Mainstream Weekly

Home > 2023 > Misogynists Rule the place / Prison Conditions / Refugees Day | Humra (...)

Mainstream, VOL 61 No 24, June 10, 2023

Misogynists Rule the place / Prison Conditions / Refugees Day | Humra Quraishi

Friday 9 June 2023, by Humra Quraishi


7 June 2023

Now it seems somewhat more than clear why women hesitate to lodge formal complaints against their tormentors, even if they are subjected to sexual exploitation and harassment of the worst kind. The situation gets rather too obviously compounded if the culprit is from the so-called who’s who category or part of the ruling lot.

Well, quite obviously I’m writing this in the backdrop of the ongoing situation of wrestlers accusing the chief of the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI), Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, of sexually exploiting some women wrestlers. Mind you, this has been on for the last many weeks if not months. Instead of justice meted out to the victims, the case is getting frightfully compounded with politics seeping in.

And as I’d earlier written in one of my columns, what if these wrestlers were not of international repute and just ordinary non-descript citizens of the country, then you can well imagine their fate. Either, all their accusations would have been trampled upon or bypassed or they would have been threatened and bullied into keeping shut.

What’s been going on in these so-called developed times? Where are all the women ministers and parliamentarians? Where are all their lofty speeches about doing this or that for women’s safety? Where are all their slogans for women’s empowerment?

Nothing could have been more of an eye-opener than this blatant case of these top-notch wrestlers asking for justice yet nothing seems moving! If this level of apathy cum insensitivity cum ruthlessness can be faced by Olympians then we, the commoners, do realize what could be confronted by us in such a situation.

Mind you, the relays are scary and dangerous, and highly disturbing! The offshoots many, yet scant focus on the larger picture looming large.


Last month, on 25 May, AAP leader and former Delhi minister Satyendar Jain collapsed in the bathroom in Tihar Jail, “due to dizziness’. Not to overlook the fact that this was the second time Jain fell in the Tihar jail bathroom during his imprisonment. Jain has been lodged in prison since his arrest last summer by the Enforcement Directorate in connection with a money laundering case.

Several basic queries do come up – What are the prevailing jail conditions not just in one particular jail but jails across the country? What if Jain wasn’t a senior AAP leader and a former minister, then would the news of his collapsing in the confines of the jail come to the fore? What are the prevailing conditions for the prisoners’ well-being and upkeep? How do we get to know the physical and mental health of those lodged behind those high walls? Why should prisoners be deprived of the facilities; not to overlook the significant fact that a large percentage of those imprisoned are under-trials so technically innocent but even if they are convicted they should be given humane treatment. After all, they were not born criminals but circumstances and conditions drove them towards crime with disastrous offshoots. Another factor is that petty criminals could be mere foot soldiers, seemingly under the control of the political mafia, with the master players roaming about freely, untouched and un-arrested.

The wellness cum development of land can be judged on the basis of how its government treats the women and children and the young, and also how it treats its prisoners. We seem lagging… what with rapists, molesters, killers and hate speech givers, roaming around rather too freely.

We aren’t reacting, not speaking out, even as the living conditions of the jailed and even of the not-so-jailed are fast deteriorating.


Nah, we don’t even bother to focus on the plight and the very helplessness of the refuge-seekers, even though their numbers are on the rise and so are their struggles to survive.

Tough challenging times for the refugees as governments are hardening their stand and NGOs are left with fast-shrinking resources and outreach. Perhaps, the young and old students and volunteers should be repeatedly told facts and factors to the refugees, so that sensitivity plays a role in reaching out to the hundreds of displaced families, forced to move from their homelands to the unknown terrain.


Ending this week’s column with this verse of SAHANA AHMED, titled ‘Dear Sister’ from the Amity Peace Poems ( Hawakal Publishers):

‘Dear Sister/
the ways of my sun,/
the germs in my veins,/
the brass in my claims,/
my purdah, my mane – /
I am you too. /

The wounds of my walls,/
the tombs of my lanes,/
the thrones of my queens,/
my mehfils, my reins – /
are your home too./

Thursdays of fire,/
Fridays of steel,/
yearnings of yakshas/
and foreskins of djinns/
are your shame too./
When we meet next,/
Look in the eye/
Ask me – /
Who bore you?/
And I will unstitch my heart/
and show you new ways /
to etch your mother’s name.’

ISSN (Mainstream Online) : 2582-7316 | Privacy Policy|
Notice: Mainstream Weekly appears online only.