By: MR Lalu
The epic Mahabharata gave a detailed version of male atrocity on a woman who was dragged to the court of the Kauravas while all her five husbands stood mute and lifeless. Pandavas, the husbands of young Draupadi were compelled to remain silent when she was molested at the royal court and an emasculated audience watched the event with insensitive servitude. The parents of the Kauravas could not witness the brutality directly as one was blind by birth and the other chose to embrace blindness as an indication of respect for her blind husband.
The epic presents contrasts in conspicuous details. The unbelievable devotion that Gandhari the mother of Kauravas had for her husband and the molestation of Draupadi in the court of Kauravas is one of the examples. Blindfolding herself she chose to stay away from the incredible beauty of the world which her husband was deprived of. There could not be a better depiction possible than the blindfolding of Gandhari’s eyes to living in tune with the blindness of her husband and the greatness that the epic attached to a male-female relationship. But the ruthless sarcasm that the courtiers had a reason to giggle on and the numbness that veterans like Bhishma stooped in when Draupadi’s molestation took place, illustrates the skill with which the narrator describes the hypocrisy of patriarchy.
The situation has not changed even today. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women came this year with the same dullness and repudiation as it had been in previous years. Anything about the suppression and violence against women at home and in society remained the same with not more than a few media debates and columns making a ruckus on restricted platforms. The contrast that the great epic decoratively portrayed remains a prophecy that the generations to come would seriously fail to learn lessons from the accuracy and approach with which the human double standards work. And the intelligence of literary magnets, the writers, profoundly revealed the truth that society is supposed to function and the values they propounded were indicative of a disaster that the human minds would probably drag the entire humanity to.
To be precise, the silence with which we usually register our anger on the violence against women in a celebrated civilized society such as India is a result of the societal emasculation that we propose to push our life through. Except for candlelight marches nothing solid seems to be emerging zealously stormy, capable of putting efforts to stop the brutality. Deep and dark in our minds we break open the windows of violence and unleash the power of horror degrading everything that we considered humane. What motivated a young man to be too ruthless to slice a human body into thirty-five pieces and refrigerate them for convenient disposal on a day-to-day basis? Aftab Poonawala had easily chopped off his live-in girlfriend’s body without even the slightest of humanitarian sentiments.
To imagine the level of atrocity a young man would dare to commit, needs an animalistic hard-heartedness and medieval savagery. Marinated in unparalleled barbarity, there would be many young minds getting ready to give us a jolt of horror. As usual, dialogues and symposiums would make conclusions, mostly pinning blame on Netflix episodes of investigative horror shows that depict brutal human behavior in a decent fashion and with well-crafted intonation. That being one of the reasons rampantly influencing the emotional intelligence of young minds, the contribution that distorted family atmosphere and the radicalized religious beliefs help young minds gravitate towards ferocity cannot be undermined.
Children becoming scapegraces at a young age cannot be justified without the whole society being brought to hold the responsibility. Undeniable invasions by social media into the young minds and unjustifiable ethos thrown into the mental framework of children by different religious kinds of literature effectively disseminate and harvest brutality aplenty. No murder or outrage on a woman, for that matter, should be toned down as a mere act of situational violence. This could also be a well-thought-out plan or at least an accumulation of behavioral stimuli gathered from the existing ill-gotten sentiments of a family or society. What if a child grows up seeing violence being carried out on his mother or any other female member of his family? The sentiments he is nurtured with and progress through would hold a tremendous impact on his mental build-up. He can, without any legitimate reason be irrevocably indignant and unpardonably brutal on anybody he disagrees with.
Statistics revealing the quantum of aggression against women across societies is a decisive interpretation of the skyrocketing trend of violence. This also shows and meticulously reveals the hypocritical element of religions that had successfully established this notion of male hegemony substantiating the same with religious legitimacy. The outrage and ruckus in the Iranian streets should also be counted as a reaction to the impact of the hysteria that male dominance has been hammering human sentiments with. A tendency to capture and rule the feminine in society works harder and resentment of any kind against such a move would be overthrown as an attempt to denigrate the already glorified male authority. Be it in the family or society, the dominant narrative is mainly focused on rewarding male supremacy and for some societies; it is an act of decency and a sign of distinctive social upbringing.
All such vitriolic strategies are based on an idea that religions could successfully preach and teach; that a woman being a creation sprung from the rib of a powerful man is supposed to be submissive to his muscularity. From her very young age, as a girl to her adulthood, she is frequently made to believe that she needs to take orders from the male population in the family. This gives an advantage to men who tap all the possibilities to unleash their unruly self on the girl who he chooses to live with. Shraddha’s case and many other such incidents bring intuitions amounting to be a serious lapse from the side of both families. While boys are blessed with the autonomy to live their lives in freedom, girls normally are destined to remain in the family’s confines. Making a choice is the mistake that Shraddha did but the price she had to pay was her life.
While analyzing this gut-wrenching horror, the subconscious feeling it gives is not less than an insight that the families in our country are mostly entwined in a baseless and duplicitous familial bonhomie; that the effect of deceitful interactions and mannerisms make many families silent cauldrons. Extremely privileged to have access to education and health, the present generation is more informed and intellectually settled than the past generations. Life-giving values being dispelled by the arrogance of modern intelligentsia, the new generation is seen to be distanced and the estrangement inside the families forcefully pushes young minds towards the predatory intentions and monstrous motivations of unknown individuals. But we should not allow compassion to become a myth. (The author is a freelance journalist and has also penned the book – India @75: A Contemporary Approach. He can be reached at email@example.com)