Ever since the nameless ‘braveheart’ paramedical student was mercilessly gang-raped by six men in December, a constant sense of fear has been lingering in the minds of women across the country. Not that stories of rapes prior to this gory incident hadn’t come to the fore, but the way the 23-year-old was brutally gang-raped, every single day since then has become a challenge of sorts in terms of safety for women in the country.
And with powerful people seated in the cosy comforts of their VVIP cushioned chairs amid tight security passing bizarre remarks about what kind of women can protest and what kind of sexual assaults should be termed as rape, here comes yet another preposterous statement.
Kailash Vijayvargiya, a BJP leader and Cabinet Minister in the MP government said, “Ek hi shabd hai - Maryada. Maryada ka ulanghan hota hai, toh Sita-haran ho jata hai. Laxman-rekha har vyakti ki khichi gayi hai. Us Laxman-rekha ko koi bhi par karega, toh Ravan samne baitha hai, woh Sita-haran karke le jayega. (One word- conduct. If a woman goes beyond her limits, then she will be treated like Sita. Every person has to abide by the Lakshman-Rekha. Whoever decides to disobey the boundary, they will fall prey to Ravan. He will abduct her and flee.”
My question to Vijayvargiya is that why can’t the same Lakshman-Rekha apply to men who think it’s their birth right to impose limits on wome
n. And who gives men the authority to “punish” women?
As if we hadn’t had enough of rubbish from the likes of Abhijit Mukherjee and Kakoli Ghosh, a statement like this only exposes the mindset of Indian men, who think women are inanimate objects.
None from the system is coming up with an effective solution to curb crime against women. On the contrary, women are being asked “not to wear skirts”, “conduct themselves properly”, “to not travel post 8 pm” and “to not cross the Lakshman-Rekha”. And we say India is a democratic nation! It seems, democracy applies to men alone; who says women here are humans too!
Coming back to Vijayvargiya’s remarks on Sita - why couldn’t he ask the men in the country to behave like Lord Rama, who is popularly known as Maryada Purushottam - the one who adhered to his principles. Can’t men in the country take a leaf out of Lord Rama’s book and conduct themselves in a respectable manner. Why is Sita being dragged to represent womanhood?
Isn’t that being too unjust Mr Vijayvargiya? Hypocrisy is omnipresent and he seems to have absorbed it thoroughly. So much so that he has put his sane senses to rest.
The society is full of people like the Abhijit Mukherjees, the Kakoli Ghoshs and the Kailash Vijayvargiyas who behave nothing less than the way Khaps do- perhaps sophisticated versions of the orthodox system infamous for ridiculing women.
Does that mean that right from the judiciary to the socio-political system, a woman will be held accountable for the wrongs that happen to her?
Does that mean the nation cares the least for women who succumb to atrocities committed on them? Will ‘Nirbhaya’ - the anonymous girl’s sacrifice go in vain?
Brutally raping women has become common in society. The horrific incident of an 11-year-old girl gang-raped by six men in Rajasthan in August has come to the fore now. Four of the accused are now out on bail. And this substantiates the fact that the government doesn’t value a woman’s life. The little girl has already undergone 11 major reconstructive surgeries post the ghastly incident and her family is striving hard to sustain amidst constant threats to keep silent on the issue.
Just pick up the newspaper, and you will see endless cases.
Looks like India has indeed turned deaf, blind and dumb, for it only talks of having Laksham Rekhas for women!
Really, enough is enough!
(The views expressed by the author are personal)