Disclaimer: The angrier I get, the more sarcastic I become. Also, my husband-master has read and sanctioned this post.
We have a fine tradition of honouring women in India. It all started the day Lord Bramha decided to marry Saraswati against her wishes and set the precedent of not bothering to find out what a woman really wants. As time passed, the Vedas gave way to the Upanishads, the Upanishads to the Puranas, and the Puranas to the Epics. The Sanskrit originals gave way to Victorian adaptations and these adaptations are, in fact, the basis of our current understanding of our fine traditions. They teach us, as M L Sharma so wisely and succinctly summarizes, that there is no room for women in Indian Culture.
Sharmaji is hardly the voice of moderate India, though. He just represents an animal rapist and gets featured in documentaries made by foreigners out to defame our country because they’re obviously threatened by our emerging superpower status. No, to understand the value of women in India, we need to look to our seminal work of law – The Manusmriti:
Day and night woman must be kept in dependence by the males (of) their (families), and, if they attach themselves to sensual enjoyments, they must be kept under one’s control.
Among other gems from this divine code of conduct we have:
Men may be lacking virtue, be sexual perverts, immoral and devoid of any good qualities, and yet women must constantly worship and serve their husbands.
As we know, the Manusmriti is the word of God. Who are we to argue with the word of God? Have you ever noticed that no matter where God chooses to manifest himself, the God who lays down the law and the follower who faithfully records are always male. If this is not irrefutable proof that these teachings are correct then what is?
Unfortunately, many do not give due respect to the word of God. In such a case, one of our earliest compilations of human-made laws, the Arthashastra makes sure to include women in its list of property right along with cattle. Women do have some rights, to be sure, but only a woman who has borne her husband sons has the right to refuse intercourse. She may not conceal her fertile period from him and he is obliged to approach her during this time.
For those who learn through example, the Mahabharata is full of role models:
- Bhishma abducts the three sisters of Kashi to make them marry his brother. Their consent does not matter.
- Amba, who loves another, is forsaken by her love as well as by her abductor. She cannot find peace and so commits suicide.
- Vyasa rapes Vichitravirya’s wives with his mother’s (their mother-in-law’s) blessing to father Dhritarashtra and Pandu. Dhritarashtra is born blind because his mother closed her eyes out of fear. Pandu is born pale because his mother turned pale with fright.
- Vidura was born not exactly out of rape, but from a lower caste woman for Ambika sent her maid to Vyasa instead of giving herself to him again. The maid was supposedly fearless thereby showing that the woman is solely responsible for birth defects
- The Pandavas themselves are not biological sons of their father but they are considered the Pandavas because Pandu was the master of Kunti
- Draupadi is married to five men against her will because it was willed so
The examples above prove that rape is not a matter of a woman’s consent. Rape is actually the act of sex happening without the woman’s owner’s consent (father/brother/husband). To test your understanding, take this little quiz and find out where you stand. No cheating!
Imagine a man just had sex with a woman and the woman kept screaming her refusal (the b*tch!). As a self-appointed guardian of Indian Culture, what is the appropriate response if…
- The man is married to the woman
- The man is not her husband but the woman did not display her mangalsutra
- The woman was not wearing salwar-full sleeved kameez-dupatta
- The woman was working in a night shift
- The man is the woman’s boyfriend and has promised to marry her
- This man his not her boyfriend but the woman once had a boyfriend
- The woman is single, never had a boyfriend and lives alone
- The woman refused the man’s advanced despite him repeatedly stalking her and proposing marriage
- The woman is a four year old who was playing outside her house
- The woman is a prostitute and the man attempted something she did not agree to/he did not specify up front
Bonus question unrelated to the scenario: The woman is not married to the man but agreed to have sex and enjoyed it.
- Not rape. Woman needs to be taught her duties as a wife
- Not rape. Women who are married should not be brazen. Her husband has suffered a loss
- Not rape. Women who dress provocatively must know that they will be taught a lesson
- Not rape. Women should know their limits
- Not rape. That is why you should not have a boyfriend
- Not rape if it’s a dented and painted woman
- Not rape. Leave valuables unguarded and expect no thieves to come in?
- Not rape. What does she think of herself? Does she think she’s too good for him?
- Yes but it’s the mother’s fault.
- Huh? Had ho gayee…
Bonus answer: This is rape.
0-3: Victim of Evil Western Influence. You don’t understand that rapes happen only in India, never in Bharat.
4-6: Read learn more Indian Values but don’t lose heart. You’ll surely improve!
7-11: Any Uncleji will proudly give you 1 crore cash, a lambi car, flat-screen tv, ten cows, and his daughter in marriage. You’re a woman? Well done! You truly understand your roles and responsibilities.
Now that you have been duly educated about what is and isn’t rape, please stop petitioning for ridiculous things that undermine the sacrosanct institution of marriage. Leave your MP’s alone!
* The origins of this story are obviously controversial to Hindu apologists today as is the aspect of incest. Some even go as far as to argue that it’s evil propaganda against Hinduism but one version of the story certainly exists where Bramha overpowered Saraswati in order to marry her.