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 live 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, illustrate the skill with which the narrator describes the hypocrisy of a patriarchy.
Situation has not changed even today. International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women came this year with same dullness and repudiation as it had been in the previous years. That anything with regard to the suppression and violence against women at home and society remained the same with not more than few media debates and columns making ruckus in restricted platforms. The contrast that the great epic decoratively portrayed still 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 a 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 candle light 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 as humane. What motivated a young man to be too ruthless to slice a human body into thirty five pieces and refrigerate them for a 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 behaviour in decent fashion and 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 radicalised 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 literatures 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 behavioural stimuli gathered from the existing ill-gotten sentiments of a family or society. What if a child grows seeing violence being carried out on his mother or any other female member in his family? The sentiments he is nurtured with and progress through would definitely 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 on women across societies is a decisive interpretation on the skyrocketing trend of violence. This also shows and meticulously reveals the hypocritical element of religions which 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 the male dominance has been hammering human sentiments with. A tendency to capture and rule the feminine in the 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 in society, the dominant narrative is mainly focused on rewarding the 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 his 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 the families. While boys are blessed with autonomy to live their lives in freedom, girls normally are destined to remain in the family’s confines. To make a choice is what the mistake that Shraddha did but the price she had to pay was her life.
While analysing this gut-wrenching horror, the subconscious feel 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.
(Author is freelance journalist and social worker based in Kerala. The views expressed are personal opinion of the author. He can be reached at [email protected].)