Nirbhaya’s rapist documentary rubs my nose in the dirt

Public discourse on the Nirbhaya documentary has been conveniently reduced to a one sentence non-brainer: should the documentary be banned or allowed to be shown? The reductionism is symptomatic of the innate cowardice of the country’s intellectuals who do not want to look at other dimensions. Reducing the documentary to a ban-or-not-to-ban sound byte has made it easy for these cowards to position themselves on one or the other side of the divide.

But as a woman and as a political analyst I find I am unable to take sides in the ban/no ban debate, except to the extent that this has now acquired a national sovereignty dimension. And it has not escaped notice that with just one or two exceptions, there is a sharp gender divide on the ban/no ban question. Those who have gone public in favour of screening this documentary in India are men: Shashi Tharoor, N Ram, Soli Sorabjee while those who want it banned are women: Jaya Bachchan, Kirron Kher, Vrinda Grover, Indira Jaisingh. And it bears mention that whether for or against the ban, these vocal men and women have chosen to ignore the national sovereignty dimension altogether.

INDIA-RAPE-PROTESTLet me begin with the geopolitics of misery and then proceed to the act of rape itself, and the mindset of any society which protests vehemently against rape as some kind of self-exculpatory catharsis to absolve itself of the guilt for nonchalantly accepting as law of nature the attitudes which continue to position men one step higher on the power ladder – within the family and outside in public life. It is an unassailable fact that in public life generally and in academe and politics particularly, women have to get past some man standing at the door which says ‘Enter’, and past other men who are standing along the way. Needless to say, they need to get past the men in their family first, with or without their consent, before they step out of their homes.

In the geopolitics of misery, one country’s misery is another country’s opportunity, especially if you are a component of the Generic Church, and especially if you are America. It is doubtful if Sonia Gandhi would have cleared the request by the makers of this porno-documentary to meet the rapist in Tihar jail in a matter of two days had they been some Somasekhar Reddy from Eenadu TV or some Sukanya Somasundar from Kalaignar TV and not white British Leslee Udwin from white British BBC.

The fact that Nirbhaya was raped in December 2012 and BBC and Leslee Udwin decide to make a film on the rape within six months of the horrific incident only goes to prove it requires a congenital colonial mind to exploit any situation for commerce, and that too with such indecent haste. Udwin writes to the Ministry of Home Affairs in July 2013 seeking permission to meet the rapist and MHA takes less than 48 hours to allow a foreigner from a foreign news channel to meet, interview and film the perpetrator of one of India’s worst crimes against women. It was not simply that foreigners were allowed to make a film on a heinous crime which was already sub-judice but that permission to intrude was given in such tearing hurry. That they made a full-fledged film with the rapist and equally rapist-minded advocates as the theme of the documentary, violating all national laws, rules and guidelines governing rape, victim of rape and foreigners making films in India, about India is only more of the treacherous colonial genes of BBC and the British woman.

Not only has Leslee Udwin violated Indian laws with regard to disclosing names of rape victims but she has chosen to thumb her nose at the Indian government and India’s judiciary. Leslee Udwin, BBC, Vital Voices founded jointly by Hilary Clinton and Madeline Albright and Plan International have demonstrated their utter contempt for India’s national sovereignty by announcing their intention to hold public screening of India’s Daughter in London and New York.

Now it is Modi Sarkar’s turn to deal America, Britain and the BBC a knock-out punch. Modi Sarkar can begin by evicting BBC from India for a period of two to five years. India’s foreign office in the UK and all diplomatic missions can and should refuse to permit BBC at press conferences and media briefings anywhere in the world. Modi Sarkar must then throttle all foreign finds from foreign governments and foreign funding agencies to NGOs and activists. Banning all foreign institutional and foreign government funds to NGOs will be akin to cutting off blood supply to the brain.  This and this alone will permanently disable the local instruments of coloured revolutions.

Leslee Udwin is attempting to varnish her greed and global NGOs are justifying their contempt for India’s laws with the fig-leaf of democratic rights and freedom of expression. But let’s take a quick look at their own freedom of expression and democracy and all other rights.

BBC in their edited version of the documentary which they screened in London, has not given the global numbers on rapes and abuses against women around the world because, and this is astounding, “BBC Storyville has a house style that doesn’t allow them to put statistics on a film”, as Udwin put it. So BBC will not put in UK specific and global statistics on rape. America will flout all international laws, charters and agreements with the in-your-face argument that in America and for Americans, domestic laws override international laws.

In India, we had a former Chief Justice of India declaring in open court that ideally, in India all national laws must approximate to international laws! Which means in this case, protecting the Indian law which prohibits revealing the identity of rape victims must be overridden by the international charter on human rights which includes Leslee Udwin’s right to freedom of expression. Leslee Udwin has not only revealed Nirbhaya by name, she has recorded the rapist describing in graphic detail why and how he raped her. Leslee Udwin has also revealed the identity of the five year old girl child raped by Mukesh Singh five years earlier. That child is alive and ten years old now. This child’s right to privacy and closure has been violated by Leslee Udwin and her right to freedom of expression.

This is not a documentary about Nirbhaya, this is a documentary about a rapist and his wannabe rapist advocates. Hilary Clinton, Madeline Albright, Meryl Streep, Baroness Amos and Frieda Pinto are throwing their political, financial and celebrity power behind a woman who gave visibility and voice to a rapist.

And as the world points its finger at India for being undemocratic (whatever that means) and denying a white British woman her right to freedom of expression, let us point out with all the power we have that America is yet to elect a woman president to the White House, the UN is yet to have a woman Secretary-General and most pan-national instruments have reinforced glass ceilings. Notwithstanding anything else that happens to women in India, Indian women have stormed every prestigious glass ceiling inside the country. And that fact Leslee Udwin, Hilary Clinton and Madeline Albright know only too well which is precisely why this documentary was made. You are like us only seems to the base motive behind the porno-documentary.

However, nothing I have said so far on the issue can whitewash this:

gandhiIt is a small step which separates Tushar Gandhi from Nirbhaya’s rapist. The rapist said two things of significance: Mukesh Singh said Nirbhaya invited her rape by being out on the streets at night when she should have been at home “cooking and cleaning” as he put it. He then said Nirbhaya should not have resisted the rape; if she had not fought back, if she had submitted meekly and quietly to being raped then he and his three other rapist friends would not have thrust a rod repeatedly into her vagina, pulling her entrails out and battering her to death.

The porno-documentary has jolted the country’s intellectual class into taking a position on the ban or no ban issue. It remains to be seen if any man or woman will demonstrate the courage to raise the question, “what do women want?” I am not qualified and I also think it improper to speak for non-Hindu women. When women like Madeline Albright and Hilary Clinton, when foreign governments and foreign funding agencies pour money into Indian NGOs for activism in women’s issues, one pernicious objective is to create transnational women or women’s solidarity breaching religious and national divides. As always, this lemon is sold successfully only to “global” Indians. Transnational women’s solidarity is like “Workers of the world unite” and other brotherhoods. Transnational women’s solidarity is a global sisterhood with white women spearheading the movement for a white masculine world order. So let me speak as a Hindu woman – daughter, wife, mother and more.

What women want

What women want is linked inextricably with their self-image. Oftentimes this self-image is torn between the truth of what they know, what they have experienced and what they feel about themselves and the image that they have inherited through conditioning. What women want is both good and bad just as what men want is both good and bad. I use ‘good’ and ‘bad’ not in any judgemental way but in the sense that what women want or desire has both good and destructive consequences.

But what most women want is to be empowered to provide for their family and to be economically independent in the event of widowhood with dependent children, being deserted by their husbands or if for some reason the husband/father is unable to earn. Most importantly and not acknowledged frequently or honestly enough is a woman’s desire for empowerment, for self-fulfilment. Women also want the self-esteem that such empowerment brings (which includes education, role in public life, financial independence and the consequent power to make and take decisions) and above all women want the right to decide the course of their life.

The image that Hindu society has inherited of the woman and her role within the family and society has the following main components: Woman must be protected, woman’s complete fulfilment is in motherhood, woman’s discontent, suffering, disillusionment must be invisible and silent, woman is a ‘natural home-maker, woman is emotional, irrational, impulsive, likes gossip, likes jewellery, woman is vindictive, scheming, frivolous, flippant, flighty and so on. Public discourse while pervasively negative and unflattering about women as a whole however sings eulogies to ‘mothers’. Whatever is denied to ‘woman’ is granted to ‘mother’ as a matter of privilege. It is a measure of the inherent hypocrisy in Hindus how we make this disconnect between ‘woman’ and ‘mother’ and speak of both as if they were two different species.

The feeble attempts so far at discussing women’s issues has been characterised by stereotyped idiom and language of ‘matru shakti’ and ‘stree shakti’ and an unwillingness to boldly break new ground. The ugly truth is that most women have no consciousness of their ‘shakti’, matru or otherwise. They feel oppressed, weak, without an assertive and assured self-image, without a purpose in life, and with no avenues for expressing their grief, discontent and anger. Most stay-at-home women find mere housework sheer drudgery. They have been made to feel that expressing anger and discontent is disloyal and somehow not being true to the inherited image of an ideal woman who is happy tending to her home and family. The unwillingness to discuss women’s issues and when we do, to do it within the stereotyped parameters of ‘ideal woman’ reflects a fear to confront the truth that in the real world, there are very few ‘ideal women’ just as there are very few ‘ideal men’.

INDIA-WOMEN-CRIME-RAPE-ANNIVERSARYHigher education and the exposure it gives to young girls to the larger world outside the home causes radical changes to entrenched mindsets and erodes the conditioned responses fashioned by home, village, jaati and sampradaya. Young girls who have seen women becoming providers out of necessity in the previous generation and who have chosen employment and jobs/career for the financial independence it gives them are not only demanding the kind of respect that was and is reserved for the earning man but also want men to participate more actively in child-rearing and home-making. And when men, married to employed women or career women refuse to change their attitude towards child-rearing and household chores, tensions begin to build between married partners. And if career or work demands do not permit man and woman to resolve the tensions in a marriage it inevitably leads to separation and even divorce. Sadly, woman’s empowerment and male insecurity have been made into a zero sum proposition and Mukesh Singh’s justification for raping Nirbhaya fits perfectly in this paradigm.

Leslee Udwin was lying when she said her porno-documentary was intended to give us all the mindset of a rapist. Ask any woman, she would tell you she does not need to watch this documentary to know and understand the mindset of a rapist. Mukesh Singh is the culmination of Tushar Gandhi who is the offspring of a culture which sees woman as only a body with little mind and certainly no soul.

That women should conform to an essentially masculine conception of the role of women in family and society, that women should never fight back or resist abuse, that women should be voiceless and invisible, is not a portrait of the mindset of a rapist, it is a portrait of the mindset of all men in general; which is why at the very beginning of the article I said women have to get past men standing at the doors when they have to step out or step in.

Women get anywhere in public life only with the approval of powerful men. Women in academe and in politics have succeeded or failed because of men, very rarely on the strength of their own merit, talent or capabilities. This is a very bitter pill to swallow but swallow we must if we have to begin chipping away at the monstrous edifice we call ‘man’s world’. Take any woman in public life, trace the path of her ascendancy or downfall and you will find a man behind her growth or her fall. Fathers and husbands, brothers, colleagues and mentors, nobody is exempt from this general rule.

Leslee Udwin’s porno-documentary does not reveal the mindset of a rapist; if anything it reveals the mindset of women like Udwin, Clinton and Albright who see human misery as opportunity to further their own goals.'
Radha Rajan is a Chennai-based political analyst. She is also author and animal activist.
  • Martin Devadason

    Quote————-Her party colleague Kirron Kher said, “More important than whether the documentary should be made or not made, what those people said is what we need to concentrate on. Those people haven’t learned anything all these years.”——————-Unquote

    Your citation in the article that Kirron Kher was against screening or making of the documentary is grossly incorrect.
    In fact Kirron Kher sided with the documentary maker while speaking in the Rajya Sabha!

  • Jenny Fletcher

    I can agree with the author in some of her more balanced paragraphs, but when she starts to wander off track to suggest that the BBC should be banned from comment or reporting on topics of international interest and creating stupid bans which will hinder NGOs from helping Indian citizens where their Government has failed, she becomes rapidly less believable. Allowing slanging matches in the comments that reveal deep veins of pure race and cultural hatred in Indian society in the end totally discredit the author and her work.
    if anyone wants official statistics about rape in the UK, they can get them easily, but in the UK, as in India, it is still chronically under reported and often trivialised by the courts, so in some ways statistics are meaningless. The documentary was about an incident of not just rape, but brutal murder, a story that went worldwide within days – and revealed the victim’s name at that time. India may feel deep shame about it but from the actions of its young women out on the streets protesting, the Indian Government is still lacking in its response to reform the law, and the way it is enforced. Anything Leslee Udwin said, or that I say did not bring them out in protest. They have their own agenda, cutting across religion and culture to make India a better place for women in the future,. They are part of a transnational women’s movement that inexplicably the author chooses to decry as pernicious – why?
    Please explain exactly why Indian women would not want the voiced support of women elsewhere in the world? It makes no sense to me.

    • Jishnu

      “Please explain exactly why Indian women would not want the voiced support of women elsewhere in the world?”

      Several reasons, a few to start:

      1. Unlike elsewhere in the world, in India men and women alike come out on roads demanding improvement of law and order and curtailment of crime especially rape. As a result, a committee headed by Late Justice JS Verma was appointed, which came up with a study of where failure lies (squarely with government) and what amends to law should be made to control the crime.

      2. A majority of transnational activism has a track record of anti-India activity in India. West-funded women’s rights activism is no different. In contrast, India’s native activism by both men and women is quite sincere to the cause, be it on dowry problem of yesterday or rape of today.

      3. A woman is a human first, woman next. Each human society and culture has its own checks and balances against crime and transnational activism comes at the expense of it: again as data shows. India has a living society unlike west which is a broken society. So crime in India happens in spite of bad government and self-regulating society while in west it happens because of a broken society and in spite of a vigilant state. Transnational feminine activism that can’t see this much, has done no good in enhancing social self-regulation, it only weakened it.

      • Radha Rajan

        Point three is excellent. Transnational movements for anything rarely work because all abuse, all correctives and all initiative must factor local conditions, local culture.

  • pvas

    Leslee Udwin , Wendy Doniger, Nina-something (who wrote about a ”abused’ Sita ) – all Jewish. Whats with these Jewish women and their over-hyped, anti-Hindu and anti-India stance? Lord Shiva or Parvati Maa poking them with hot pitchforks or something.? Or did their Jewish husbands/fathers run off with Indian Hindu women? Or is it a showcase of their sweet ol’ Jewish female temperament? Or is it something in the Israel water and air that turns them into intellectual deceits? Or is it just plain money greed? Or is it….is it…..

  • pvas

    Reading this article is like meandering in the park, aimlessly touching on one issue to another, leaving one wondering in the end what the heck is this all about. It proposes to talk about the documentary per se and possible motive(s) of the documentarists for making it, and then brings in whole lot of discussion on women’s roles, identities, responsibilities, etc. It seems to be characteristic of Radha Rajan’s articles on this website ( or atleast the two or three I have read here – I am new to this website). Perhaps the writer aspires for a doctorate and uses every opportunity to write a lengthy ‘thesis,’ pretty much ado about nothing. No doubt she has good writing skills (wish I possessed such a skill- but alas, analytical skill (statistics) is all that I am endowed with); but the point is lost in such a verbose writing style. In any case, I’m pretty much sick of the endless series of articles on this Nirbhaya documentary on this website, all saying pretty much the same thing, and all making similar observations, that we have all made by now. Can we please now change the subject? If any of you have some original scoop or revelation on the matter, unknown to the rest of us , then enlighten us, please! Otherwise, let move on!

  • Bhartiya

    We support your suggestions in the article, could you please start online petition and we will sign it, to take actions and put sanctions on BBC, our govt can say this is what our people want

  • Radha Rajan

    Francois Gautier says Leslee Udwin has a Pakistani father. So what motivated Sonia Gandhi no allow her to interview and film the rapist? That Leslee Udwin was half white or that she was half Muslim?

    • pvas

      Wrong! Her pappa is Jewish. Hence, her display of over the top hysterics, drama and deceit, and hyped-up anti-India, anti-Hindu stance (another Wendy Doniger). Don’t know what her mamma is, though. In the US, one would call her, and the Doniger woman, type as a partly JAP (Jewish American Princess). Leave you to find out what that means. If anyone here calls me anti-semetic, well, here’s me being shamed – NOT!

  • Shubhangi Raykar

    I also thought that the doc is no doc but a soft porn movie.

  • Dr. MS

    This article is too long, and it tends to be a bit on the “Why did she not make me feel good with the documentary” perspective. That should not be the point. The point is, “What is the point of this documentary?” To educate, inform or do research on the minds of few psychopaths? This documentary does none of that. It is purely, as the author asserts, “violence, rape or perverse-people drama porn”.

    Thank goodness I am going to be teaching in a co-ed college. These Christian women’s colleges and Hindu girls’ schools have made Indian women terribly weak participants in their own community’s development, or totally clueless about how to work in and lead in a world of men and women. They are segregating themselves by creating a binary, duality or otherness where none exists, or not using that strong personal voice to unite with men when necessary, collaborate with men when necessary and challenge men as well as women when necessary..

    When I gave a talk at Miranda college I found while some young women benefited from all women’s colleges, many just ended up in a theoretical world of femaleness or victimhood or persecution…while achieving little in the form of reform, policy or female leadership. Women’s colleges attracts a self selecting group of women from a more traditional or a patriarchal family or society. Thank goodness I did not go to an all women’s college.

    As one woman political leader said to me (sarcastically), “Yes, they all want to be actresses, models, activists or attractive protesters…while they have no clue about how to live, manage and lead in a world with men. They all end up with a Mrs. degree while having dreams about liberation. They all want to marry rich or for security….while discussing feminism in parties or in their women’s club. If in America women’s colleges are no longer necessary…in India these colonialists made it necessary. We don’t need these Miranda college, Veranda college and Paranda college. Get out and start being yourself…and sometimes that means dealing with patriarchy in your family or society as well as you could. Do it…and then start leading from the front, back or side. Not just protesting…while waiting for change from elsewhere.”

    I am not sure I agree with her entirely…but these women’s colleges have become a perverse battleground for persecution complex and victimhood complex these days. If my generation basically tried to use girls’ schools to avoid harassment or domination by boys…so we can get an interruption-free education in science, math and humanities…women’s colleges in India have become today just “rape focus and male violence focus protest world”.

    The very gender divide on this documentary in India is not flattering to India. India is a sexist country, and there is cluelessness, patriarchy, arrogance, preaching and argumentativeness in many men. Full stop…But it is a big divide between being sexist and being a rapist. There is more psychological sexism in India…than actual physical violence. Most Indian men do not beat their wives or daughters, and would never think of even pulling a girl’s hand let alone raping her. Some would not even leer or jeer at a girl or a woman. We are talking about a small group…who are not part of the larger society.

    On the other hand I am worried that some young men in India are not really HIndu, not Indian, not anything. They are clueless lost souls who have become city tramps with addictions, pathologies and money-centered life. It is amazing how little Hinduism exist among these men.. To me that is the scary part.

    India is not a rape culture or a rape prone culture…but it can become one…with the kind of changes going on in places like Delhi: an expanding cesspool of “cultureless, valueless money focused or lost human souls or trash”. This requires a documentary…not that one rape on a bus. .

    • Radha Rajan

      Your response is too long too. You made a similar remark on Dr. Kak’s article. I suppose your problem with length is symptomatic of the twitterati.

      • Dr. MS

        I do not have a twitter account. I came back to India after 30 years of overseas living with my Indian passport. I am always hesitant to respond to some Indian women journalists…They get defensive, cheap and petty. Thanks for fulfilling that role. Think about what I wrote before getting defensive. You do raise some good points. Hope that made you feel better.

        • Radha Rajan

          That hurt didn’t it? You really should not take it out on us poor stay at home Indians simply because your multi-hued American dream has faded.

          • Dr. MS

            Yet, you go on and on…like a messed up battered woman. You can neither take compliments nor criticisms. Something is wrong with you psychologically. Get counseling. I am not going to use any of your articles for a class I am teaching at the Masters level. I review books and papers all the time…You are a strange person with some low class behaviors. Who the heck do you mingle with, and sorry somebody screwed you up.I don’t want to respond to you anymore. Loser

          • Dr. MS

            Why? Are you a stay at home trash? Is that where your defensiveness is coming from? I don’t think you know how connected I am. You are becoming a security threat. Get counseling fast.

        • Radha Rajan

          And another thing. When we write we dont always get praised. We get brickbats too. That’s natural in public life. So no lectures here please. Confine yourself to critiquing the points. I dont dress to please youl so I dont see myself writing to please you.

  • Vijayalakhmi Menon

    Modi Sarkar must do all it can to teach a lesson to this perverse woman Leslie Udwin and BBC! Yes, BBC should be banned in India and boycotted like Radhaji has suggested!

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  • JagatguruDas

    Why is our hyperactive courts which jumps at the drop of a hat is silent on this when it is still sub-judice? It is no secret that they are too scared of confronting MSM thoughts and hence they choose to swim along the current.

  • Latha Rao

    we are not at all united thats why others invade our home and abuse us when will the indian think on correct lines let all clarity of thought and how to save our nation against such constant abuse. tushar gandhi talking like this is no surprise Mohandas Karamchand gandhi kept two young girls by his side and wanted to test his celibacy. this thought of son stems from there

  • IndiannotAmused

    Very hard hitting…….classic Radha Rajan. One point here…….the merchants of destitution have succcessfully built up a network of ” feminists” here who worked in perfect synchrony with the Brown Sahibs to wreck this year’s Holi in India……what should be done to dismantle the ” FemiNazi ” network in India?

    • Radha Rajan

      Indian men must become Indian feminists.

      • pp_chn

        In what way madam? Already they are giving away their jobs in the name of equality, governments sponsors girl-specific programmes for the poor (as if poor parents don’t have boys), girls aren’t willing to marry men whose salary/status is beneath them, sec 498A to threaten the man & his family in the name of dowry etc. While women are bold enough to say they want to live the way they want, can a man say that? what more should be done for the sake of feminism? Western men have already become feminists. Yet that didn’t prevent rapes/sexual atrocities against women. It has only lead to break down of family values & society.

        • IndiannotAmused

          Dear friend,
          I think what Madam said there has a stress on “Indian”…..I feel that she meant that we must take control of the narrative of gender equality in line with Indian civilizatioal traditions like that of Gargee, Maitreye etc.Each of the points you have mentioned is Western version of feminism that has been projected inside India by the FemiNazi network .I think Radha Rajan meant that the eternal truth of ArdhaNarishwar that India has edificed in its thinking needs to be reconstituted in a modern framework and propagated by us Indians … AND women.As I said at the beginning in “Indian feminists”, the catch word is ” Indian”.This is just my personal opinion on her comment and anyone here……please feel free to correct or criticize me.

          • Radha Rajan

            I have dealt with ‘ardhanareeswarar’ elsewhere earlier. Let me draw your attn to what happened yesterday. Four women were thrown out unceremoniously from the BJP’s National executive. First, the utter indifference to gender sensitivites – why remove four women in one stroke and why women alone? And if it is an issue of their competence or otherwise, are we saying all men in the NE are competent? attendant question – why were these women selected to the NE in the first place. Reinforces my men at the doors point. Indiannotamused – because this is serious intellectual debate, I am being extremely careful. Do you see the preeminence of the masculine in words and understanding of these words in ‘sahadharmini’ and ‘ardhanareeswarar’? My greatest comfort is knowing in our dharma and dharmic traditions – so long as the change in dharmic mores leads to reinforcing dharma in line with requirement, Hindu tradition has always done it, in its own time and in its own way. But as you pijted out correctly, the feminism – internalising the inidspensibility of the female component of all existence alone will correct our mindset.

          • IndiannotAmused

            I was not aware of this purge.
            Thanks for pointing this out.It is precisely this kind of pigheadedness and chauvinism that generates rifts in our society.It is those rifts that are deftly played by the enemies to contain us. If you look at the Stratfor discussion on India….they categorically state that India will be using up most of her energy just to keep herself together…….so no threat of a global challenge from India. Yes, I believe gender relations add to the already existing fault-lines in the society.
            If we Indian males can not come out of our sense of insecurity over powerful female figures , we will be allowing half the sky to come down on our heads.

          • Radha Rajan

            Smriti Irani, Hema Malini, Najma Heptullah and Shaina. Shaina and Meenakshi Lekhi have been slowly but surely removed from public gaze. The BJP is now overpoweringly masculine.

          • Dr. MS

            Radha, you need to stop making these sweeping generalizations. What we need are more smart women…not just passionate women who are eager to join a party but their background reveals “not very high qualifications, or capabiliites or competencies that India needs at the highest level”. Winning an election, being a good policy maker and being an efficient policy implementer are three different things. Having said that not all the above women have been sidelined. I want to see fewer women actresses, wives of somebody and activists in politics. I am tired of the passion without hard knowledge about issues. We need intelligent people with high education in governance, social issues, public policy and research: men and women. Full stop.

          • Jishnu

            Understanding feminine principle means that one wouldn’t be a feminist, and one wouldn’t do a race for right and equality wrt man. Understanding feminine principle means that feminine is recognized as an independent principle in its own right, which is impossible in west and any feminist model.

            Problem with a vertical division of human society into two genders is that it misses several ground realities: crime and brutality’s victims are strI-bAla-vRddha-jnAni and NOT woman alone. ALL soft aspects of civilization that contribute to its higher reaches suffer. Presenting the problem of barbarism as a problem of woman is misdiagnosis, which inevitably leads to much worse results as in the west: their crime only increased along with a greater destruction of feminine principle of existence, because protection of woman means making woman like a man.

            As regards pre-eminence, its a yes and no. As one good friend noted, there is nothing to compare in terms of pre-eminence between head and center, between illumination and discrimination. The difference exists only from an ego viewpoint and not from an essential viewpoint. In terms of relative empowerment, nothing much in a civilized society (but a lot of difference in a barbaric society where brute force takes prominence over soft civilizational force, sense of utility trumps sense of beauty and so on). So if anything the wrong faultlines have to be seen through for a correction of situation, and reinforcing feminine principle involves devaluing brute force & utilitarianism, emphasizing value of “non-material” success & aesthetic sense.

            On the contrary sahadharmacAriNI does involve pre-eminence of yajamAna, and although one does not exist without the other the latter assumes a more visible role. That is again a complex issue, because the sahadharmacAriNI who is meant to only assist in the yajna is forbidden from many of the inauspicious things yajamAna is ordained to do including burial visits. sahadharmacAriNI assists in auspicious rites and herself (without the yajamAna) does several auspicious rites: in which cases she is not sahadharmacAriNI but the yajamAnI herself. Which is why I said the difference in prominence or preeminence is mostly visible from an ego ground but not essential.

          • Radha Rajan

            Sounds so reasonable but masculine reasonable. “Race for right and equality wrt man”? Perish the thought. I wouldn’t compete with another woman and never with a man for anything. Western feminism grew in the fertile soil of Biblical and Christian violence against women. So I understand and do not trivialise western feminism. I use feminism for want of a better word. And Jishnu, ego is an intrinsic reality of human life. When i understand ego I will be a sanyasi. But we aren’t are we. We are ordinary people grappling with abuse, discrimination blatant and subtle and all kinds of sweet reasonable arguments which tell a women not to rebel, not to resist. I also draw your attention to black feminism which is radically different from white feminism and also eco-feminism which made the path-breaking proclamation – the basis of all exploitation, all abuse is the same – man.woman, man-nature, man-animal. The abuser alone is subject while the victim is always an object, and is denied agency to think, speak and act for itself. Jishnu, western women have their problems, Hindu women have theirs. The only solace here is Hindu customs and practices whenever they ossify or become abusive, have been ended by visionary Hindus themselves, men and women who move through Hindu society to change it.

          • Jishnu

            “I use feminism for want of a better word. ”

            That is fine – but still IMHO is rooted in the man-woman dichotomy which doesn’t sufficiently characterize the nature of crime seen from fundamentals of human consciousness.

            Ego being intrinsic to life hardly makes ego the basis for understanding nature and human society. Ego is at the root of western worldviews, not dhArmic. Our knowledge and arrangements sprout from mahat. Our institutions clearly distinguish jnAna and bhoga and a range of human pursuits including art skill are rooted in knowledge and happiness not ego. No transcending ego doesn’t make one a sanyasi but forms the basis for the most productive human pursuits which are socially relevant and civilizationally progressive. So I cannot agree that an arrangement based on ego can sufficiently address human society’s urges and progress. I am not trying to undermine the positive side of ahamkAra, but just trying to put it in place.

            Western feminism not only grew from a background of violence of women, it grew from a masculine definition of man-woman dichotomy, precisely because it is rooted in ego. Its not just feminine principle but that of disability, power and several other aspects of nature and society that are defined along lines of ego in “modern” and post-modern worldviews, something dhArmic worldviews are at odds with. For a more elaborate note by one of our friends, see “case of inability” in this article

            That Hindu women have problems hardly makes it a feminism issue, it might be symptomatic of a different problem is my point 🙂

          • Radha Rajan

            Jishnu you are using the word ego as if it has negative connotation. I use the word as meaning being conscious of the self, the ‘I’. We are all as ordinary people driven by I my mine. It is the problems that we as ordinary people confront which is the topic of discussion. Normal days, ordinary people, routine discrimination. Today in parliament Sharad Yadav made a very sexist remark and this is not the first time he is making them. When advani first made the off-the-cuff remark that there must be 33% reservation for women in parliament, Sharad Yadav objected to it saying only ‘bal katiwali mahilayen’ will enter parliament. Jishnu we all know the best of Hindu thought. It is the ordinary hinduism in practice vis a vis women that concernss me. Let me cite in incident from personal experience. After an intellectual gathering we all had lunch. after lunch as is normal i picked up all plates and glasses to take them for washing and then cleaning the hall where we had eaten. I did this spontaneously because women do it routinely at home. But one intellectual very well known remarked, now you are doing what women should be doing. Meaning I shouldnt be thinking saying and writing what I think say and write. This is the routine attitude to which i refer.

          • Jishnu

            But Radha ji, you are on one hand asserting ego in a general sense but referring to its petty manifestation in real life: the latter is *natural* yet not the principle on which social conventions are formed. They are shaped with careful engineering done for decades and longer. How can we talk of symptoms and expect to address a disease?

          • Radha Rajan

            Jishnu, even if I sound incoherent pl wade thru the ideas to see what I am saying. Communism which came out of Marxism was a reactionary philosophy to not only capitalism but church controlled capital, capitalism and capitalists. And that is why if you plot the geographic path of the expansion of communism in Europe, it traveled across catholic countries. This is my observation; I have no scholarly answers for the same. I have maintained that because the church was always on the side of capital, communism was as much against capital as it was against the church. So, I understand why communism was a necessary reaction to capital and its evils. Ditto with feminism which originated in the west. This too was reactionary and reacted to oppression and severe discrimination inherent in the Bible. For women raised on the Bible and the culture derived from the Bible feminism was a new and liberating movement. But communism and feminism as we know originated from the west are misplaced in Hindu society because Hindu women are confronting not sanctioned discrimination in religion but only bad social practices. The discrimination and real, very real abuse of women should not be swept away. Women have very real problems within the family and outside. But the corrective is also within the family and comes from good human beings who live a dharmic life. And that is why I dont attribute negative overtones to ego. The ego is real. All knowledge, even wisdom can be realised and transcended only thru ‘I’. I have to use my mind to silence my mind. I have to use the ‘I’ to transcend the ‘I’. The danger in our public discourse and I mean Hindu piblic discourse on women’s issue is – because our source is pure and our dharma is so dynamic and adaptable, we make the mistake of thinking, “we are not capable of unspeakable violence against women”. We are capable and we do it. But as i said, living dharma among us ends it firmly and sternly. Whenever Hindu society has changed, the change has been lasting and beautiful. Much of what I write Jishnu comes only with empirical knowledge. I asked my giuru once, “Swamiji why am I not able to fall at your feet spontaneously and offer worship? he told me not to worry about it at all. he said when your mind falls, you will fall with grace and worship. This understanding, this love which is so alive in Hindu society, that is the corrective.

          • Jishnu

            “The discrimination and real, very real abuse of women should not be swept away. ”

            No it is not swept away. On the contrary I am saying lets do the causation better. As I said, woman is one of the multiple “soft” targets others being children, old and learned people. Which is the dhArmic view of the problem. What is fundamental to human nature and society cannot be given a shade of gender problem is my point. Not at all that woman does not face assault or discrimination. To reduce a strI-bAla-vrddha problem to feminine is probably not going to do much good IMHO.

            The west did not to much good to itself by raising feminism bogie, because its diagnosis is not rooted in understanding of human nature but in socially visible problem (which is a symptom and not a disease).

            To establish a dhArmic order it requires people learned in dharma to be recognized as SishTa jana, both by society and state. Society innately has the tendency to follow them as a general norm. To discredit them is a good harm the state is deliberately doing and society unwittingly.

            “we make the mistake of thinking, “we are not capable of unspeakable violence against women””

            No at least I am not making that assumption. There is enough data of violence against woman but not limited to woman. So its analysis cannot be reduced to a woman’s problem but of the society’s civilizational standard.

          • Radha Rajan

            There is as much truth and as much fallacy in your statement as there is in this – that you should not single out the poverty in your home because it is merely small fraction of the poverty in the country which is in turn a part of global poverty. Macro statements are simply that; macro. It helps to formulate hypotheses, theses. Feminism, like any school of philosophy is a hypothesis, a philosophy. What I can do is fight my poverty, my oppression, live my life as a true srivaishnava, as Advaitin. So I cannot subsume oppression and abuse women in the larger abuse or problem of the elderly, the young. We can also add the physically and mentally challenged to this list too. And the list can get longer. each category of abuse or neglect or indifference has to be dealt with separately while keeping return to dharma as objective. Jishnu please I am done with responses.

          • Jishnu

            Let me reformulate. I am not saying poverty of my home is small part of global poverty. I am saying my fiscal poverty is part of a host of other troubles like friction, lack of happiness, negative thinking in my home and all these come from the same general dAridrya and that formulating it thus will help me make a proper case of an overall alleviation and not just money mongering but an overall samRddhi, aiSvarya, santosha. How is this an empty macro statement and not a holistic one?

          • Radha Rajan

            Yuvrajji I mention it in passing in an article I wrote in 2005 titled ‘Women’s issues are not simply Women’s issues’. Pl Google it with my name and you will get it. Eleven years have gone by, some things have changed some haven’t. It is still amn’s world and men still stand at doors.

          • Yuvraj Singh

            Radha ji, can you please share the article where you’ve given your views on Ardhanarishwara.

          • Radha Rajan

            Yuvrajji pl Google Radha Rajan ‘Women’s issues are not simply Women’s issues,’. I mention ardhanaruswar in passing in a specific context. I wrote this eleven years ago. Some things have changed, some haven’t. Men still stand at the doors and women can get anywhere only when some man backs her. I am older but my basic premises on Women’s issues have not changed.

      • Shubhangi Raykar

        Some of them are. But the number must grow.

  • suru

    PM modi when he was a CM, was denied his entry into USA for wrong reason and India showed maginimity by inviting its President as a Chief guest for the Republic day. Taking a leaf from this incident, India should ban entry of Leslee Udwin, BBC, Vital Voices founded jointly by Hilary Clinton and Madeline Albright and Plan International besides as you said”Modi Sarkar can begin by evicting BBC from India for a period of two to five years. India’s foreign office in…….”
    Thank you Radha Rajan for this detailed article.

  • suru

    Udwin has said that her porno-documentary was intended to give us all the mindset of a rapist”.
    She could have easily asked her rapist or any British rapist.Why only rapist from India? So her documentary is just a veil to degrade India just like a wolf showing sympathy to a deer! She and BBC are afraid if rape statistics are shown on the doc or even mentioned verbally, there will be a hue and cry in UK. Udwin’s mind set is covered with deceit, and so filthy that she wants to use human misery for a gain.
    Who knows if some has ticked her for a noble prize if public screening is held in New York and London?

  • Jishnu

    Why is it that mother gets things a woman doesn’t? Because the default image of woman as mother is ingrained in H psyche and to that extent alone woman’s respect is retained in the otherwise civilized (read brutalized by abrahamists) H society. Woman as web of Indian life, woman as an implied partner of all dhArmic activity be it community or family occupation, woman as the central entity of family and bhUri kuTumba are all out-of-fashion prototypes and that is the reason woman doesn’t receive the same respect as mother. That mother is an archaic and undesirable prototype and that woman unattached with any traditional civilizational tag is fashionable is still a race that is on because it concerns individuals. The other prototypes mentioned are already destroyed because the state-defined prototype does not entertain any other culturally valid prototypes. Its not a hypocrisy in H thinking but two sided view of the glass.