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Most people over the world, atleast outwardly, would give credence to the theory that men and women are of equal worth and that the same extent of dignity be afforded to both the genders. Sounds rather excellent in theory but where does the marker stand when it comes to discussing and debating whether women do have equal rights as compared to men, in society ?
Take our own country, for instance. It is a very populous country and one that has a large number of females, as it does males. There has been a lot of talk, there have been a lot of demands made towards the premise that society needs to look at women and men equally, that patriarchy needs to be shied away from, as it is deemed (quite rightly so !) as the root cause of many of the issues that women in our country face today.
I have asked this question before and here, in this post, I do that again. While outwardly, it is much easier to point fingers at the male population in our country and hold them responsible for almost all the wrongdoings against females that one hears of, has anyone given the female population a good look ? More importantly, I think one needs to look at a percentage of the female population that seems to be going out of its way in propagating, spreading and proliferating the idealogy of patriarchy.
Neha Dixit has written an extensive article about the RSS (Rashtra Sevika Samiti – the women’s wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh) in this regard.
The head of the RSS, Mohan Bhagwat, made it unilaterally clear about the RSS’s stand on gender equality (or, in this case, the lack of it), with his extremely introspective and brilliant virtuoso statements wherein he spoke of “Bharat”and its modernised version in “India”. He attributed all the evils in our society today to modernisation. He even went to the extent of saying that rapes happen only in “India” and not in “Bharat”. Sadly enough, this baloney and claptrap is not just from Mr.Bhagwat. Our female brethren evidently, are not very far behind in propagating patriarchy in all its colourful glory.
Apparently, the sevikas in all the RSS shakhas hold camps to indoctrinate women of all ages into the patriarchal mode of society and to inculcate a culture of unquestioned obedience, compliance and conformity to rules and regulations as demanded by a patriarchal society. Apparently, the sevikas or pracharikas (as they are called), in these RSS shakhas are specifically taught that their aim should be to create a Hindu rashtra – they fight to create a Hindu rashtra and more specifically, it is not in their realms to fight for women’s rights. Not surprising though, given the fact that the top guns in the BJP have never thought much of women or their issues, in the first place.
There was Sushma Swaraj, a woman herself, who called a rape survivor a “zinda laash” (a living corpse). There was the great Mr. Narendra Modi who is looked upon as a panacea to all the evils that the country faces today and he was the one who pointed fingers at Shashi Tharoor’s wife and called her Tharoor’s “50 crore girlfriend”. I guess this was what Mr.Bhagwat meant when he said women are worshipped in his version of “Bharat”. However, as one might have deduced, party people belonging to the BJP are fully endorsed and authorized to refer to women in derogatory terms in “India”.
Every single time members of the BJP open their mouths, they prove two things. One, they keep reminding people time and again as to how regressive, obsolete and archaic their thoughts are. Two, they simply can’t seem to give up on their obsessive penchant for shoving their feet into their own mouths, about as far as their feet can go.
The BJP women’s wing even went to the extent of supporting Mr.Mohan Bhagwat’s drivel about how rapes are taking place in “India” because of “western influences”. To actually have women subscribing to a theory that completely absolves the men of their responsibility and role in rape is shocking. Yet again, is this precisely not the ideology that the RSS drives into girls and women ?
Neha Dixit, in her article in Outlook India, mentions speaking to one of the “counsellors”in the RSS. According to her, there is a manual that they follow. Upon being asked what they do if a woman who has been beaten up by her husband comes to them, she is said to have replied “Don’t parents admonish their children for misbehaviour ? Just as child must adjust to his/her parents, a woman needs to do so too, taking into account her husband’s moods and she must ensure that she avoids irritating him.” Similarly, according to this counsellor (as I’m sure all the counsellors in the RSS will subscribe to, as well), a woman is dissuaded from thoughts of divorce. Divorce is not an option, according to these well indoctrinated female robots at the RSS. Their high principles and notions prescribe “our task is to keep the family together, not break it. We tell the women to adjust.” Yes, ladies. Do keep telling the women to adjust to the moods of their men – until it probably kills them one day because you see, as per RSS principles, there is no other way out !
The RSS claims that terrorism is a “western concept” and that Hinduism does, in no way support or propagate terrorists. I recently remember watching a young girl who has been named Sadhvi something, on YouTube, spilling pure venom about Muslims and Pakistan. True that she may not be toting an AK-47 or going around setting off bombs, but what she is doing in the name of religion (ably supported and sponsored by the RSS) is very much the same - instilling hatred in the minds of people who can then later be honed and turned into rather potent weapons.
Yet again, how does the RSS explain the massacre of Muslims during the Godhra riots in Gujarat ? They were sanctioned riots, sanctioned killings of a multiple number of people belonging to a religion other than their own. If that was not an act of terror, how does one define “an act of terror ?”
The RSS has camps where they are said to indoctrinate children between the ages of 5 and 8 where they are systematically and methodically exposed to concepts that strengthen the RSS ideals in their pliable minds and psyches. Adolescents too, have their share of “ideals” dinned into their heads. Are these not raising children who are brought up with hatred in their minds towards “ideals” which the RSS does not subscribe to ? Basically, they are taught to believe that anything the RSS has not sanctioned, authorised or endorsed – be it by way of thought processes or actions, is debauchery. A whole generation or probably multiple generations being raised with such retrograde ideologies as passivity, submissiveness and compliance to anything patriarchy demands from them, surely cannot be good for the future of the country.
What the RSS is steadily doing is legitimising, justifying traditions like patriarchy and all the misconduct that such institutions permit, as allowable and just. What the RSS is doing is creating and propagating a misogynistic language that teaches women submissiveness as the only way of life available to them. The saddest part of this whole issue, in my humble and honest opinion, is that these are being proliferated, disseminated and spread to girls and women by their own female brethren. Yet, they claim to teach the women in their camps self-defence.
I haven’t heard of a better oxymoron in a while now !