A Note On Rape

In a recent popular bollywood jingle Sheila ki jawani (easily available on youtube) the heroine sings that she is proud of her body and will not let the protagonist ‘have her’. Of course, a bollywood (or for that matter, Hollywood) hunk would not like that! At the end of the song the hero somewhat forcibly throws her on his shoulder and takes her back with him. Such force and paternalism was justified (by the director) on the basis of the romantic interest that the hero had on the heroine. The scene is a representative one amongst the thousands of movies made in India every year. Stereotyping of women permeates all kinds of media. The BMWs and Mercedes Benzes will always have scantily clad women admiring the vehicles. While one should not object to the free (!) will of women models to get cozy with the cars, one wonders why scantily clad men are absent in television commercials featuring high end cars? I cannot blame my reader if by now she thinks, alright, this is another piece bashing media for social ills. However, that is not the purpose of this essay. Quite contrary to that, the purpose of this essay is to point out that there is no one factor that can account for social problems.

After the brutal gang-rape of a 23 year old Indian student on the busy streets of New Delhi by six men a significant number of Indian citizens and the majority of politicians are clamouring to mandate chemical castration and death penalty for rapists. Politicians cannot be blamed for grabbing the opportunity of riding on the rage and retribution so apparently visible in the society in close proximity of the incident. It is not altogether a different problem that India now has only politicians and no leaders, otherwise politicians found so rightly on the right side of the rape-crime this time, have had records of ignoring rape-victims because of the fear of alienating high caste voters who were alleged rapists ...

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