An year to the horrendous incident of Nirbhaya- it’s time to ponder how far we have improved in rooting out the manifestations of the patriarchal society. The 16 December rape incident shocked us with the brutality and the mass protests that it evoked have remained unparalleled so far. Furthermore, it awakened the masses to question the very fabric of the social set up which has a strong bearing on all our policies. Look at the parliament, who is making laws in our country? Our male counterparts. What is inherited in those laws- the same ideology of men being the source of authority. This very much sounds like the sovereign theory where ‘Might is Right’. And if you question Might, you are the lawbreaker, the criminal and supposedly you deserve punishment.
It is quite obvious that we have come a long way. Now females have made their own place in the society. They now also run the government; doesn’t matter if in panchayats, they are just implementing what their husbands have to assert. They are also found working confidently in workplaces, carrying late night duties high headed, nevertheless who has to question the exploitation that happens in the workplace.
So, all in all I can say that women have gained a playground but in this playground, male members continue to be our referees. When we question incidents like rapes we are putting a question mark, not on sexual appetite which can be silenced by other ways and means, on the power structure that chases the liberty of a woman until she dies. This power structure has varied expressions. For a student like me, it is expressed in the will of the Father who questions me – Why do I need to go out to meet a friend? Let’s not forget it is not the trust deficit he is suffering from. Rather it is that idea of creating time and space so that we don’t have more number of Nirbhayas. Another way this power organization is demonstrated is through the will of my husband- Who might not like if my salary is more than him. Who has all the authority to tell what am I supposed to impart to my children? So debating the power structure is also about inquiring -What truly is the identity of motherhood? These are the wave of questions that need to be answered to comprehend the wave of feminism which occurred post 16 December incident.
Now, I would like to establish a relation between capitalism and patriarchy. Anyone who is aware of capitalism will define it by taking a cue from Adam Smith’s theory of invincible hand of market. However, India being stuck midway is neither a capitalist society nor a communist one. And this is why, the binary between the rich and poor remains a visible one. For a layman who is not that acquainted with the principles of economics will see capitalism as money in the hands of few and those few remain the exploiters of many. These many could be our workers. These many could be our laborers toiling hard under their bosses. These many could be even you, working in a MNC and experiencing estrangement day by day, trying to kill bugs of your software and unmooring the connection you have with real world. And among these many are the women too. Let’s not forget women are both an honor and an object in the hands of wealthy. They are still bought and sold. For instance, I saw a marriage recently where a woman was bathing naked in some fancy crystal; it was nothing but showcase of wealth. This woman became an eye candy for many other wealthy merchants who thought of buying her for their ‘vested interests’. This is commodification of women. And accumulation of wealth in a few hands creates instances of abuse. Due to the chasm between the few and the many, the need for boasting off wealth becomes more significant.
The theory of feminism puts a red mark on all the power structures. It asks one to inquire oneself- why women need to be respected? Just merely because she is the second sex, or due to the very ironical truth that she is a human before placing her in any kind of relational aspect I hope that introspection puts are souls in quandary and we know where are we leading half the population if we aren’t plundering them.