Home arrow Archives arrow Open Forum arrow Open Forum-2014 arrow Poll Campaign Trail: PATRIARCHAL MIND-SET, By Chanchal Chauhan, 16 April, 2014
News and Features
INFA Digest
Parliament Spotlight
Journalism Awards
Poll Campaign Trail: PATRIARCHAL MIND-SET, By Chanchal Chauhan, 16 April, 2014 Print E-mail

Open Forum

16 April 2014, New Delhi

Poll Campaign Trail


By Chanchal Chauhan


The speeches of some leaders on the campaign trail for the present Lok Sabha elections are highlighted by electronic and print media because their words against women folk expose their patriarchal mind-set acquired by them in real life. Times have changed, yet the cultural lag persists. This too, too solid flesh does hardly melt. Recall this bias against women hindered the passage of a noble Act that could provide reservation of seats for women in Parliament.


The utterances of some of the political leaders against women surely deserve condemnation.  A leader, who is given the status of a semi-god and declared as the PM-in-waiting, brazenly ignored the existence of his wife and did not mention her name in the column in his earlier affidavits. His speeches full of male arrogance hardly show any respect to women politicians including those who are in his own Party. All these men folk inherit the same patriarchal mind-set that manifests itself in their attitude towards women.


These leaders are followers of their religions, namely, Hinduism and Islam. Their patriarchal behaviour is governed by their religious consciousness that forces them to behave like a lord over women folk. The essence of this consciousness is that the male governs the sexuality of women in the same way as a peasant governs the sexuality of his pet ‘cow’. That is why any woman that exercises her right to choose her mate is killed or subjected to punishment by male members of her family or even by the Khap Panchayats. The lesbian or gay movements are attacked and any film or painting portraying women’s liberty face arson and murderous attacks.


Even a celebration of the Valentine Day by girls is attacked by the RSS and VHP who act as Talibans do in other countries. These organisations have total disregard to equal rights to women in a democratic society. They pose themselves to be the self-appointed custodians of their culture and religious value system. At times they pose a threat to the fundamental rights of the citizens of India and to the democratic values of equality, liberty and fraternity.


The bitter truth is that our society is male-dominated and this male chauvinism reflects itself in all the activities within the social framework. This flaw in male consciousness is induced by his education, religious practices and familial behaviour. The media highlighted only some names and their utterances with a political bias against those Parties that were not of their liking. But the fact is that this bias against women persists in our society or even worldwide because the various cultures inherit the religious thoughts of their sects and social setup based on the inherent evil of inequality.


Most of the religions originated in those ages in which the slavery system in one form or the other was prevalent and continued even after the political changes or social revolutions that replaced the older system of governance with the new system of political regime. The religions still play a major role in the cultural behaviour of humankind. And what is the status of women in various religions?


The religious bigots derive their strength from their scriptures and sermons that pour in all the times into the ears of people through various media and various Sadhus, Babas, Asarams, Ramdevs and their Dharm Sansad. It is now clearly known to people as to how these Sadhus treat women in society. Similar is the case with religious bigots among the Muslim community.


Mulayam Singh who is supposed to be from the same clan of Yadavas to which Lord Krishna belonged, defends the acts of rapist ‘boys’. Lord Krishna himself degrades the status of women in his Bhagwatgita, and says, “Women are thought to be untrustworthy and stupid, easily corrupted” (1:40), and “a hindrance to men on the path to liberation.” (16:11- 12) Lord Krishna also justifies the creation of four Castes saying that ‘he created the caste system’, a philosophy that preaches inequality among human beings treating Shudras badly.


The saint poet Tulsi Das whose ‘Ramayan’ is sung every where in Hindi-Urdu region, follows the same teachings of the Lord Krishna and goes further saying that ‘a drum, a rustic, a Shudra, an animal and a woman, all these deserve beating.’ In another part of his epic poem he treats women as ‘the storehouse of eight vices’. The Holy Quran too preaches the same attitude treating women as ‘fields’ to be ploughed by men:“Women are your fields: go, then, into your fields whence you please.” Quran 2:223, ‘The Cow,’ tr. Dawood, p. 34

“Men have authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and forsake them in beds apart, and beat them.” Quran 4:34, ‘Women,’ tr. Dawood, p. 83

So, it is no wonder if Hindu and Muslim leaders during their election campaign explicitly air their views on gender questions. Are they the only ones who arrogantly express their gender bias or it is a social malady enveloping the whole male dominated society? Almost every day we hear the cases of sexual harassment of women at their place of work. The temples of various deities, and the temples of learning i.e. universities are various dens of such culprits and even a Shankaracharya and a Vice Chancellor was found behaving at the same level as the political leaders who are in the news now.

This cultural lag is every day strengthened by the whole religious industry including various TV channels through the sermons of professional Sadhus and Sadhvies. These channels were given the freedom of expression, but that constitutional right is, in reality, misused for spreading all sorts of superstitions and falsehood. These channels create roadblocks to the path of enlightenment. They hardly promote scientific temper that is a foundation of building a modern civilised human society. But nobody cares. The fact is that only the scientific temper and democratic culture may change the mind-set but that will take a long time to be affective in future. There can be no post-poll expectations. ---INFA

(Copyright, India News & Feature Alliance)

< Previous   Next >
  Mambo powered by Best-IT