to question any high-up. People around the world have questioned Aung San Suu Kyi for not speaking up for the Rohingya. Nitish Babu was facing a wronged actress who stood by her partner. Incidentally, how did Bihar get into this act, Bihar where nothing relevant to the case or the protagonists had happened? Sushant’s own reputation has to take a blow as a drug user. Doctors in hospitals get beaten up by irate relatives when their dear one has died. It is the same syndrome here, with Sushant’s family spouting murder against his partner. The worst was that the agencies twisted their line of attack, and broadly hinted that the accused were part of a drug syndicate. Whatever could be damning, they threw at the accused. The Bombay High Court put an end to this nonsense by declaring that Rhea could not have financed or harboured illicit drug trafficking, as alleged.
What did the Shiv Sena do any different? Are they more caring about law? We saw the wretched bulldozers demolishing Kangana Ranaut’s office, in her absence — she was still to arrive in Mumbai. But the BMC wanted to do the Chief Minister’s bidding in a trice. I hope she gets her 2 crore from the BMC. But which court will have the gumption to stand up to the Sena chief? Muscle power, in the Ganga-Jamuna doab or Western Ghats, plays a very big part in politics.
Misogyny (I don’t know of an equivalent in Hindi or Gujarati) is well ensconced in the South Asian soil. Rapes are so common that it is appalling. The National Crime Records Bureau tells us that each day 10 Dalit women are raped in the country (could this be an understatement?). There has been a 7 per cent rise in rapes against SCs and 26 per cent against STs. So, is Hathras a big surprise? Both the BJP and the police amaze me. Why couldn’t they have taken the side of the victims straightaway? Why must the party think the media is conspiring against it? And the party has a truckload of TV channels to join in the BJP chorus. With Hathras, we have, as a nation, touched the nadir of ignominy. It won’t be forgotten for 50 years. Instead, they cover up. First the cremation of the Dalit rape-victim past midnight, not allowing the family to see her ravaged body, something that boggles the mind. Then curfew. Wrestle down leaders to the ground. Have the UP government and police run out of respect? The next day, they open up. How did the security situation change overnight?
They have suspended the SP. Could an SP have taken such major decisions without the goading of superiors: midnight cremation, denial of rape, something voiced by the ADG himself, curfew? Then 20 FIRs are scribbled against unknown ‘conspirators’. The District Magistrate is reported to have told the victim’s family that media and politicians are visitors, the DM will always be there. I hope the press reports are authentic.
And what can we say of us, the people, who idolised a handsome actor and were eager to see his partner ostracised, jailed, if not hanged, for murder. Indian languages need equivalents for the word ‘misogyny’.