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Posted at: Nov 25, 2017, 12:36 AM; last updated: Nov 25, 2017, 12:36 AM (IST)

What about living women’s honour?

Satyawan Malik
The deshbhakti and izzat provisions of the ‘new India’ demand strict honour clauses from the alive for the dead. But the common women only want education, safety, health, hygiene and employment; not Deepika’s head.
What about living women’s honour?
A REAL ISSUE: Women still have to walk miles for water.
Satyawan Malik
Professor, Government College, Jind

Inaam Dus Crore! The late Padmavati must be mysteriously smiling over the 'protectionism' offered to her honour on the earth nowadays. We are a society where praise is lavished more on the dead than the living. The lives of millions of women in Rajasthan, UP and Haryana, however, may be an inglorious saga of disrespect, torture, exploitation and killings. Our male chauvinistic lords wouldn't excuse the woman coaxingly singing "Mujhko Ranaji maaf karna, galti maahre se ho gayi" in the film Karan Arjun.

The New India deshbhakti and izzat provisions — historical or fictional — demand very strict honour clauses from the alive for the dead. But unfortunately, the 'clan honour' practitioners have, perhaps, turned a blind eye to the recent Global Gender Gap Index.

Owing to economic inequality, poor hygiene and low proportion of women in the legislature, India has slipped down from 87 last year to 108 out of 144 countries, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). India ranks 139 in 'Economic Participation and Opportunities for Women'. The most abysmal for Indian women is 141th rank in 'Health and Survival', which is a terrible disgrace.

Woefully, women will struggle and cease to be if they fail to fall in line with what men approve of! Female subjugation in India is long, hard, clumsy, toxic and coercive.

Admittedly, the biradari ki izzat (clan honour) in North India is tyrannically and hypocritically defended by a father, brother, husband, or jilted lover as the subjugator. Femicide in North India appears to take place with impunity, making it a ghetto society for women.

Irked by the presence of paranoid elements in society, the Kerala High Court recently observed in the Hadiya case: "If the parents of the boy or girl do not approve of inter-caste and inter-religious marriage, the maximum they can do is that they can cut off social relations with the son or the daughter." 

Interestingly, Egeus, the father in Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream avers: "As she is mine, I may dispose of her to this gentleman (Demetrius) or to death…." 

Ironically, the living women in India are today facing ostracism similar to what Shakespeare wrote in the 16th century. The recent WEF survey points out the same tale of victimisation. The dead are peaceful, far from the misogynistic crowd.

Sadly, a policeman allegedly killed his daughter for 'honour' in Surehti (Jhajjar) on October 25. Harshita Dahiya, a stage performer, paid a similar price in Haryana. The police version that "she had joined a rival gang to take revenge from her jeeja for raping her and killing her mother" highlights the culture of misogyny and its strong societal roots. 

A baby girl, from her very birth, is unwelcome to the galaxy of relationships. Shockingly, newborn girls are found dumped in garbage bins. Isn't it despicable how, in July 2017, a woman burnt the genitals of her four-year-old granddaughter at Mauju Khera (Sirsa)? The District Child Protection Officer stated: "The girl's mother told…that her mother-in-law burnt the child's private parts with hot tongs because she was upset at the birth of three consecutive daughters to her." (The Tribune, July 23).

Ironically, hakeems and babas do thuggery with gullible females having a strong preference and desire for sons. In doing so, an inglorious slugfest of gender discriminations begins.

The sense and sensibility issues in the developed world are vastly different from our macro-issues of dowry-deaths, domestic violence, female foeticide, stalking, kidnapping, molestation, rape, murder, malnutrition, economic deprivation, prostitution, sex-trafficking and incest. However, it is not a rule out that cinema objectifies women and police are victim-unfriendly in North India. Society, in general, is callous to women. Moreover, it is good that modernity should be guided by the past; tradition ought not to be misrepresented. But fighting injustice in the wake of tardy and costly law processes, most women undergo social stigma, bear financial insecurity, suffer nervous breakdown and face physical extermination. How bizarre it is that 150 gangrapes by ‘Axle gangsters’ in Gurugram were a mystery to police.

The women in Rajasthan, UP and Haryana want education, safety, health, hygiene and employment before Deepika Padukone is made to learn lessons. Deepika is also a woman and an artiste! Let's not transgress the decency norms in the country of Sita, Savitri and Padmavati. 

The real tribute to Padmavati...

Thousands of women are still struggling to get drinking water, food, clothing, education and hygiene before the question of Utopian honour. The inaam raashi (Rs 10 crore-plus) may be used for making elusive water and needful education available. A great homage to Padmavati!

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