Tuesday, 27 August 2013

In Defense of "The Indian Gentleman"

I am an Indian woman, liberal, educated and very much vocal about women's rights.

I am also the daughter of, a sister to, and the wife of, extremely decent, responsible and caring Indian men and I have many male friends whom I am proud to call  "friend".

I am also a woman who deeply cares and is very aware about the pathetic condition in which Indian women are treated and the endless harassments they face at home, at work and generally everywhere, almost at each step in their lives.

I am writing this post because, there recently has been another incident of Rape in India and this time in the financial capital of Mumbai and it has shaken the entire country once more. There has been much said in the popular as well as the social media about the attitude and the mindset of Indian men and about how, we should, as a society try and change it.

It is true that Indian men, a large enough portion of them have rather medieval attitude towards women, in fact almost all our social laws, tradition and customs have been designed in such a way so as to keep our women languishing at the bottom of the social hierarchy.

Have you noticed how women are scrutinized before marriage, even now, when most of the women are independent and earning (sometimes even more or equal as their male counterparts) and how much emphasis does being "fair", "slender", "convent educated" etc play in arranged marriages ? The matrimonial adverts are teeming with these words and it's disgusting.

But the greater question is:  Are only "Indian Men" responsible for such attitudes?

A society as a whole always reflect the attitudes and perceptions of the people who "make up" the society and this includes both men and women.

I would go as far to say that our Indian women are equal or more than responsible for how the Indian society treats its women. In fact, the other day, I was talking to my brother and he remarked that he's really tired of being generalized as the common Indian "man" who leches and assaults and rapes women, as if all men in India are such. The way our popular and social media goes about asking to change Indian men's perception is really disgusting and moreover it is utterly false. True, we have some of the most harshest and unequal traditions and customs in place to keep Indian women down and out... but are solely Indian men responsible for that ?

Whenever a woman is mistreated, raped or harassed, the first claim of innocence from the accused comes from the mother... has anyone noticed that ? Even in the Mumbai rape case, the mother of the accused has stood up for the accused and has claimed that "her son", the rapist, is actually "an extremely innocent boy and is also underage"... whenever there are domestic violent acts perpetrated, there is always a "mother-in-law", a "sister-in-law" or at least an "aunt" involved.... recently a petty Bollywood actor was accused of raping his domestic, and the first claim of innocence came from the actor's wife, who went as far as saying that the charges were fabricated, when there had already been medical proof to the contrary.

Attitudes such as this, strengthens and emboldens the attitude of the society as a whole and then, when the society perpetrates that perception, we call it wrong, disgusting and unjustified.

Most of the soaps in Indian mainstream television focus on either a housewife getting ill treated at her in-laws hands, or a daughter who is striving very hard to uplift her family from distress, facing embarrassments and overcoming them or an "all sacrificing" daughter-in-law who despite being treated harshly, repents, forgives and gets harshly treated again by her in-laws. Some of these soaps even focus on how a "dark", or "fat", or an otherwise "not so beautiful girl" not getting suitable suitors for marriage. And in ALL OF THEM, the main negative protagonist is also A WOMAN....

And what's worse, there are millions of women, housewives or otherwise, watching these soaps who get influenced by these moronic ideas.

I have grown up in a family where I have three brothers, and all of them are as decent as men could possibly be. My brother, who is also my best friend, is one of the most decent ,man I have till date seen in my life. In fact Indian men are rather, far better, if you compare them to men from other communities and classes such as Blacks or Hispanics. They are far more protective and caring of their family and far less prone to abandoning their duties and responsibilities. I have had several uncles, who has never, in anyway tried to impede on my dignity and I have worked with some of the best male colleagues that one could ever get and my Boss, who incidentally was a man was one of the best bosses ever... I have had male friends who have been extremely decent, not only towards me but also to all the girls/ladies in their life. I have married an extremely decent and an admirable Indian man, who has never once pressured me to do anything, that I haven't wanted to do. I have known some of my girl friend's husbands and they too have been really decent.

Contrary to this, I have also known many a groping men in public buses and strangers, of course, male, on the roads who eyes first travel from my chest area upto my face and then downwards again.

I have also known mother-in-laws who talk about their daughter-in-laws with contempt and ridicule and I have known mothers who have been beset with woes because of their daughter's failure to find a suitable match. I have known " family aunts" and "neighborhood aunties", whose interest in someone's daughter's marriage exceeds her own parent's enthusiasm... I have known female colleagues bitching about other female colleagues and I have also known a female Boss giving less than deserving appraisals to her female juniors.

So my dear readers, there are millions of decent, nice, caring and respectful men in India. These men are considerate, they respect your identity as a woman, and they are freethinking enough to respect your liberty.

As opposed to a hundred lecherous, morally degenerated, abusive, Indian men, there are also several hundreds, nice, decent and caring Indian men and as opposed to many thousands oppressed, ill treated, and abused Indian women, there are also several hundred oppressive, abusive and rather cruel Indian women...

It is a rather sad truth, but it is a truth.

Till the day, we women do not support our own, till the day, we do not do not look into a man's or a woman's eyes if they are treading on our women's rights, we should not blame the Indian male solely for the atrocities permeated on the Indian women. Till the day, women will keep shielding their male relatives for their ill treatment to other women, and till the day we do not impart the same teachings to our daughters and sons regarding women rights and dignities, blaming Indian men and their attitudes, would not help Indian women better their position in the society in any way.

It's best to remember the very famous words, "if men are the heads, women are the necks, whichever way the neck turns, the head too has to turn in the same way"...  So let's be responsible "necks",
my dear women, let's turn the "heads" the right way...

Image Courtesy: www.someecards.com

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

very well written my sister!