Sunday, October 30, 2011

Rationality v/s Human emotions

The debate on the abolition of the ‘barbaric’ death penalty accompanies the “masala chai” these days. The sudden popularity is because UN has now declared it to be one of its never-ending missions to abolish this ‘draconian’ law . So now everyone everywhere seems to be discussing this ‘cruel’ law which exists only in few countries including India.

The proponents of “Human Rights” argue about how it is cruel to take someone’s right to life away. There are others who feel that punishment is given to reform someone. Capital punishment kills the ‘hope’ of reform. Some others argue, “an eye for an eye makes everyone blind”. They all, uninously, agree for a life imprisonment.

When I talk about how AFSPA has violated basic civil liberties like right to life, people argue how it is an ‘unnecessary evil’. “Without AFSPA, Kashmir and the north-east states will seccede so its important for the army to step in”, they argue. AFSPA is also important, according to them, because these states share an international border.

Naxals blowing up trains, blasts in crowded markets, communal riots…their source of ‘anger’ is explored. The ‘intellectuals’ analyze what must have ‘compelled’ the ‘grieved’ classes to have gone the violent way. They prove how the violence was reactionary and in a way, do end up ‘justifying’ violence.

The intellectuals view an issue with different lenses…there exists different schools of interpretation. The intellectuals are supposed to be having a broader outlook, unlike the narrow-minded commoners. But sometimes, in their outlook, the human angle is underplayed. It’s the battle between rationality and human emotions, for them.

On the debate concerning capital punishment, the grounds are human rights. They argue that criminals should not be killed because it infringes upon the basic civil liberties. But then are the human rights meant only for criminals? They had also taken away someone’s right to life. What about that? They say, punishment is meant for reform. I think there is a need for a reality-check. This may still hold some truth, to an extent, for small criminals but I wonder if mass-murderers, serial rapists and especially terrorists can ever be reformed!
People justify the draconian law of AFSPA(Armed Forces Special Powers Act) which has led to extra-judicial killings, illegal detentions, fake encounters, rapes and torture of the civilian population in AFSPA-affected regions in India. They argue how it is important for keeping the people ‘together’. Without AFSPA, they will go out of the Indian union. I wonder if they would share the same belief if they would have personally experienced or had a relative subjected to such a rule. It is scandalizing to even imagine the situation but which is a reality in J&K and North-Eastern states.

The human emotion of grief, loss is unimportant. In their debates, the ‘Intellectuals’ do not talk about the human perspective. They do not talk about their sufferings. I, sometimes, feel that maybe they can no longer understand it. Paradoxically, Marx had defined Ideology as “something which misinterprets reality”.
Sometimes I feel that the common people are stuck in between, with the oppressors above and the intellectuals below. 

I now realize what Rousseau had said, “The ‘uncivilized’ man is much more humane than a ‘civilized’ man”.

Monday, October 3, 2011

why women don't protest

I remember how we had dared to cheat during our board examination because there were boys in our class. Ofcourse, this is not a very good example to give but it reflects social reality. Expected to be honest is not gender discrimination but cheating requires guts and ‘team spirit’. Women are gutsy…ofcourse or else we would have been frozen in time and would have been still exchanged for a commodity. And yes they can and have united themselves as in during the feminist waves but the question then is of “how much”. Why is it that I find more women rebelling against the idea of feminism than men? Why is it that the ideas of the patriarchy are disseminated by women? Why is there no ‘womanhood’, ‘sisterhood’?
Simon De Beauvoir, author of the phenomenal “The Second Sex”, wrote “unlike other discriminated groups, women are not organized into a community. There is no women community. Women never use “we” for themselves”.
Sadly, I do agree with her. I am not talking about “girl power”, “the girl thing” here. Being a woman, I know that a woman gels better and deeper with a woman, than a man. Female bonding is deep…its beautiful. They say, even if a woman does not say anything, other women are able to understand what she is going through. Yes, I agree. They do understand but they don’t speak up. So why they don’t women stand for another woman? A better question is…why don’t they realize their own power?
I claim to find the answer in their nurture. We are nurtured to live in a shell. We are ‘moulded’ in that way. We are given dolls to play with but actually, we learn from them. We grow up imitating them. We have to be pretty, adorable and voiceless. A doll always has a very serene expression… a smile on her face. We never come across a sad-looking doll ever. So a woman also has to learn to be serene, calm no matter what happens to her. She has to accept the discrimination, injustice, brutality as her destiny. This is what is taught to her. She accepts it with pride as they say, only women have the power to suffer, to ‘sacrifice’. Women are wild, they say. They have to be ‘tamed’ , ‘controlled’. So our freedom is controlled. It is not just the freedom of mobility but also the freedom to raise our voice, to question, to make decisions and to dream.
We also grow up with the notion of ‘survival of the prettiest’. We have been taught to compete. So the beauty, the appeal of a woman is judged more by a woman, than a man. So if a guy finds a girl pretty or appealing, his friend will list out ten points that this girl have missed out on. We are made the ‘guardians’ of the culture. We have been taught to keep a check on each other. So you have women disapproving of another woman who has ‘dared’ to ‘venture out’. Because, this is how we are nurtured. We are expected to realize our womanhood only to uphold the discrimination so we unite and tell them to act like ‘women’. That’s our job.
I know I might receive some comments from my female counterparts calling me ‘traitor’, ‘betrayer’. I will be accused of conspiring against my own ‘community’ which does not really exist. But I don’t think I have done anything of what I might be accused of. I have dared to state the unfortunate reality. I have written this article to make them realize how society has forced us to conspire against each other…to be ‘betrayers’ to each other and has disapproved us to realize the power of our female bonding. We need to stand up...for ourselves and for each other. We need to realize what womanhood is really about. Women are ‘wild’ and so we have to be ‘tamed’, they say but in this wilderness, lies our liberation. We need to come out…we need to break the glass ceiling and for that, it has to be “we”.