Skip to main content

Hathras reflects Manu's mindset dominates: 'Women are false, it's in their nature to seduce'

By Parijat Ghosh, Dibyendu Chaudhuri*

The woman died and then we woke up to protest. She was alive for two weeks after the heinous incident. Many of us even didn’t notice what had happened at Hathras, how she fought during the next 15 days. Those who noticed, many of them were not sure what actually had happened. So much so, we as a nation were more busy in finding out who among the Bollywood actresses were taking drugs, who smoked weed, who had ‘inappropriate’ or more than one relationship, what kind of private conversations they had in their chat boxes and what not!
And, it is not surprising because our psyche probably is still shaped and governed by what our forefathers had said. ‘Women are the road to hell’. This is the thought that was perpetrated by our sacred books. Yes, we may not anymore remember the verses, but Manu still dominates our mind.
नास्ति स्त्रीणां क्रिया मन्त्रैरिति धर्मे व्यवस्थितिः ।
निरिन्द्रिया ह्यमन्त्राश्च स्त्रीभ्यो अनृतमिति स्थितिः ॥ १८ ॥
(Translation: For women there is no dealing with the sacred texts; such is the rule of law; the fact is that, being destitute of organs and devoid of sacred texts, women are ‘false’—18)
This is a verse from Manusmriti, telling us that women are false; their organs are valueless and they have nothing to do with rule of law. Majority of us, nowadays, may not know these verses, but don’t we really think in a similar manner about women?
Even after she got raped by four higher caste men, even after they broke her spinal cord, even after her tongue was cut and she fought for 15 days before dying our state, which is there to serve the interest of higher caste men, is trying to prove with all its apparatus how Manisha was false. Her forensic report, as if quite expectedly, didn’t find any presence of semen thus nullifying possibility of any rape. 
Not only that, police also sent a very clear message that those who are protesting against this incident will be identified and legal actions will be taken against them. ADG (law and order) Prashant Kumar said, “Post-mortem report says victim died due to her neck injury. Forensic laboratory reports haven't found sperm in samples, making it clear that some people twisted the matter to stir caste-based tension. Such people will be identified and legal action will be taken.”
शय्याऽऽसनमलङ्कारं कामं क्रोधमनार्जवम् ।
द्रोहभावं कुचर्यां च स्त्रीभ्यो मनुरकल्पयत् ॥ १७ ॥
(Translation: Manu assigned to women sleep, sitting, ornament, lust, anger, dishonesty, malice and bad conduct.—17)
We all remember the 2012 Nirbhaya case – as brutal and heinous as what had happened with Manisha. In between we were witness to many such horrific cases at Kathua, Unnao, Kamduni, Hyderabad, Chennai, Surat, and many other places. And all of us know that there are many more which even do not come to our notice. Just after a day Manisha died and her body was secretly and forcefully burnt by the administration we woke up to the news of yet another brutal gang rape in Balrampur.
The uproar, the candle marches, the protests after Nirbhaya have not changed anything. Yes, we got the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 2013 named after Nirbhaya. Has it led to any change? The data of National Crime Research Bureau (NCRB) suggest things have worsened. 
India recorded over 87 rape cases daily in 2019. According to an estimate it is not even half of the actual cases, as most cases go unreported
There are more than 32,500 rape cases recorded each year from 2013. India recorded over 87 rape cases daily in 2019; and according to an estimate it is not even half of the actual cases as most of the cases go unreported. One fourth of the rape victims are minor Only one among four registered cases gets judgement. All these data are available in public domain.
Funeral pyre of the Hathras victim hours later
Public figures in modern India play the role of Manu. In several occasions public figures in powerful positions justified rapes saying that sex is a natural urge for men, that boys will be boys and these ‘mistakes’ are natural, that women also enjoy being raped, that rapes are consensual, that dresses, foods and habits of women invite men to rape.
स्वभाव एष नारीणां नराणामिह दूषणम् ।
अतोऽर्थान्न प्रमाद्यन्ति प्रमदासु विपश्चितः ॥
(Translation: It is the nature of women to seduce men in this world; for that reason the wise are never unguarded in the company of females.)
What is wrong with us? Probably as a society we find it justified to give a lesson to disobedient women through misbehaving, teasing, body-shaming, assassinating character, torturing, slut shaming, witch-hunting and raping. 
All our macho abuses are about women, their sexuality and their body parts. All these are part of the same mind-set that women need to be taught lessons if they don’t fit into the shoe provided by society. That's why they had to break Manisha’s spinal cord and cut her tongue. We are taught through our epic mythologies that Surpnakhas should be treated like this only.
न ब्राह्मणवधाद् भूयानधर्मो विद्यते भुवि ।
तस्मादस्य वधं राजा मनसाऽपि न चिन्तयेत् ॥ ३८१ ॥
(Translation: There is no greater crime on earth than the slaying of a Brāhmaṇa; the king shall, therefore, not even think of his death in his mind.—381)
The accused belong to a higher caste. It’s extremely difficult to prove that they have committed the rape and murder. It’s unlikely that they will be given any punishment let alone capital punishment.
Yes, we are supposed to be governed by our constitution. But our psyche is still dominated by Manusmriti. Our state with all its apparatus is continuing to reinforce the Manusmriti in our brain. Candle march after every such incident won’t change the situation.
---
*With the research and advocacy unit of Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN). Views are personal

Comments

सुनील said…
हाथरस का चिंतन करने के लिए धन्यवाद l आप ने वल्लभगढ़ कों क्यों छोड़ दिया l क्या मुसलमानों कों अधिकार है स्त्री पर अत्याचार करने का.lउन्हें मारने का, छेड़ने का विशेष अधिकार है क्या? जैसे चार शादियों का है l या डर के मारे हाथ काँपते हैँ क्या?

TRENDING

Whither Govt of India strategy to reduce import dependence on crude oil, natural gas?

By NS Venkataraman*  India presently imports around 80% of it’s crude oil requirement and around 50% of its natural gas requirements . As the domestic production of crude oil and natural gas are virtually stagnant and the domestic demand is increasing at around 7% per annum, India’s steadily increasing dependence on import of the vital energy source is a matter of high energy security concern. This is particularly so, since the price of crude oil and natural gas are considerably fluctuating / increasing in the global market due to geo political factors, which are beyond the control of India. India has promised to achieve zero emission by the year 2070, which mean that the level of emission has to start declining at slow and steady rate from now onwards. It is now well recognized that global emission is caused largely due to use of coal as fuel and natural gas as fuel and feedstock. While burning of coal as fuel cause emission of global warming carbon dioxide gas and sulphur

Muslim intellectuals met Bhagwat, extra-constitutional authority 'like Sanjay Gandhi'

By Shamsul Islam*  In a significant development a delegation of five Muslim intellectuals namely former chief election commissioner SY Quraishi; former senior bureaucrat Najeeb Jung; former AMU vice-chancellor and Lt Gen (retd) Zameer U Shah; politician-cum-journalist Shahid Siddiqui (presently with RLD); and businessman Saeed Shervani [Samajvadi Party] met RSS Supremo Mohan Bhagwat at RSS Delhi headquarters. The meeting was kept secret for reasons known to the participants and was held in August. According to the Muslim intellectuals the meeting held in “a very cordial” atmosphere continued for 75 minutes whereas time allotted was 30 minutes! In a post-meeting justification of the parleys Quraishi stated that their main concern was “the insecurity being increasingly felt by the Muslim community in the wake of recurring incidents of lynching of innocents, calls by Hindutva hotheads for genocide and the marginalisation of the community in almost every sphere”. This delegation consistin

'Massive concern for people': Modi seeking to turn India into global manufacturing hub

By Shankar Sharma*  The news item quoting Narendra Modi at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) meet, "Want to turn India into a manufacturing hub: PM Modi at SCO Summit" should be of massive concern to our people. One can only continue to be shocked by such policies, which can be termed as ill-conceived to say the least. Without objectively considering the environmental and social impacts on our communities in the medium to long term, such policies will also result in massive economic impacts because a lack of environmental and social perspective cannot be economically attractive either. In order to become the global manufacturing hub, India will have to meet an enormous demand for energy of various kinds, and in order to meet this much energy demand the economy has to manufacture enormous number of appliances/ gadgets/ machineries (to generate and distribute commercial forms of energy such as coal, nuclear, gas, hydro, and renewable energy (RE) sources such as so

Denying dissent democratic space in Gujarat: 'sad narrative of eroding ethical values'

By Sandeep Pandey*  A padyatra (foot march) was to be taken out between 26 September and 4 October, 2022 from Randhikpur village in Dahod district of Gujarat to Ahmedabad to apologise to Bilkis Bano. Randhikpur is Bilkis Bano’s village. In 2002 Gujarat communal violence she was gang raped, her 3 years old daughter, another child in womb and a total of 14 family members were killed. 11 people were convicted and sentenced for life in 2008. However, on 15 August, 2022 after Prime Minister Narendra Modi made a speech from Red Fort appealing to people to change their attitude towards women and treat them with respect, a district level committee of Panchmahal decided to release the 11 rapists and murderers. A Bhartiya Janata Party leader described four of these criminals as virtuous Brahmins. Before the padyatra could begin from Randhikpur, on 25 September night, 7 activists were picked up from Godhra corporator Hanif Kalandar’s house where they had gone for d

Pesticide companies' lobbying 'seriously impairing' basics of governance, regulation

Dr Narasimha Reddy Donthi*  The Indian agricultural sector is grappling with low incomes, shortage of natural resources, increasing pest incidence and low public investments in research and extension. Pest attacks are increasing. Previously unknown pests are attacking crops. Farmers, indebted as they are due to various market mechanisms, are finding it hard to protect their crop investments. Thus, farmers are pushed into the conundrum of pesticide usage by pesticide markets and companies. Pesticide usage in India is increasingly becoming a regulatory problem. Regulation has not been effective in the face of such challenges. Scientific expertise on pesticides is often subsumed in the policy tradeoffs that, in the ultimate scenario, encourage production and marketing of Highly Hazardous Pesticides (HHPs). Expert Committee reports, which are recommending withdrawal of certain HHPs, are not being acted upon. Lobbying by pesticide companies has seriously impaired the basics of governance an

Kerala health bill public hearing? Here the minister 'ensured' cameras were turned off

By Our Representative  On Friday, September 30, 2022, about 100 members of the general public gathered at the conference room of the collectorate at Ernakulam, Kerala, to express their apprehensions about the Kerala Public Health Bill, 2021, which the state assembly referred to a 15-member select committee chaired by state health and family welfare minister, Veena George. Minister Veena George asserted at the outset that this was a sitting of the select committee, and all cameras would need to be turned off. Advocate PA Pouran, general secretary of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties in Kerala, stood up in protest, arguing that the meeting was a public hearing and should ideally be televised to reach vast numbers of people. Other members of the audience protested too, but the minister insisted that the gathering was part of a sitting of the select committee.  “Why then did you invite all of us?” protested George Mathew, who had arrived from Aluva and earlier served as a member of t

How Gandhian values have become 'casualty' in India under majoritarian BJP rule

By Sandeep Pandey*  A Muslim youth was beaten recently when he tried to witness the famous garba performance during the Hindu religious nine days festival of Navratri in Gujarat. There was a time when Muslims could easily participate in Garbha events in an atmosphere of cordiality. Bilkis Bano was gang raped in 2002 Gujarat communal violence, her 3 years old daughter, the child in womb and a total of 14 family members were killed. 11 accused were awarded life term. However, recently a District level committee has decided to release all the culprits. A ruling Bhartiya Janata Party leader has described some of these criminals as virtuous Brahmins, the highest among the Hindu hierarchical caste system. In a communally polarized Gujarat today most Muslims feel offended by the decision of the government and BJP supporters either justify the release of rapists and murderers or just ignore the ignominious decision. Mahatma Gandhi came from the Guj

GoI 'feeling threatened' by forces which can potentially fight 'Brahmanical fascism'

Counterview Desk  A network of civil rights and people’s organisations , Campaign Against State Repression (CASR)*, has characterised the recently-imposed ban on Popular Front of India (PFI), National Confederation of Human Rights Organizations (NCHRO) and other organisations as “Brahmanical Hindutva fascist” move of the Government of India (GoI), calling it “onslaught on democratic dissent”. In a statement, CASR said, the move is aimed at terrorizing and vilifying the Muslim community, adding, at the same time, the GoI is curbing any protest and demonstration against the “fascist diktat of ban”, with peoplebeing “detained and arrested.” It added, “This kind of attack on right to oppose or criticize any step of government should be conceived as an attack on the very democratic values of the people.” Text : On 28 September 2022, Central Government led by BJP-RSS banned the Popular Front of India, National Confederation of Human Rights Organizations, Campus Front of India, National Wom

Buddhist shrines were 'massively destroyed' by Brahmanical rulers: Historian DN Jha

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Golwalkar's views on tricolour, martyrs, minorities, caste as per RSS archives

By Shamsul Islam*  First time in the history of independent India, the in-charge minister of the Cultural Ministry in the current Modi government, Prahlad Singh Patel, has glorified MS Golwalkar, second supremo of the RSS and the most prominent ideologue of the RSS till date, on his birth anniversary, February 19. In a tweet he wrote : “Remembering a great thinker, scholar, and remarkable leader #MSGolwalkar on his birth anniversary. His thoughts will remain a source of inspiration & continue to guide generations.”