Mainstream Weekly

Home > 2024 > Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, March 9, 2024

Mainstream, VOL 62 No 10, March 9, 2024

Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, March 9, 2024

Saturday 9 March 2024


Letter to the Readers, Mainstream, March 9, 2024

India keeps the high distinction of being a deeply misogynist society with no signs of any decline in everyday sexual violence. On top of it over the past decade, we have been ruled by the BJP a socially reactionary political party exuding patriarchy from every pore. In the week gone by frontpage news splash was on the gang-rape of a Spanish woman, a cross-country motorbike rider who was on an overnight halt in Dumka in Jharkhand state from neighbouring Bangladesh. Thankfully the rape victim came out alive and got some immediate medical attention as the local authorities seemed to act swiftly — offering instant financial compensation etc since this was going to tar ’national prestige’. The otherwise silent Rekha Sharma, chair of the near-defunct National Commission of Women woke up to protect India’s reputation. The administration and the politicians treat everyday instances of crimes against women in a thick-skinned manner, there is inaction and silence all around in most instances, especially if the perpetrators are well-connected. Citizens particularly the economically poor hesitate to file police complaints. A recent example reveals a lot. In early 2023 socially influential, Olympic medal-winning women wrestlers from Haryana came out and accused Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh, the Chief of Wrestling Federation of India and a six-time BJP MP, of sexual harassment, the BJP Government and its machine did all to protect their man and thwart the campaign by women wrestlers [1]. Data on 2022 from the National Crime Records Bureau shows that 31,516 cases of rape were reported in India. But the real figures would be much higher if people broke silence. There is no way of estimating the number of unreported cases. The Modi Government in its propaganda projects itself as being women-friendly but it keeps mum on instances of crimes against women in BJP-ruled states and speaks out selectively when it’s about taking down the opposition. The media and civil society have been reporting on a wide number of countless rapes & sexual crimes in the current civil war in BJP-ruled Manipur, but the central government has maintained a shameful silence as if were a foreign country. Secular opposition parties must act, they have their governments in a few states in India, and they must give serious thought as to how to stem the tide of crimes against women. They must brainstorm and come up with social measures, at school and in society. Only penal measures, and wielding the stick won’t lead to cracking the code against patriarchy that runs in our veins. India’s political parties must act to promote women’s employment in the labour force and to improve the skewed sex ratio in society. They must also demonstrate the will to give greater representation to women in their parties, and mass organisations, as their candidates in elections and as representatives every day. Time is up and we must move.

March 9, 2024 —HK

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