Vilification of women in India has probably never been more mortifying. The beast of India's quintessential patriarchal society hit back at its women in perhaps one of the ugliest manners ever. The nation's face of patriarchy, Mulayam Singh Yadav demeaned women by expressing solidarity with rapists. The Samajwadi Party supremo, infamous for his misogynic stands, justified rape of women.
At a recent poll rally, Yadav shocked the nation saying rape is a mistake that boys may make but for which the offenders should never be hanged. It was not a foot in the mouth statement from one of the top veteran Indian leaders. It was a deliberate effort to slight women by justifying one of the most heinous crimes against humanity. It reflected the attitude of Indian politicians towards our mothers, daughters and sisters.
His party colleague, Abu Azmi, went a step ahead of his leader and sought to crucify women for being raped. He regretted why in India only the rapist be punished and hanged. He strongly advocated that women victims of rape, too, should be equally indicted for the crime and be hanged.
Both these leaders are over 70 years of age, representatives of a primeval patriarchal society and are not known for their empathy for issues related to women. But the country was grieved beyond all consolation when a young film actor and a Trinamool Congress candidate, Deepak Adhikari (Dev) equated his experience of being into politics with the excitement of a rape victim. "It is like getting raped. Either shout or lie back and enjoy it," he said.
It was a very insensitive statement and all the more coming from a youth icon and popular actor adored by the youth in Bengal. Dev, a new entrant into politics, joined the bandwagon of India's patriarchy. His attempts to trivialise rape and demean women was a cynical effort to woo male voters. Predictably, women were deeply hurt and the nation was incensed.
His leader and the megalomaniac chief minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee, has earned a notorious infamy for trivialising rapes and crimes against women. Since she began her (mis)rule in the state she has been describing every single rape as Maoist and opposition conspiracy to defame her rule.
But, what numbed the nation most was the attitude shown by the man who most believe may run the country for next five years towards women, his own wife. Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) prime ministerial candidate and one who is being (wrongly) looked upon by the Indians as their redeemer, Narendra Modi, has proved that he will not be a torchbearer for women.
For too long, forty five years to be precise, Modi has kept his marriage a well-kept secret projecting himself as a celibate dedicated to the cause of serving the nation.
We now know that he has been lying all these years. What intrigues Indians are the questions: Why Modi veiled truth about his marriage? What was Modi trying to prove? How and what political mileage did Modi reap by lying about his marriage? Was Modi trying to project himself as an ascetic?
In fact, Modi showed utter disregard and extreme humiliation for women. Global leaders, of much higher status that this synthetic ascetic, have been married men and women. Yet they were great leaders who were embellished our civilisation and human lives. We in India too have had leaders like Mahatma Gandhi, Nehru and others who were married and run their families.
Modi, by deserting his wife, Jashodaben, showed how warped have been his priorities, how wrong were his methods and what big misogynist he was and still is. He may not have consummated his marriage but his desertion of his wife prove that he is a man who cannot be trusted with championing the causes of women, ensuring them the dignity and position they so richly deserve in the country's society, administration and politics.
A married man who claims himself a bachelor and keeps his marital status hidden is a fraud and an extreme misogynist who thinks women are impediments and appendages. Besides lying, Modi's suppression smacks of his contempt for women. He too is, in fact, a flag bearer of the rotten Indian patriarchy which has been dancing dirty since the beginning of the run up to the parliamentary polls.
Let us be honest and it is time for us Indians to admit that ours is a country not for women. Ours is a society which does not want to admit that our women have been equal partners, if not the major one, in our growth and prosperity. The rot of our patriarchal society has turned our democracy into what my mentor, Jug Suraiya, says 'male-ocracy' where men call the shots.
In the past two months we have been witnessing the ugliest manifestation of Indian 'male-ocracy' in myriad forms. An Al Jazeera article, estimated at least 60 million women are 'missing' from India's population. "That's more women than the total population of a small European country." Paloma Sharma says, Sex-selection, female infanticide, malnutrition and violence against women are responsible for the 'missing' women.
For long, patriarchy of Indian society has been sledge hammering women, vilifying nearly one half of our demography and mortifying our women in manners which will put even the cavemen to shame. But the disparagement of the past two months and a trifle more has made manifestation of India's 'male-ocracy' horrific and medieval.
Indian politicians, cutting across party lines, have degraded the women into consumable objects of pleasure.
Cry my mothers, daughters and sisters cry!
The author is the Opinion Editor of Times of Oman. All the views and opinions expressed in the article are solely those of the author and do not reflect those of Times of Oman.