I am very angry. And in all my anger I can’t help feeling that our mythologies taught us some of the worst treatment towards women. Sita in Ramayana and Draupadi in Mahabhrata both victims of domestic violence – physical, emotional and sexual. In Sita we see the classic case of a women victim of sexual abuse and abduction being blamed, ostracized and further victimized. As if it was her fault that Ravana abducted her. How dare Ram and his people ask her to prove her innocence. Just how audacious is the idea.

Equally bizarre is the scene in Mahabharata where Draupadi was being stripped off her clothes in the and the entire kingdom was watching. I wonder what was the intention behind writing such mythologies, what did they try to convey? All I gather from these is violence against women and they make me very angry. At least I wouldn’t let any of my children to read these mythologies.

More on this later, as of now, here’s an article I wrote for Bell Bajao blog. Read below:

A police officer in UP beat up a woman accused brought into the police station for interrogation puposes. He slapped her repeatedly on the face and snatched her veil, when she fell off he pulled her up by her hair. A lady police officer standing next to them, stood by, without moving a finger, without uttering a word. If you have the guts to see the disturbing images, here is the video. The news report is here

When will we stop passing the buck?

People often ask me, “can your organization take this up?” In the context of some incidence of violence against woman they’ll approach an organization and ask them if the organization can take some action.

Few days back I got a call at work, a certain gentleman said there is a family in his neighborhood where a lot of domestic violence goes on, the husband apparently is a drunkard and he beats his wife frequently. So the gentleman asked me how can we help him.

The immediate thought that came to my mind was to report the matter to the police. But he said that will be too extreme a step. So I  said, “sir, to begin with do an immediate intervention, next time you hear violence take some more people with you and simply knock at their door, ring the bell literally and stop it. Tell him it is not acceptable in the society. Once you have intervened rest will follow, report the matter to Protection Officer, file an FIR at the nearest police station if need be and so on.”

But those were not the solutions the gentleman was looking for. He asked, “But what can your organization do? No body will do that kind of intervention here, Koi nahi karta hai ji, can’t the organization do something?”

I said, “if the neighbors who are the closest to the family can’t intervene, how do you expect an organization to intervene, sir?”

When he insisted I gave him the contact of Lawyer’s collective, HRLN and Jaagori because Breakthrough doesn’t do direct interventions.*

For how long are we going to pass the buck? When will we stop and do something with our own faculties — our eyes, ears, hands and heart. Our eyes see violence, we stand by and watch — what are we doing? Why do we behave like we don’t exist, what are we waiting for? A divine intervention?

In Mahabharata when Draupadi was being molested a room full of men watched. Every body watched and enjoyed some waited for a divine intervention. Are we all following that example?

The truth really is that violence doesn’t exist because husbands are drunkards or mentally ill. Violence also doesn’t exist because the family is poor or uneducated. Violence exist because we don’t stop it.

Today, ask yourself, what are you doing as an individual? Even bigger question is WHY are you NOT doing?

*Breakthrough doesn’t deal with individual cases – they do mass media campaign, mobilize, inspire, educate, revolutionize — so that individuals don’t pass the buck anymore.

Disclaimer: I work for Breakthrough but my organization doesn’t necessarily endorse my thoughts and ideas, they are mine and mine alone.


7 thoughts on “Even today, our Sitas and Draupadi’s are waiting for a divine intervention

  1. i knw mass media campaign, mobilize , inspire etc is kind of a tough job to do. but i think to be much more effective you have to directly intervene.
    the gentleman who called you, had the kind of courage to report that atleast to someone (your organization) whereas i am very sure, none of the other neighbours will even give a shit about whats happening in the next house.

    And just call back that uncle after 10 days, there is a very high probability that he wont hav called other organizations. and my bet – he wont even call u ppl ever


  2. Excellent, you have made beautiful case in point as to why women are “subjugated”, its exactly people like you who will not let women take the mantel and handle the abuse dished out to them on their own. Very unlike the redoubtable draupadi, who not only avenged her insults but also managed to get her kingdom back.

    Also it amuses me to see that the woman who is getting abused in this case is never blamed for letting herself get abused, from what i read shes possibly an educated woman with some sense to complain to the police. When she herself intends to stay and get abused, who are you, a third person to interfere. Do you think you are a busy body tointerfere in other’s business?

    Now that you say mythology, what would you say to ur kids when they see burkha clad women on the road as a symbol of male domination? would you tell them they are diseased? what would you call the disease Maleophobia?

    Grow up lady look at the world, women dont need you to save them, they have long learnt to march their own horses, even the redoubtable draupadi


  3. Problem many a time is we are Silent watchers. Opening our mouth ESP in our society is considered wrong, aggressive and bitchy. Pardon my language but I use these words from personal experience. Also many a time for neighbors to intervene, the victim should also feel comfortable to cooperate. She can completely deny that she is being tortured. It could be from fear, distrust & possibly discomfort . Bottomline I think, being a silent witness is no beter than the oppressor.


  4. Somehow I get a feeling after reading this post that it was probably written in haste with not much thought put into place but driven by anger and impulse.
    You wont let your children read mythology that is completely a call for you to take. However, these epics are more than just mythology. Personally, Ramayana is not my favorite but Mahabharta and Kurukshetra happened becuase Draupadi wanted it that way. So we dont need a divine intervention what we need is the grit and determination of Draupadi to avenge all humiliation done to her.
    Now the cop story. The assualter has been suspended and the female cop could not intervene becuase she did not have the courage to stop a senior officer. In a country where beaurocracy rules and where bootlicking of seniors is a cultural gift from imperialism, the junior officer could not come in the way of her boss.
    The old uncle atleast had the courage to call up some1 for help. That’s a brave attempt. In most cases of abuse victims generally go back to the husband. Therefore unless the victim is willing to accept intervention it is difficult to act. Now how do we find the victims choice is a big question. I am not sure but if the court is also told that the wife is ready to stay with the abusive husband the judge also cant dissolve the marriage. Corect me if I am wrong.
    What breakthrough is doing is great but we as an individual also need to make all our male friends, relatives sensitive about domestic violence and tell the women that domestic violence is not a packaged deal of marriage. Its sad to even think that our own mothers ask us to keep quiet and be more tolerant in these cases as its male nature to be brutal. Not Done At All.


  5. Ramayana and Mahabharata were written in such a manner to prove ki jo bhi hota hai aurat ke kaaran hota hai, bhale hi uske piche male dominant society ki an-dekhi ki jaaye.
    Sharm aati hai mujhe aise sanskriti par jahan purush aur mahila me, insaan alag alag jaatiyo me itna banta hua hai.
    But its nice to see the change in society these days, but still we have long way to go and grow.
    Nice post, keep posting :-)


  6. Huh @Rahul I am fairly sure u have no clue about what these texts say anyway, why do you bother commenting.

    As a matter of fact the women in both these epics were amazing characters of women emancipation pity bhaiyyas like you dont see it


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