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.

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