There is no doubt that the Nyrbhaya rape was horrendous. No doubt either, that specially in the North, men have often a huge sexual frustration.
But it’s strange, I am lived for nearly forty years in India and I have traveled the length and breadth of this country, like very few western correspondents have. I am even in close touch with villages of Tamil Nadu, populated only with OBC’s and Untouchables. And my experience has been totally – but TOTALLY – different. Yes, there are abuses on women in India, there may be some villages in UP or in some remote tribal belts, where female feticide is practiced (nobody dares say openly that it is mostly by Muslims who want boys); yes, women in India work so hard, toiling in the fields, looking after their children, cooking, cleaning, getting up before dawn and sleeping late; yes, men in India tend to drink a lot and sometimes abuse their wives. BUT I HAVE NEVER SEEN ANY OTHER COUNTRY WHERE WOMEN PLAY SUCH AN IMPORTANT ROLE, WHERE THEY SO WORSHIPPED, REVERED, PRIZED UPON.
The Western media is always keen to do stories on female infanticides, child marriages, or sati cases in Rajasthan. But who knows that no nation in the world has granted such an important place to women in its spirituality and social ethos? “Without Him I exist not, without Her I am unmanifest”, says Sri Aurobindo. Thus in India – and it is true that it is often a paradox, as, because of Muslim invasions, women and even girls who were raped by the millions, had to be hidden – and hence frustration of men grew – were for a time relegated to the background . Yet, the feminine concept as a symbol of dynamic realization, never died: “She is the eternal Mother, who is all Wisdom, all Compassion, all Force, Beauty and Perfection”. It is in this way that since the dawn of times, Hindus have venerated the feminine element under its different manifestations: Makalaxmi, Mahakali, Mahasaraswati, Maheshwari – and even India is feminine: ‘Mother India’. “She is the consciousness transcending all things, she is the emptiness beyond all emptiness, the smile beyond all smiles, the divine beauty beyond all earthly beauties”.
India has had many great female figures, whether warriors such as the Rani of Jhansi, or saints like Amrita Anandamayi (who by the way comes from the lowest caste possible and is worshipped by millions of upper castes Indians – so much for the caste divide, another favorite whipping horse of India’s enemies). Today, behind all appearances – arranged marriages, submission to men, preference of male children in some rural areas (but girls are loved in India like nowhere in the world) , rapes- the role of women in India is essential and it can be safely said that very often, from the poorest to the richest classes, they control –even if behind the scenes – a lot of the family affairs: the education of their children (men in India are often “mama’s boys”), monetary concerns, and men often refer to them for important decisions.
Westerners love to preach India on Human Rights. But countries such as France or the United States, never had a woman as their top leader, whereas India had Indira Gandhi ruling with an iron hand for nearly twenty years; and Sonia Gandhi, a Christian, a Westerner, and just an ordinary MP, reigned for ten years on India like an Empress ! The reverse would be absolutely impossible in the West, where there are proportionately less MP’s than India, which is considering earmarking 33% of seats in Parliament for women, a revolution in human history! This shakti concept is so rooted in the subcontinent, that you have had women Prime Ministers, such as Benazir Bhutto or Kaleda Zia, and now Sheikh Hasina, in Islamic countries (Pakistan and Bangladesh) which are predominantly male-controlled in a much stricter way than India.
India is a vast, complex, often contradictory country, peopled with different races, religions, ethnies… It is normal that there are problems. Rape is a crime and should be punished by death. But women have played and are still playing such an important role in this country, the Shakti concept is such a unique, vibrant, respectful and holy concept, that all Indians, including Indian Christians and Indian Muslims, whose women have somehow benefited from that concept, which seeped into their religion unobtrusively, should be proud of it. Long Live the Indian Woman and her astonishing Grace.
Finally what should be said about the film India’s Daughters, is that it was made by someone who has Pakistani blood – and hence animosity towards India. Secondly, that the BBC should not preach to anybody: some of its stars, such as Jimmy Saville (now dead) were confirmed pedophiles on prepubescent boys and girls. BBC still has a colonial hangover too and thinks it can lecture India. Finally, if you look at rape statistics, there are proportionately, many more rapes in the USA, Denmark and many other western countries than India.
LONG LIVE MOTHER INDIA