Daughter in law locked in cowshed, raped by spouse, neighbours and others.

Recently a comment on Sumana’s blog pointed out that Indian feminists    seem to focus too much on analyzing crimes against women. Why does it bother a misogynist that Indian feminists are analyzing crimes against women in India? What do you think does a simple analyses and observation reveal?

Here’s a horrifying example.

Woman kept in cowshed, raped by hubby, kin in MP

(Link shared by Anil Singhal)

“The in-laws locked the girl, then 16 and pregnant, with cows and buffaloes in the cowshed. For days on end, she had to go without food and water. A neighbour, identified as Guddu Maharaj and his friends, repeatedly raped her for months in the cowshed.

Husband Anand Kurmi, … shifted the victim to a relative’s house in Khurai 25 km away. Here, the relative, a middle-aged Ram Singh and his sons Narendra and Lokendra … allegedly locked the girl in the house and raped her for more than 20 days… Ram Singh sold the victim to a moneylender … in May this year. Ram Singh claimed he was the father of the girl and the deal was finalised for Rs 50,000 in cash and one acre land in Mahuna. The … sexual exploitation continued. When she fell critically ill one day, a neighbour in Mahuna village, identified as Khadak Singh, assured that he would take to a hospital for treatment. But on the way to the health centre, the woman was raped by him. She was brought back to the moneylender’s house where by sheer chance, a cousin of her spotted the woman.

And this is what her father has to say,

“We kept visiting her in-law’s residence in Parasri Tyonda,” …

“They said we could not meet her till we gave the dowry. I did not have the faintest idea that my daughter was going through hell. Then word reached us that she was in a moneylender’s house in Khurai and had been sold. This made the family to rush and rescue her from the monsters,” he added.

What made this crime possible?

1. Indian culture and family values make a daughters’ parents believe that their daughter is the property of her spouse and his family –  i.e. she is a Paraya Dhan.

2. And so her spouse and his relatives control if and when a married daughter’s parents meet their child.

3. A married paraya dhan‘s parents’ concern for her well being is not seen as a good family value.

4. It is understood that it might require courage, cash and clout for a paraya dhan’s parent to meet their married child.

So how does it empower the Indian Paraya Dhan (or her parents) to marry her into a Patriarchal Joint Family?

So, is it possible for Indian parents who respect the above Indian family values to welcome the birth of a girl child?

And this is also why nobody should be allowed to stop brides (or other equal citizens) from using cell phones.

If it wasn’t for Indian family values, her family would have rioted outside the in law’s house when they refused to let them meet their daughter with or without paying one or one lakh rupees.

What made her marriage so important that her safety and welfare did not matter?

And I am not even getting into why she was not sent to school instead of being married at the age of 16, or why she wasn’t able to escape and find safe public transport to a safe city…

Related Posts:

Indian brides told to reduce mobile phone use.

An email from an Indian father: I want to place on record my own story as a warning to anyone…

India leads in sexual violence, worst on gender equality: Study



62 thoughts on “Daughter in law locked in cowshed, raped by spouse, neighbours and others.

  1. Exactly, why should the girl’s parents even need permission to meet their own daughter and why the hell did the parents not realise that something could be amiss. Are women property to be controlled by the husband’s family? How the hell can anyone demand money in exchange allowing parents to see their own daughter.

    Even if she wanted to run away, her parents would have refused to take her in, she was not safe in public, she is not safe in her house.

    Looks like even dogs have more freedom and are treated better in this country.


  2. Parents will not take her back, they rather look the other way because people will talk
    who cares what people say, people will talk no matter what. Experience is that parents do not want to have daughter back home after marriage.

    so true dogs have more freedom in this world. I hope justice will prevail and pray this young girl recovers and get on with her life


    • They’ll be let off on bail once the police is bribed suitably.

      These are people who have no fear of the law, and who understand exactly how Indian society works.

      They are barbaric because they know there will be no consequences. It’s pure opportunisn.


  3. It is pathetic and disgusting to hear such cases and we still boast about India being a superpower and the largest democracy in the world. Maybe that’s our problem. Maybe what we need right now is Communism, Hitler giri to set some extremely strict laws into place – run the country that way for about 4-5 years and then finally hand it back to democracy. I am ashamed to even read about such incidents. I feel empowering the woman is a huge factor here. The daughter-in-law should never have seen herself at the mercy of these devils. She should have enough power (call it education, work, power, money, strength or will power) to get out of such a hell. But that again has to do with upbringing. In states where they are raised with the thinking they have to be subservient, alas, I dont see changes anytime soon.


    • What can the poor girl, with no education, no money, no support from parents, a prisoner in her marital home do? Neighbors have a duty to ring up a helpline that will save the girl from these predators. Anyone knows of any helpline number?


    • //I feel empowering the woman is a huge factor here. The daughter-in-law should never have seen herself at the mercy of these devils. She should have enough power (call it education, work, power, money, strength or will power) to get out of such a hell.//

      And that is exactly why she is denied “education, work, power, money, strength or will power” in first place. If she is empowered then she can differentiate between right and wrong – and that does not make her feel powerless.

      Look what empowerment has done to feminists – they have started analyzing the situation!


  4. Where is a safe city for women in this country IHM?

    At our NGO, we had a slightly similar case, with adiffrent ending though.

    A young girl of 13 was married off to a 45-year old, who after the wedding went back to the Gulf where he was working as an electrician. She continued living with her parents. She was a brilliant student and this irked the husband no end. He ordered her family to stop her schooling.

    She howver was damant that she wanted to stdy. So despite her own mother thwarting her (for fera of incurring the husband’s displeasure) hiding her texbooks, she continued and scored 92% in her Xth exams with a centum in Math and Science. She won the district scholarship to study further too.

    The man now totally lost it. The girls parents locked her up so that she could not apply to study further. That is when she read about our NGO (we were doing an awareness project in the town and this was reported in the local papers. She escaped from her house and went to her headmaster who called up the NGO’s office and asked for help. She was told she would be supported in every way.

    She somehow persuaded her mother and moved to the orphanage that is run by the NGO. And started studying hard preparing for engineering entrances – that is her dream.

    The husband heard of this. You can imagine his wrath. he came to India and waited for a day when she was visiting her mother. he beat the mother up and dragged the girl to his house.
    When we found her in the morning – after a intervention from the local MLA and cops, all she had on her body was marks of brutal assault. All she said ‘I will become an engineer and show him’.

    She has now been given 24/7 security. She lives in a residential college and is preparing hard for her exams. The ‘husband’ has been kindly informed that the marriage is not even legal and he had better stay away.

    Long story, but I have met this girl and cannot tell yu enough about her grit.

    But her story could have easily had a different ending. She was lucky.

    I hate saying this about my country, but really in India you have to be lucky to survive, forget live with dignity, if you are born a girl. Only a mass change of attitude and strong enforcement of laws can alter the situation.


      • Hats off to you and your NGO, n…. Am so happy to know that you helped this child out.

        Now, coming to the laws of this country…. Why has the husband not been apprehended by the police? One, for marrying a minor, and two, for brutal assault on the girl and her mother. I’m surprised the law let him get away with a ‘kind’ warning, which is not enough. What’s to stop him from marrying another minor?


        • Yes Ash, agree. Most times the cops will keep away saying it is a ‘family matter’. Only if someone with clout intervenes (like the MLA) will any action be taken.

          My blood boils every time I think of the husband. Don’t have strong enough words for him. But there are many many like him. IHM’s post today highlights just one of them..


      • This is the plight of most girls in the semi-urban/rural areas. Being married early, abused etc is seen as a completely normal way of life by both men and women.

        Fighting and changing that mindset is the biggest challenge anyone working in this area will face. Glad Aamir Khan has taken it up, but surely more can be done.


        • I also wonder why the adults were not arrested for propogating child marriage. Also, why the 45 year old was not arrested for crimes against a child – esp if he has tried to have sex with her because he is the husband – he should be booked for rape/attempted rape plain and simple. the girl is not at an age to give consent.

          Hats off to your NGO for being there and working relentlessly – if only the police can match up to your sincereity even half way – things could change even more rapidly. and really – god bless the girl! I am sure she will reach great heights.


    • It is common to find parents bowing down to in- law’s demands even before marriage. I know of a girl who was a good student and won a scholarship to pursue further education in computer science. But when the going-to-be in-laws disapproved of it, the parents gave in saying ” the in-laws don’t want her to study further because they have no intention of making her work”. They have decided everything for the girl….that she will not study and she will not work. A woman might want to study just for the love of the subject. The choice should be entirely her’s. India does not deserve to have a single woman.




      Paul G (USA)


  5. It sent shivers down my spine reading the girl’s plight. Spending time analyzing women’s issues and making ourselves aware and ‘learned’ in these issues is the LEAST we can do! I personally have re-learned so many things reading such analysis. The more I read about such cases and come across such comments by misogynists, the more I feel the need to analyse almost every sentence the men and women (including myself) speak. Sometimes I feel a bit tired and crazy when between conversations with people I know, I suddenly drift in my own thoughts and think and analyse what the person just said. But intense analyzing has done more good than harm to my thought process and to me as a person. People who are bothered by such discussions and dissecting of issues- well high chances that they are guilty of treating women as lesser individuals.


    • And as far as this particular case is concerned I cannot even begin on how many levels this is wrong! I just hope the people who put the girl through this repent and feel the pain they inflicted on the girl. And I hope the girl gets out of her trauma and lives a free and happy life.


  6. IHM, at times it’s emotionally draining to read your blog. 😦 Everyday we read about some atrocity/crime being commited against women. When will it end? I don’t think we will see any change in our life time. It will take generations for the Indian Mentality to change.

    At times, I get tired of fighting. What’s the point? For all our fighting, we are only branded as “crazy, man-hating lesbians”. The more we fight for equality, the harder men try to “put us in our place”. Why is wanting equality so wrong?

    Sorry, just feeling low today…


    • Sarkywoman, change is happening – even the fact that this is being reported is a sign that it is not being brushed aside or being seen as a family-issue or honor-issue. The fact that we are able to analyse and criticise and condemn what led to this is a positive sign, even the fact that we are all able to blog and read about it on our blogs and see it with clarity is a positive sign. The fact that we are not seeing it as ‘a woman’s destiny in a man’s world’ but with a sense of strong outrage and anger and disgust is a very positive sign.

      Becoming aware of a wrong and then acknowledging it as wrong are the first two steps. Feeling anger and outrage (and not indifference) is the next step. Being willing to give it time, energy and emotions is a powerful step too. That we are not willing to ignore the news and turn to the next page in the newspaper is a positive sign. When such news is reported and gets reactions the media is encouraged to report it and the fear of media reporting keeps police and government on their toes – it doesn’t seem much, but every little bit counts. Another abusive family reading about it anywhere in the media knows that they would not find as much support from the silence (not) of not-crazy, misogynists-loving, people-pleasing, conformists. And if a woman is going through any kind of abuse she knows that no matter what she is told/or hears, what’s happening is not okay, or the norm, and it doesn’t have to accepted.


      • If that is the case, then why are so many women still committing suicide instead of coming forward, and moving away from the abusers? Why am I still surrounded by women who live in joint families, do all the house work at home, have to literally beg to be able to go home to their parents house (these are educated women, working in IT!) and think it’s NATURAL?

        Why do men in IT companies, like my colleagues, think only shameless women would call their husband by name? Yes, one of my colleagues actually used that term – SHAMELESS. They take great pride in dominating their wife, NOT doing any housework at all and BRAG about it.

        Why do educated people like my great-aunt CRY when they have a grand daughter instead of a grandson? (She is an MA and both her daughters – yes she also had 2 daughters – are engineers and take pretty good care of their parents!) Oh, and the most important point – she is the one who took care of her mother in her old age – though she has TWO BROTHERS. The brothers refused to take care of the mother. She is a LIVE example that girls can do the job of boys equally well and she still cries at the birth of a girl?

        We live in such a messed up World! At times, I could cry out of frustration!


        • I’ve noticed this alot on this site about being shocked at sexism because the person is “educated”. First it is elitist and classist. Secondly, India’s education system does not teach about justice, fairness, equality and human rights. Students are not to be critical thinkers and question wrong doing. So why do you expect that an educated perspn would not hold sexist beliefs.


        • aah!! ‘shameless; women call their husband by name? And educated people think like this. BTW, I know of a friend who used to address her husband by name but stopped soon after a relative pointed out that she has to respect her husband and not address him by name. And she is an engineer!The same lady told me, when she was expecting, that if she gave birth to a girl, she will have to try for a boy again. I asked her “do you know it is the husband who decides the gender?” She said “aah, is it? Still it is my responsibility to give birth to a boy.” aaaaaaaaaaaaaah!!!!! I had to control my anger.
          I began addressing my husband by name in front of his parents and relatives and no one said anything. Not that I would have stopped if they said anything. One elderly relative on my husband’s side asked if would be retainined my maiden name and surname and I very firmly said “yes”. No questions asked after that.
          And you will be surprised to know how much women allow themselves to be dominated. I was in a shop with a friend who was looking for a hand bag. She called her husband to ask “One bag i selected is brown and is round in shape. Do you think it is ok?”. Then she turned to me and said “My husband wants me to look for a black one that is square in shape”. I almost fainted. An ex-colleague actually called her husband during lunch break to apologize for putting too much salt in ‘rasam’. She further added “My husband does not llike to eat left overs. I pack left overs for my lunch. I cook for him every morning”. Uffffffff!!! how can you change such people! Husbands of such women will surely take pride in dominating them.


        • Hi IHM,
          Sorry for so much negativity in these previous 2 comments. I don’t always feel that way.

          But, I am surrounded by sexist mysoginists. It gets to me at times. 🙂


    • Sarkywoman, I look at these things through the prism of karmaic debt.

      I firmly believe, although I have no empirical evidence to prove it, that people who harm and torture others reap what they sow.

      Life has a way of teaching lessons to each of us that no court of law can. These barbarians will not die peacefully, nor will their lives ever be filled with happiness and compassion.

      That is punishment enough, isn’t it?


        • @ Anonymous,

          I guess we are shocked at educated people being sexist – because they have access to books, tv, newspapers and blogs like this one where we are educated on this matter, even if school education doesn’t teach us this. But, maybe you are right. Apparently reading about women’s equality is not enough for some people.

          It doesn’t hold for my great-aunt though. Her case is different because she took over the “traditional” boys role and took care of her mother. She ensured that her daughters were educated and both are working women. After all that, if she cries for a boy baby, I can’t understand it.


  7. This is really appalling, the way society expects a girl’s parents to leave her to her fate once she is married, and allow her to suffer at the hands of cruel or insensitive husbands and in-laws.

    IHM, it makes me sick. I wrote a similar post after reading an article about a young wife who had acid poured down her throat by her dowry-seeking husband. It’s critical for a girl’s parents to first empower her, and then support her if such problems arise. Some parents don’t realize this & act at the right time to save their daughters, but then regret later and run from pillar to post to get justice for her once the husband/in-laws have done the damage. Do read my post here for the story of that young woman who was battling for her life… http://e-pinion.blogspot.in/2012/07/regret-wont-bring-her-back.html

    I’m feeling so angry after reading your story about this young girl. Whats worse is, society largely lets these perpetrators get away with such crimes.


  8. IHM,
    Instead of naming it as Indian culture, I will name it as feudal patrirachal culture. (I know u named it as Indian culture to prove the point to those who has a misconception that Indian culture places women in a higher pedestal.) Many places elsewhere in the world has/had similar cultural views. Such primitive views results in such horrific crimes.


  9. IHM – all these crimes are right up there with war crimes when it comes to severity and breach of human rights. I had to grit my teeth to read about the girl\’s experience. You\’d think that there would be a swift and ruthless round-up of all the perpetrators, and they would be given severe sentences. But no. There is a scary, languid apathy in India. No crime shakes the conscience of the people, no crime shakes the police and springs them into action (unless other factors such as power of people involved come into play). ANd yes, when you do choose to speak about such crimes, you are accused of spreading negativity about India.

    THere was another news snippet that spoke about a girl being punished by her teacher – she was made to drink her own urine. When this happened in Gitmo – the soldiers were put on trial. But will the teacher go on trial? THis is the worst form of indignity – I can\’t even call this behaviour human or animal – it is demonic if you ask me.

    A friend of mine has undergone such severe abuse; there are multiple crime sheets in the name of her husband, her 12 year old son was a victim of domestic violence – and it took more than 10 years for her to walk out and get custody of her son. why? because vimochana \’tried to counsel\’ the couple…and \’family first\’ rule was applied. Yes, she could have walked out earlier – but with the child it was too complicated. Besides she knew what this man was capable of; his violence was frightening – she was so afraid that he might kill her son, he had already attacked her elderly parents. When the law enforcing agencies – your last resort so to speak – say you must once again \’try to work out things as a family\’ where do you go? When i talk of violence in this case – it is the mad, schizophrenic one. The kind where this guy sleeps on the road or picks up fights with complete strangers, just for the heck of it. in any civilised country, there is only one place for him – high security prison for the criminally insane. In india, despite so many instances that shows he is violent, he gets visitation rights because he is a \’father\’. I have seen the letter written by the child addressing the child welfare people. I had to hold my food down. A 12 year old\’s scrawl – yet the pain of a prisoner of war.

    One loses the right to be a parent if one is dangerous for the child – simple isn\’t it? I mean this man has thrashed the child with belts and what have you, starved him, threatened to kill him – and yet, he gets visitation rights; the court chooses to place the child in danger once again…all because \’family\’ is important.

    The idiot who commented about focusing on negativity – well he has got it wrong. We are far beyond negativity and depravity. The cruelty in Indian society masked under all those layers is something evil beyond evil.


  10. Bring me exactly to the question .. WHAT IS THE INDIA SHINING..

    is this india shining we spend hours and hours and hoursssssssssssssssssssss on useless stupid things which make no headway and yet there is this one girl who had to go through all this , yet we say we are india shining..

    SHAME on anyone who says that ..

    I cant even think what i will do if something like this happens to my kid or someone in my family , I will kill the people NO second thoughts ..

    I think time has come to make a NOISE .. as I keep saying..


    • Bikram, This “India Shining” was a slogan propagated by a single political party to win votes! After they lost the elections, that voice is silenced now.


  11. totally disgusting but like IHM says there is a slow but steady change happening all-over. the very fact that there is a huge uproar about the issue in all forms of media is like a silver lining behind the clouds – the message is out that we will no longer tolerate such inhuman behaviour. The road ahead is patchy and a long one at that, but there is hope.


  12. This is so horrible. and even though change is happening it is going to take a lot more ot change mindsets.
    I was talking to an uncle-in-law about this and he said such thngs don’t happne in our family /community.so i had to ask him if he identified as an indian and if he did this was happenng in HIS country to HIS countrywomen perpetuated by HIS countrymen. inspite of this he stubbornly insisted it was not the norm and the greatness of his family and their equality.
    then i had to ask him why his very educated DIl doesn’t work and he said ‘ because she is like our own child- we don’t want her to go out and suffer with extra workload and we prefer she relaxes at home ‘ !!!! i went on a rant. did he ask her if she wanted to work? oh we informed her parents before marriage — so basically this very modern family decides and dictates the life the DIL should lead. once i tied him up with his own words and asked him how he would feel if his son’s in-laws decided theyr SIL should lead a life of leisure and relax at home, he got angry..
    not at the injustice but at me trying to stir up problems in his family!!!!

    I was so disgusted , he likes me and my kids and is very polite to me and very sweet , yet i cannot stomach him and his attitude. my husband tells me i need to be calmer , change will come and this man will open his eyes slowly and that i must keep contact and keep talking to change his mind, but sometimes i wonder is it worth it. why not just wait for him to die and be done with that???? isn’t that what his DIL wishes in her mind daily ( oh yeah she hinted) that her in-laws would leave this earth before she turns 40 ,that way she won’t have to rebel yet can raise her kidsand live her life her way.. how sad for her .


  13. I wouldn’t say this happens only in India. I don’t want to sensationalize other incidents I recently came across but just last month, a 15 yr old girl named Sahar Gul rescued in Afghanistan from her in-laws basement early this year where she was locked, beaten, kept without food or water, her hair pulled out of the skin, her nails pulled out, her fingers broken, her body marked with hot iron because she refused prostitution…was reported to be doing well now. The inlaws have been given a mere 10 yrs sentence. Of course that is one country where the most unthinkable barbaric acts are carried out most cold bloodedly, even the justice meted out matches the coldness of these acts. But if you looked at the domestic violence and child abuse rates in the US you’d not be surprised, you’d be shocked. Take a look around the world, women and children are the most abused lot. It is frustrating and I feel overwhelmed with despair reading about this over and over again. There is no way any of us (except for those in NGO’s) can reach out to these victims of abuse by just talking about these crimes on blogs. Or maybe I am just being pessimistic…I don’t know. This is just terribly terribly sad.


    • It is terribly sad.
      1. “There is no way any of us (except for those in NGO’s) can reach out to these victims of abuse by just talking about these crimes on blogs) – seems like an easy way out – neither talk or blog about it, nor reach out. You don’t have to be part of an NGO to bring a change. It is blogs and discussions like these that makes you want to lash out at the next man demanding dowry or report an abuse if you see it. It will not save this girl’s life, but it will save some one else’s. There was once a program in TV on old age homes – changed me forever – in all probability this post could have changed a conservative father or a timid daughter too.

      2. This particular case is of dowry abuse – a uniquely Indian feature. 🙂 I am sure women and children are abused everywhere, but we do have some added doses of culture to spice it up.


      • @archana – No doubt it is better to do something than nothing, that’s what I love about IHM’s blog. Just feel its not enough to be forgetting all about it after posting a reply and going about one’s regular life witnessing numerous other petty crimes that actually help originate the bigger problems.


    • Hi Joyee! I think you’re spot on, though I will say that we should never justify one country’s situation by pointing and saying “oh, it’s bad there too.” I’m just afraid it will make people complacent… But your words reminded me of this shocking PSA I saw recently in the UK on domestic violence: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-XHPHRlWZk


  14. I do not see these crimes as women’s issue because women themselves are accomplices to such crimes. Mother-in-laws, fearful mothers, other women who help these criminals…and therefore encourage the crime without once offering any help to the victim…its a choice they are making. What can be the reason for such a choice? Can we blame everything on patriarchy? Women running brothels out of their posh residential units in South Delhi and forcing young girls, even their own daughters into the profession…do it for ???
    How about women who regularly torture their maids and helpers who are young and vulnerable, starving them, forcing them to eat stale food, punishing them for small mistakes or failed tasks, belittling them, taking advantage of their helplessness? Please look around. I bet you’ll find such examples everywhere.
    These again are classy crimes. Hidden behind polished, clean, shiny, perfumed exteriors. We know these people. And yet we can’t or don’t do anything about them. How many of you find women insulting their maids on a daily basis, punishing them by cutting their salary, not giving them enough food to eat, refusing to give them a decent pair of clothing (when their own wardrobes are flooded with unwanted, unworn, out of fashion clothes, shoes, sweaters, hats, socks, undergarments…name it!!!!)? How many of us treat every woman we meet with the same respect that we like to be treated with? How many of us know women who keep separate utensils for their maids? How many times have you heard things like ‘these people deserve this kind of treatment’ from a mother, an aunt, a neighbor?
    Again, these are ‘chalta hai’ types of crimes. These petty things are what we live by. It doesn’t scratch our conscience. We are so used to bloody and horrendous kinds of crimes. Unless we see someone raped, or murdered or harrassed we don’t really get worked up. Whereas every bit of inhumane, unfair treatment meted towards anyone who appears vulnerable, weak and helpless because he/she didn’t get the same opportunities as we did…should bother us. Unless we do something about things we can do a lot about…unless we bring about small changes in attitude, how do we suppose we can tackle bigger problems?
    How I see it is we are so close to these smaller issues (which are actually why the bigger problems exist), that we don’t realize our involvement in it or our responsibility to correct it at that level. Shouldn’t every bit of inequality be dealt with, shouldn’t everyone get just and fair treatment whether poor or rich, classy or classless, young or old…man or a woman?


    • 1. Dowry is a woman’s issue. Demanding and giving dowry, abusing a girl for her father not giving a dowry – that’s patriarchy.
      2. “We know these people. And yet we can’t or don’t do anything about them” – Again, I don’t agree. We can if we want to and if we feel strongly about it. I call all my maids with a “ji” in the end – all of them have been elder to me. And No, this is not a small problem, but it is completely irrelevant to the problem being discussed – this could either be casteism or economic inequality.

      “How I see it is we are so close to these smaller issues (which are actually why the bigger problems exist), that we don’t realize our involvement in it or our responsibility to correct it at that level. ”
      I assume this comment is more of an introspection than anything else.

      However, if you are trying to say that women’s issues are not the ONLY issues in our country, or that it is not only our country that is having issues – you are right of course. 🙂


    • I agree with you. It’s easy to blame Patriarchal society for this. Brutality towards women is prevalent all over the world and it has a lot to do with poverty, ignorance, and general lawlessness. One of the biggest problems in India is the ineffectiveness of the legal system, police corruption and the caste system. There is almost no protection for the weakest members of society. I remember reading in “India Today” a long time ago about a case of a father and son traveling to a different village and for some reason the villagers got it onto their heads that the duo was up to no good, were witches (or the male version of witches) and so proceeded to brutally beat them up and pour acid in their eyes. The story was so horrific that it has stayed with me since. This type of brutality has nothing to do with patriarchy. I have seen women in middle class households treat small male child servants with contempt, or women fight with lower class sabziwalis and deprive them of their rightful dues. Even the tone of voice changes when so called upper class interacts with the lower castes. We have a society where it’s almost a sin to behave towards others with kindness and treat others with dignity. Until people are taught to behave in a simple decent way and get over their hangups and egos, nothing will change.


      • Well as far as I know or have heard from women, its the mother in laws who come forward to burn the brides for dowry. Its women who are committing crimes against women.
        Its one thing to claim dowry or believe in its practice which can be called women’s issue and be tied to patriarchy. But its completely a different thing to pour kerosene over an innocent girl you have brought home, taken responsibility of, who has cooked for you, served you day and night. It takes an insanely criminal mind, an extremely hateful soul to burn a girl alive and watch her die. I don’t see how the crime can be tied to patriarchy. Its the woman’s choice. She has options. Everyone has options. Even when we live in the most oppressed conditions we always have the option to act right. Why is it that when men commit crimes, its them who are wrong and are the culprits and should be lynched or hanged or punished severely. And when it comes to women…everything is blamed on patriarchy? I don’t understand that.

        Do all women treat each other equally, fairly? As PK said in his comment, even their tone changes when they speak with someone from the lower class.

        In my eyes equality, fairness and just treatment are meant for everyone – women, children, oppressed and abused men, gay people, eunuchs, the old and feeble, the poor, uneducated, unprivileged class alike. I do not understand how anyone (read women of our country) witnessing a crime can not have the judgement of what is right and what is wrong when its the matter of someone’s life and death (another woman’s) and not be blamed for choosing to be an accomplice to the crime instead of opposing it.


  15. There is this other end of the spectrum …. I paid part tuition for my husband’s niece to study in BIT Mesra so that she can get the best in life when her family couldnt afford it. The girl got a well paying job with one of the software giants and then got married. After marriage she quit her job and the reason given – the youngsters have to enjoy life and this work did not allow her to come home early to welcome her husband when he returns home with a cup of tea… my hard earned money gone down the drain. This is the empowerment some of the so called educated girls want … The engineering seat could have gone to a well deserving child and the job could have made a difference to someone who was passionate about it..


  16. @ CS,

    That is sad indeed. Brings that old saying to mind. You can lead a horse to the water but can’t make it drink.

    I have seen many women who DON’T want to work. They take advantage of the fact that women are not expected to work and sit at home. In fact, they proudly proclaim that their husband earns enough and so they don’t have to work. As if the rest of the women only work because their husband doesn’t bring home enough money!

    This is one thing I have heard many men comment on regarding the pressure that people face. “Women can sit at home if they want, we don’t have a choice!”. Although feminist me used to bristle at that, when I see people like this, I think they may be right.

    No one will criticise this girl for not working and sitting at home, the way a man would be. In fact, she will probably be praised for being such a good wife. This is one thing which I believe is unfair to men. They should alse be able to sit at home and be house husbands, if they don’t wish to work.

    Although, I have also seen some people snicker and give pitying looks to those women who say they are housewives. Now, that is another extreme… 🙂


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