What did Sharad Yadav mean by, ‘Who amongst us has not followed girls?’

First in the cinema halls, and later in Chitrahaar on the national television, generations of Indians have grown up watching Shammi Kapoor harassing Rajshri T and asking her to say Yes. While some of us were puzzled and irritated by the way romance was shown in Indian movies, many young Indians including some who won elections genuinely seem to believe that the way to a woman’s heart is through sexual harassment (eve teasing), stalking (singing songs and following her from her home to college, school, tuition classes etc) and threats of suicide. A willingness to die (or kill?) for a Yes from someone was seen as the ultimate way of proving the ‘love’ was worthy of being reciprocated.

No one cared that if the girl does not admit to the obvious Yes, or if the ‘love’ doesn’t work out, young Indians had (have) no idea how to deal with the disappointment. We still don’t talk about it because we don’t believe in ‘love’ before marriage.

Also, since these movies glorified pehla aur akhiri pyaar i.e ‘first love is last love’, many Indians grew up believing that real love happened only  once – (specially for women) and break ups, disappointments or ‘rejection’ sometimes lead to stigma and suicide (mainly for women); and acid attacks, stalking, harassment and blackmail (generally by men).

Nobody talks about these things to young people because we fear ‘Love Marriages spoil the family system of the nation. So many young Indians never learn that there is life after a heart break, that disappointments in relationships are a part of growing up, that it’s perfectly fine to have found a girl friend/boy friend incompatible after they got to know that person, and that moving on is a sensible thing is to do.

Many Indian men and women have no idea that having made place in their hearts for someone (or two or three or more) other than the person they eventually married, does not make women impure, corrupt, characterless, shameless etc.

Men and women who had interacted with each other (in coeducational institutions or in liberal homes) understood that women were not some weird species who needed codes to convey their love. Codes like ‘No when they mean Yes’ or ‘Look angry/harassed/afraid/complain/run etc when they mean Yes’ or ‘Smile when they mean Yes’.

Since there was no interaction, many Indian men and women believed that women were supposed to say ‘No’, no matter what they felt. No, to offers of ‘frandship’. No, for consensual sex. Infact women were not to admit to wanting consensual sex, ever.  Many Indians believe that good women can have sex only as a duty, never for pleasure. Many still believe that if a woman did not say No then she was not a good woman, she deserved to be raped.

Saying No here includes a consistent No to boyfriends. What kind of men did such a mindset create? Were they confused? How were they to respect their girl friends then? They could if she did not consent to any sexual activity, or atleast not too readily. Sometimes just being any one boy’s girl friend was an indication of being a bad girl. Often boys seem to know these twisted rules better. Girls, even if they are confused, generally sense the untruths and the contradictions. Like in Jolly LLB,

Arshad Warsi tells her (Not exact words),”Ye Meerut hai, mujhe bhi pata hai yahan ke lounde kaisi boyfriendee karte hain bus thonko, peeto aur chor do”

Translation: This is Meerut I know the kind of ‘Boyfriend-ee’ (boyfriend-ship) Meerut boys understand, just use, abuse and throw.

So she was fortunate that he was a decent man, because she could not love another man. Because women not just had to say No, but ensure that the one who read the obvious Yes in their No was the man they married. What if he turned out to be an abuser? That’s what happens to bad girls who choose their own partners.

Mr. Sharad Yadav said, ‘Who amongst us has not followed girls?’: Sharad Yadav’s shocker during anti-rape bill debate. [Link and videos shared by Sharmi]

His exact words:

“Kaun hai hum mein se jo peecha naheen kiya? Aur mahilayen jo hai, wo mahila ko jab… wo usko baat karna padti hai to pahle mahila naheen lift deti hai, use koshish karna padti hai, prem se batana padti hai. Ye pure desh ka kissa hai. Samaaj ko chaitanya karne ke liye lambi bahas chalwao. Lambi bahas chalao aur ye tatkalik kadam zaroori hota hai lekin door ka bhi kadam bhi iske saath saath chalna chahiye.”

Roughly translated:

“Who amongst us has not followed women? And women… women don’t agree to talk to us at first, we have to try, we have to convince them.This is the story of the entire nation. To make the society aware, start long debates. Immediate action is necessary, but at the same time steps should be taken for long term too.”

Many cases of rape, acid attacks and murder begin with stalking, but perhaps those who see stalking as a normal and wholesome way for men to approach women see a ban on stalking as gender segregation. It’s possible that they see this kind of defense of stalking as cool, liberal, modern and bold, because they believe they are talking about a taboo topic – because conservative Indians will not talk in support of anything that might lead to love or love marriage.

Many who boldly support men’s right to stalk and harass women, would probably balk at the idea of sex education.

So what was Sharad Yadav trying to say when he seemed to justify stalking?

Here are two more occasions when his stance seemed sexist.

1.

When the  journalist asked him whether he prefers Madhya Pradesh or Bihar – he has represented both in Parliament. Yadav hemmed and hawed and finally said, “The whole country is good… even you are very beautiful.” …. [You are very beautiful, says Sharad Yadav to woman reporter]

Many felt this wasn’t offensive, after all it was just a compliment. What more could a woman want to hear from any random man, specially when she is asking him a serious question? In the complex misogynistic system we follow, ‘giving a creep a chance to pass a comment’ is something women regularly get blamed for. Putting a woman in her place by talking about her attractiveness is a common put down.

2.

A long-standing critic of the women’s reservation bill, he is on record saying if it were to be implemented, only “par-kati” or women who get their hair cut would benefit. [Link]

Here’s another video shared by Sharmi.

Related Posts:

Indian movies Heroes and Heroines
Even you are very beautiful: Nikitha Suryadevara
My Tehelka blog post: The difference between wooing and stalking
Mera Tharki India : Can we have more such music please!
Losers and Stalkers: ‘Tum kisi aur ko chahogee to mushkil hogi’
Love Marriages spoil the family system of the nation
An email: I am 18 year old male from a traditional (read:backward) Indian family.
Where is the opportunity for Indian men to learn the most natural thing in the world – finding a mate??
An email: An Old fashioned boy friend and a Liberal girl friend.
“Wonder how I survived for 4 years in this college!!”

118 thoughts on “What did Sharad Yadav mean by, ‘Who amongst us has not followed girls?’

    • And then there’s the movie Haseena Maan Jaayegi.. The title song has lyrics: “Kab tak ruthegi cheekegi, chilaegi… Dil kehta hai ik din haseena maan jaayegi.. ” Roughly translated as ” For how long will she sulk, yell and shout.. My heart says that the beautiful girl will one final day agree(my advances)”

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      • I believe Bollywood films have promoted this behaviour and made it appear that stalking is harmless fun.
        Stalking is the theme of so many popular film numbers.

        I remember an old song picturized on Shammi Kapoor and Kalpana from the movie “Professor” released in the mid sixties
        “Khulee palak me~n jhoothaa gussa
        band palak me~n pyaar”

        Other such filmi lyrics of popular songs in the sixties were

        Kahaa~n chal diye?
        Idhar to aao, mere dil ko, na thukrao
        bhole sitamgar, maan bhi jaao
        etc, etc

        I also remember a song picturised on Shammi wooing Rajshree dressed in ravishing red (from the film Budtameez?)

        Laal chadhee maidaan khadi
        kyaa khoob ladi, kyaa khoob ladi
        ham dil se gaye, ham jaa~n se gaye
        bas aankh milee aur baat bani (badhee?)

        etc

        But, I didn’t find anything offensive in the old classics.
        Yoo~n to hamne laakh hasee~n dekhe~n hai~n
        Tumsaa nahi~n dekha!

        The utterances of this Yaadav trio of Laloo, Sharad and Mulayam repel me!

        Regards
        GV

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      • Oddly, I do recall one movie in which stalking is shown unfavorably. You guys might know the name as I can’t remember it, but it was one of shah rukh khan’s old movies (I remember watching it with my older cousin in the early 90s).

        There’s a girl who has a boyfriend, she marries him but there’s this lunatic who’s stalking her. I’m not sure how the movie ends, but I think he dies (or gets injured?). And I think the girl marries her boyfriend (she doesn’t get an arranged marriage) so the movie didn’t really adhere to the ‘good indian woman’ stereotype.

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    • Yes I was put off by the scenes in the beginning of the movie as well. Still, they do show the female character yelling at him to back off at which point he admits that his motivation was to experience rejection, not to woo her.

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      • There are a number of depressing and potentially dangerous factors behind his inability to recognise stalking as a crime. Here’s what I think:

        1. Indian democracy has no quality control. Anyone above 25 years of age, with a valid ID card, and no proven criminal record can contest elections. With a proven criminal record, it’s difficult to contest elections (although not impossible) but such people can easily still be a part of a political party and call the shots. Which explains why there are so many criminals (errr… accused) amongst politicians and why they would not like greater vigilance. Simply to protect themselves.

        2. A person contesting an election can have “0” education. Yet he is expected to talk about complex social, political, moral, and economic issues on the floor of the Parliament. This is ridiculous. Honestly, I don’t know Mr. Yadav’s academic achievements, but I don’t think people who talk like that have had a chance to refine their minds and thoughts. That such a person has access to such immeasurable power over the lives of others is perhaps as sad as it is dangerous for society. Which brings me to…

        3. Much of India is illiterate. And when we say that we have achieved 40 or 50% literacy, it just means that people have learned to sign their names, perhaps count money, and may tell the time by seeing a clock. And they’re also poor. perhaps they’re so poor that we city folks can’t even imagine such deprivation. This is unfortunate. These people do not have the means or the leisure to think and debate on issues of morality. Not that they don’t understand venal sins, the concept of right and wrong, and mercy – but given their hand-to-mouth existence, i think they would rather vote for a candidate who promises a well, a canal, or a bit of reservation in some govt post than deride him for sexist comments.

        Again, I’d reiterate, this is very unfortunate that the blind is leading the blind. And those of us – armchair commentators like us who are not blind – are too busy working or too small in number to make a difference.

        4. India has a society with mixed morals. Those of us who communicate in English via new technologies have morals placed in Victorian or contemporary Britain/America. (And I mean Britain and America, and not France or Portugal) Just ask your readers what they read, how they regard pre-marital sex, what’s their idea of secularism, abortion, etc. and you’d understand what I’m saying😀 And those of us who live in small towns and villages, with little access to technology, modern education, jobs, etc., populate a more complex Hindu/Islamic moral space that is hardly ever discussed in Indian political discourse.

        Have you noticed that in the absence of rule of law – let’s accept the general lawlessness in India as a fact which can be debated later – people in the vast hinterlands of India take recourse in the Hindu Manu Samhita and the Islamic Sharia for governance? (And the govt is cool with it – aint we all know that?)

        If you’ve read the two texts – (the Manu Samhita was written in the 2nd century and the Sharia in the 8th) – you can find a pattern in the misogyny prevalent in present India. In short we have a mixed bag of morals – sourcing whatever is dominant at the time to create our moral schema and swear by it. So we have some people who openly or secretly revere the “Sati” without knowing how the social practice originated, and confusing it with the worship of Shiva’s wife. Similarly we have vast swathes of north India value the “Purdah” system for women without knowing where it originated, and why it’s in our interest to get over it.

        What is never discussed is that despite parallel (i.e. parallel in misogyny) texts originating in Greek and Roman civilizations, Europe has been able to march forward in critical women’s empowerment initiatives. On the other hand, we in India, have lagged behind in key welfare and quality of life issues although we foolishly parade our cultural forms and diversity before the world. And therefore, any talk of women’s empowerment or emancipation is deftly dismissed as “western” and therefore somehow pandering to colonial-style slavery and emulation of our former oppressors.

        Our politicians never discuss how we can close this glaring gap. Our politicians never discuss what we can do to open the minds of people by giving them access to knowledge – like getting a primary school in every village, a medical dispensary, and may be a bus or train service to a library.

        It’s one of my major pain points – that flagbearers of reservation for SC/ST/OBCs such the Yadav triumvirate cry hoarse for reservation in higher education yet do nothing to get basic primary education to people.

        What can you expect of an illiterate, uneducated man who gives in to lust or ill-temper and blights the life out of a young woman? Today Ram Singh, one of those who raped Jyoti Singh Pandey, might as well say that he simply stalked her and mistook her “no” as “yes” – after all he’s about as refined as Mr. Yadav is.

        The sad truth is that our politicians do not profess their trade to better the lot of Indians – and are not even qualified to do so. They have a votebank to supplicate and wean votes from – and they make any noise that furthers this objective.

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        • Your third point is so crucial, it is worth repeating and emphasizing.

          Much of India simply does not care, and for good reason. A very large portion of the population simply does not have the luxury to base its votes on abstract moral opinions, as opposed to immediate material issues which provide actual survival value.

          While the Nirbhaya protests were protrayed in the media as a kind of mass movement, the fact is that they were confined almost completely to relatively affluent urban Indians, who constitute a minuscule percentage of the Indian population.

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        • Excellent analysis Sanjana.
          I especially love your point 4. It’s true that Western civilizations also overcame misogynistic influences. The question is why didn’t some of us (India and other countries) do so? I’m sure the answer is a complex combination of history and mindset. I also feel our Founding Fathers messed up badly. Here was a chance to redefine who we are as a nation and put us on the right track – instead they put certain mechanisms in place that are not conducive to equality or progress.

          The other question that haunts me is related to your Point 3. The people who can discuss and debate these issues form such a miniscule part of the population. The vast majority are struggling for survival. Survival means literally survival of the fittest. There’s no room for equality, decency, and human values. The stronger/more powerful one dominates/abuses/harasses/extracts from the weaker one. Leaders like Yadav come from this section of the population. In a way, there are 2 Indias – the 80% world of survival, brutality, and power culture – and the 20% of onlookers capable of processing what’s happening, sensing this is wrong. Within this 20% there are huge differences in awareness and they themselves are struggling to come out of the middle ages. So, even when we succeed in doing so, how do we change the remaining 80%?

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        • Quality control for democracy – is that a critique of the system of universal (adult) suffrage?
          I don’t know whether you have read Mark Twain’s “The Curious Republic of Condour.” They got graded multiple votes for being more educated (and also having property, a 19th century practice).

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        • Sampoorna, good job. Pithy and insightful. However, the mixed bag of morals is also conveniently used. The same Rajasthani man who forces his wife to observe purdah can also force her to perfrom sexual acts that he watched on MMS clips or from a “blue film” CD he borrowed from a friend.

          Strangely, traditional Indians have no qualms adopting the conveniences and improvements and entertainments that modern science offers.

          Does Mohan Bhagwat insist that his medical treatment be ayurvedic only, when he is in the throes of a cardiac arrest? Does he instruct his doctors to unplug him from the ventilator, because its against the Vedic tradition?

          Not hoping for Mr Bhagwat to have a heart attack, just pointing out the obvious hyprocrisy many “traditional” Indians are blind to.

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  1. I wonder what would have happened if the reporter said ‘thanks for the compliment, but I find you disgusting and repulsive.’

    This guy clearly doesn’t understand stalking behavior at all.

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  2. Blame it to Bollywood or whatever- they believe it is the only way to get a girl and it is not wrong to persuade her for a yes, whether she wants it or not. This again stems from the roots of patriarchy where men believe that women aren’t strong/independent enough to say what they believe in/ what they want.

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  3. You have hit the nail on its head IHM! Many girls think that love happens only once and sex is not a good thing etc. I myself, when younger used to think love happens only once. When my ex bf dumped me, i thought my life was ruined. Breakups taught me its possible to fall in love more than once. Until the day i made out with my bf, i too thought its something i should refuse- else will he think that i am a bad girl? Such is the power of conditioning!!

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    • I wish every young girl and boy would read,understand and ingest into their system, this-‘Break ups taught me that it is possible to fall in love more than once’.

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    • Similar thing happened to me… I fell for a guy who wasn’t interested in me… what was I supposed to do? I always imagined I would fall for one guy and he would love me and we would end up happily ever after. Then, I was left with 2 choices – pine for him forever or move on. Pining for someone forever didn’t exactly suit me, so I chose to move on. I was forced to!😀

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  4. I just read the comments for the article “Even you are beautiful says Sharad Yadav to reporter”- it speaks of the mentality. All of them seem to think there was nothing sexist about that statement. How do you change this mentality? Now these are the same men who harass women on the street- so basically, movies corrupt the minds and make the men think there is nothing wrong with it and that the woman likes it. If – a girl says No, they take it as a personal failure and go about throwing acids, raping her and such.

    The bigger problem is not what Sharad Yadav said- but that he (and so many others who have commented on the article) think there is nothing wrong in it and that the woman should feel happy about this “compliment”

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  5. It’s even worse when in movies like Dabangg, Salman Khan stalks her like a maniac and the audiences cheer and make the film a blockbuster. :/ In the bargain sending the most outrageous message that stalking the girl would make her succumb to the man in question.
    And it’s not just there, kids grow up reading and watching stuff like ‘Beauty and the Beast’ where behavior like stalking, abduction, harassment etc., are subtly normalized and fed into their heads.
    I can almost see where Mr. Yadav’s perversion is coming from. It’s pathetic and disgusting to say the least, that people which such mindsets are our country’s law-makers.😦

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    • Ahh! And that brings me to Sonakshi Sinha. She’s made a niche for herself playing regressive characters. Whether stalking in Dabangg or the waist-pinching scene in the trailer of Rowdy Rathore!
      Instead of blaming the whole of Bollywood, which is after all a money-making pseudo-creative industry only interested in the bottomline- why not also critique the generations of actresses who agreed to play these stalkee-turned-in-love women? If anybody tried to stalk them in real life, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t fall for those men. So why do they (still) play characters who do?

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      • These women lead relatively emancipated lives in reality are one of the few Indian women who have access to money, power, autonomy, success and fame. From their point of view, this is a small price to pay for enjoying all of the above.

        Sonakshi Sinha would never bother about being stalked because her privileged position would nearly eliminate that risk in real life.

        Yes one would expect them to have a greater sense of moral responsibility. Bollywood however, is reckless and very Darwinian. Successes are worshipped, and failures pushed into obscurity.

        What I see happening is that as a younger generation of producers, directors and scriptwriters take over, a generation with a laregly Western and cosmopolitan sensibility, movies like Dabangg will fade out. The box office seems to be rewarding intelligent, non-sexist cinema, so there’s hope yet.

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  6. Great post IHM! Hitting all the right nails. Though I am an Indian woman, who has grown up in India, the warped mindset of majority of men here never fails to amaze and horrify me. It is okay to stalk and chase a girl, sing idiotic songs, pull at her dupatta, pinch and paw her, but it is not okay to talk to her as a normal human being. It is okay to run after her in a field and chase her around trees, surreptitiously, but it is not okay to sit with her late evening in a bus, take her out for a movie or talk to her on a bench in a mall. Immediately the woman gets labelled as ‘free’ for all men. Personally, I feel the Sheila and Munni songs filled with innuendos and the leering men are feeding a whole generation of boys and young men. To add to all that, we have politicians like Sharad Yadav to ensure that sex education remains banned keeping our men so out of sync with reality, of what women like and appreciate…

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  7. “Who amongst us has not followed women? And women… women don’t agree to talk to us at first, we have to try, we have to convince them.This is the story of the entire nation. To make the society aware, start long debates. Immediate action is necessary, but at the same time steps should be taken for long term too.”

    I didnt watch the link (at work) but from this excerpt it sounds like he is acknowledging that we have a widespread deep rooted problem, and we have bring about awareness and take both short term and long term steps against it.

    Am i missing something?

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    • Even I felt after the reading the excerpt that he meant that we have to make the society aware that women can also take the first step and need not pretend to say no when she means yes. This steps have to taken so that guys understand that stalking is wrong and if a girl says no, it is no. Girls expected to say ‘no’ first is a problem to be debated and action to be taken.
      But the comment he made to the reporter, made me think otherwise. So I checked out the video posted here and the video linked by IHM and at least to me it is clear that he didn’t mean any of the above. He is a misogynist and a proud of it too. It is a shame we have such people in our parliament. And what’s more disturbing to see is that throughout these comments, there are male and female MPs who are thoroughly enjoying these comments.

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  8. Great post IHM. That sadly is the mindset here in our country. It’s more of “how can get not like me or agree to me”. Stalking has been romanticised in most of our movies (all languages) and has made people believe that it would work. I get so irritated when I watch those Shammi Kapoor movie types-where he is always seen teasing and embarrassing the girl and finally wins her over.

    It’s because boys/men believe that is normal that they go to the extent of throwing acid – If I can’t have her, no one can. Yes there will be heartaches, depression etc when you are dumped or when the girl/boy does not accept you. If girls had started this acid throwing and killing boys who have dumped them-then most of the men would be disfigured or handicapped.

    It is also the feeling that they can get away easily after doing all this. And this is not seen only among the low class. All the college going boys and some even in office do this. (I agree that girls also stalk boys, even married men and make their lives miserable).

    I guess the only option for India is to bring a rule that all who want to enter politics should be educated with a minimum degree…at least then, some amount of such garbage spewing would reduce. Hmmm, the nonsense that some educated people also speak makes my jaw drop.

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    • You know, I think the Indian gov would also benefit from making a rule that people with serious criminal charges pending against them cannot run for office / keep their office unless they are acquitted in a trial. I was shocked to learn that there are lots of lesser politicians who have charges like murder, extortion, etc pending against them. Because the courts are so packed and corrupt, their case keeps getting pushed back.

      It’s eventually going to be a very serious economic blow, sooner or later.

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  9. It is definitely not restricted to bollywood alone. Tamil movies are not far behind. In the movie ‘Vallavan’ the hero sports buck teeth and glasses because he does not want her to fall only for his looks! However he falls for the heroine purely based on her homely (sic) beauty
    and goes on to serenades her despite she being his lecturer! Go figure this.

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  10. Our country, which has so-called male dominated society, expect men to propose first. It’s a fact, doesn’t matter some one believe it or not. Stalking is a problem, I agree, but I don’t see anything wrong in the statements of the MP either. He said it right. And he rightly mentioned the mentality of girls and boys of many generations. The whole law which make stalking or voyeurism as non-bailable offence gone too far as usually. The only difference is this time some men in Parliament realized and voiced their views without any fear. That too after Nirbhaya incident, they must have guts to talk like that openly.

    When it comes to double standards of MP on sex education, there is no relation between these two incidents. And what about the double standards of women right’s activists? They say men and women are equal and says there is no such thing called man’s work or women’s work, everything is just work. But they convieniently says protecting and providing is man’s work. They simply ask men to pay hefty alimony and child support after divorce, even in the case woman is capable of working / she is already working and earning?

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    • ” I agree, but I don’t see anything wrong in the statements of the MP either.. The whole law which make stalking or voyeurism as non-bailable offence gone too far as usually. ”

      The problem is that you and Sharad Yadav don’t understand the meaning of stalking and voyeurism.

      Even taking into account the India way of indirect expression, there is a BIG difference in following someone once to gauge interest and stalking them. If she asks you to stop, tries to run away and looks scared, swears at you, responds to your ‘hi babe’ with a disgustedly look, and you STILL continue your following, then it’s stalking. See the difference? This stalking has happened to me and every other Indian girl/ woman.. sometimes guys persisted in following me for months. It’s this kind of deranged behaviour that usually leads to acid attacks and rapes for ‘revenge’, especially if the girl has complained (how dare she!).. so it’s only right that it’s non-bailable! How else do you contain the threat?

      It’s the same with voyeurism. It’s not just looking at someone, it’s trying to peek into someone’s bathroom, trying to take pictures of women’s legs under restaurant tables and things like that.

      If men in India cannot differentiate between non-threateningly expressing interest and escalating it into stalking or voyeurism, then we do need laws to clarify what is acceptable, don’t we?

      “But they convieniently says protecting and providing is man’s work. They simply ask men to pay hefty alimony and child support after divorce”

      That’s just not true. Can you provide a citation for this? Whoever makes more money in a marriage or has gained more assets in the duration of the marriage has to pay alimony and child support, not just the man. If you want wives to stay home and sacrifice careers, then don’t complain when alimony and child support fall on you! If you instead marry someone with a career and don’t interfere with it, you probably won’t have to pay alimony and child support. That’s how it is in the west and I believe in India too. Maybe PT or someone with legal expertise can correct me if I’m mistaken.

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      • The problem is not what stalking or voyurism really are, but what law defines them as so. Did you see the definition of salking or voyurism in the law? most of the times they don’t interpret the way you interepret. Not only that, there is no guarantee that all women accept your definition of stalking. That is the big problem. Lack of proper definition in the law and power given to police make this law prone to abuse. With the non-bailable clause in it, it just going to be another weapon that violate human rights of men. And obsence of misuse clause in it makes it a weapon of extortion and blackmail in the hands of ill-empowered women. That’s why I said that it’s a step gone too far. If these men [Sharad Yadav and others] are not there in parliment and they didn’t oppos these laws strongly, men’s life could have been miserable. (Even now it is miserable, though little bit better).

        When it comes to alimony, you are wrong. We have many court rulings to prove that. And recent IrBM (Irretraivable Breakdown of Marriage) and the proposed salary to women and law that makes equal share in property and all are the evidences for what I said. You please go through these laws, you will understand the double standards of the women activists.

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        • “The key point is to recognize the relative economic positions (advantageous or disadvantageous) of each party, and come up with a formula which is cognizant of such disparity, if any.”

          Thanks for explaining PT, that is what I thought. . @Masculistravi, while we may have court rulings granting alimony to the wife, there is no law that says alimony is to be granted to the wife. Rather, as PT explained, who gets alimony and child support depends on the relative income and on who gets child custody.

          “Did you see the definition of salking or voyurism in the law?”

          Did you? Here’s a summary: http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/21/what-indias-anti-rape-bill-actually-says/ . As it says there,

          stalking: “follow a woman and establish contact with her or attempt to do so “to foster personal interaction repeatedly despite a clear indication of disinterest” by the woman.”

          Voyeurism: “watch or photograph women who are conducting a “private act,” such as bathing, using the toilet or having sex.”

          Also, first offences of both stalking and voyeurism are bailable.. which may have it’s own complications resulting in actual offenders taking ‘revenge’ on women who complain. However, it is not non-bailable from the get go, as you implied (http://www.hindustantimes.com/India-news/NewDelhi/Anti-rape-bill-passed-in-LS-defines-stalking-as-non-bailable-if-repeated/Article1-1028961.aspx).

          I think we shouldn’t have laws with loose wording that can be abused to harm men or women and I supporting tightening these.. I also don’t think that men should always ‘protect and provide’. But statements like “they convieniently says protecting and providing is man’s work. They simply ask men to pay hefty alimony and child support” just don’t reflect the truth at all.

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        • Why do you have a problem with child support? Even if the mother gets custody, isn’t the child still his/her father’s child? A man pays child support for his child’s upbringing and he has an obligation to do so.

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        • It is one thing to be concerned about laws being unfair to men and it is quite another thing to oppose women receiving a fair share in martial property or to oppose alimony and child support because it inconveniences men.

          During my divorce hearing, the female judge asked me why I’d chosen not to claim maintenance or alimony given that my ex-husband earned handsomely.

          I had an independent income, so I chose not to contest and claim financial compensation. Many women are not in my position, and divorce leaves them and their children destitute.

          Please do not assume that ALL women will misuse laws just because they can.

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      • “But they convieniently says protecting and providing is man’s work. They simply ask men to pay hefty alimony and child support after divorce”

        First off, it’s important to understand that Indian courts, both in theory and practice, always take the finances of both spouses into account while laying down alimony obligations. If the obligated partner is unable to pay due to personal financial constraints, the court will sometimes designate an external public body to make payments on their behalf.

        Second, in India (and many other jurisdictions), alimony is not an absolute right, but rather a legal instrument to safeguard divorcees from immediate financial issues following a divorce. In the Indian scenario, if the court determines that neither of the parties requires any such assistance, no alimony will be granted. If it is to be granted, the parties will be given a chance to mutually agree on the terms of payment, and if no understanding can be reached, the court will determine the duration and terms of the alimony payments, taking into account such factors as the length of the marriage, the career trajectories of both parties, as well as the respective financial assets, ages, education levels and so on. The key point is to recognize the relative economic positions (advantageous or disadvantageous) of each party, and come up with a formula which is cognizant of such disparity, if any.

        If a woman has been a homemaker for ten years, for example, even as her husband has been working and upgrading his skills, it is unfair to believe that she can suddenly be thrust into the role of a career woman. Such a woman would most likely be entitled to alimony.

        If, on the other hand, a woman has worked alongside her husband, if they are both able-bodied, if they are both in relatively good economic standing, there is no reason for the woman to be provided external support. Thus, two parties who both had more or less similar incomes prior to the dissolution of the marriage are generally much less likely to have any alimony obligations.

        Alimony can (and has) been granted to men too, although this is rare, due to the fact that in most Indian divorces, the man is/was the primary earner, while the woman was not.

        As far as child support is concerned, it is a payment made not for a former spouse, but for the upbringing of one’s children. The party with custody of the child receives such payments, and can be either male or female. Each case is decided upon its own merits, although in the Indian system, it is typically the mother who gets custody.

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        • @carvaka, @Praveen, @Sraboney
          Please don’t use the reply button, instead mention my name and put a fresh comment, that way we can put this discussion readable. The reply option not only makes the comment column thinner and also makes imposible to follow up the comments. IMHO.

          So, I am giving my comment as fresh comment mentioning your names, please scroll down.

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  11. Bollywood has just portrayed it all wrong and people take it as right. The view of women were not important for they have no views, no feelings , nothing…thanks to the patriarchal mindset….Sad state of affairs….and sad mentality we come across everyday.

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    • Just a couple days ago I read Anushka Sharma’s interview where she said something to the effect that the “item numbers” (how I detest that term, especially the word ‘item’) in Bollywood movies are not responsible for corrupting society. I didn’t expect that from her – I thought she was among a new breed of modern, objective thinking actresses.
      Bollywood movies absolutely corrupt, influence and condition minds – young and old.
      The problem is that most Bollywood producers are male with an eye only on box office earnings – they want to cater to the masses and don’t care a hoot about respecting women and their rights! There are a few exceptions to this rule, but not enough.
      There are not enough women producers, directors, story writers who can create meaningful cinema that portrays the right way to woo a woman, to respect a woman’s wishes.
      It’s a sad state of affairs.
      As for Shard Yadav’s comment – my immediate reaction was “WTF?!”. With that one statement he has revealed his misogynistic views, ignorance and general unfitness to be in the position he is currently in. Just that one statement should qualify for his immediate dismissal from politics or any other position that is meant to help fight for the welfare of citizens. And the fact that his statement was met with laughter by the rest of the folks in that session speaks volumes about how they try to minimize anything related to women’s rights.

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      • Correction to my statement above –
        “Bollywood movies absolutely corrupt, influence and condition minds – young and old.”
        I meant to say “Bollywood movies absolutely have the power to corrupt, influence and condition minds – young and old.”

        That’s not to say there aren’t good Bollywood movies, however, they are sadly a minority.

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      • NS,

        I somehow don’t feel that a greater number of female producers, directors and story writers would change things all that much.

        There are two reasons for this.

        First, it is not true that most, or even many, Indian women unequivocally reject the ‘wrong ways’ to woo a woman. I personally know many, many Indian women who found stalker-ish or otherwise abusive behavior ‘cute’, or in some form, romantic, and I am sure that my own experience is not exceptional in this regard. Since directors and producers emerge from the same society as these women, I find it hard to believe that they will espouse radically different attitudes from the current breed of mostly male directors/producers/writers.

        Second, as you touched upon in your post, commercial cinema is generally not a manifestation of a writer or director’s personal opinions on a subject, but rather a work explicitly designed to cater to the mind-set and interests of a particular audience. There is no compelling reason to suppose that this would not apply to films made by women. Female producers who create commercial cinema will, after all, cater to precisely the same masses that the male ones do.

        As regards the objectification of women on-screen, I believe we can bring to bear the old catch-22 : Such films would not be made if there was no one to watch them. In other words, these attitudes already exist, and films can, at worst, be only said to reinforce them. In no sense do they actually forge those attitudes.

        This is not to say that the said objectification is entirely harmless; rather, I’d say that it is not particularly more harmful than, for example, the glorification of violence in a film.

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        • I actually disagree with the fact that item numbers ‘corrupt’ society in large numbers- rather they are the manifestation of an already ‘corrupted’ society , one that views any dancing woman in a sexual way. This male gaze is cashed in on in the form of these ‘item numbers’.
          They are the ‘effects’ rather than the ’cause’.
          The only minds that they can corrupt in those of young children, I suppose. I alos find in abhorrent that movies with these songs are considered ‘family entertainment’. Including them should mandatorily attract a certification of U/A or A depending on the case.
          Bollywood is interested in only one thing-profits.
          I’m pretty sure if strong women-oriented movies/movies set in outer space/ insert any theme suddenly (and magically) became money-spinners, the industry would begin to churn THOSE out en masse.

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        • Loved your comment PT. Its the most sensible interpretation of Bollywood’s portrayal of women that I’ve read in a long time. Such films would not be made if these elements didn’t already exist in society.

          As harmful as such portrayal is, its not the root cause of the objectification of women. Ignorance about sex and repression of female desire does more harm than Kareena singing “Fevicol se”, IMO

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        • Absolutely agree with you Desidaaru. Item numbers are used to conveniently slot women into ‘bad’ and ‘good’ categories. They don’t corrupt minds in the sense that the women are exposing. They corrupt minds in the sense that women are objectified. But the greater damage they do is create this artificial definition of the ‘bad woman’ – someone who ‘exposes’, dances, or is having a good time with friends. So if a guy on the street sees a girl dressed in a short skirt or shorts, he automatically associates her with the ‘item girl’ he saw in the latest movie. His brain then tells him – ‘remember the item girl has no morals, you can have your way with her, she’s asking for it’. He then uses this approach with this girl on the street – either by whistling, groping, passing lewd remarks, or worse, raping. The girl is exercising her right to dress the way she pleases, but he doesn’t know that, thanks to brainwashing from our stupid movies.

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  12. Most of the ‘above 30’ society in India today is a result of years of conditioning which happened before the era of cable television. And much of it was due to the impact of Bollywood movies which were only accessible either through the few cinema theatres or the weekly sunday evening movie on doordarshan, the effects of which used to linger till the next sunday and even beyond.

    Just the other day I was reminded of the portrayal of ‘love happens only once’, and other prejudices regarding a married woman by a 1983 movie titled ‘Woh Saat Din’ starring Anil Kapoor. The male lead who is poor and unemployed, falls in love with his landlord’s grand-daughter. She is eventually married off to a wealthy doctor whose wife had passed away leaving behind a little daughter. When the doctor comes to know of the pre-marital love affair, he finds the boy and asks him to marry the girl and take her away (something I felt was a sensible thing to do). But the male lead, our ‘hero’, refuses to marry his lover citing the fact that once married, a girl’s ‘mangalsutra’ is of the utmost importance to her. Society will never accept her with him. Even the girl accepts this and decides to stay on with her husband.

    Recently, the movie ‘Cocktail’ depicted how a girl is not ‘fit’ as a marriageable prospect unless she portrays herself in the traditional Indian look and manners. One can’t do much other than tear their hair out after watching such movies. Shouldn’t film-makers be held responsible for dishing out such **** which plays a big role in forming the mindset of an entire generation?

    As for Mr. Yadav, I wonder how he would react if a boy was to follow his daughter? Or even if his daughter were to be in love with a boy. I guess we all can imagine the outcome.

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    • Anirudh- Bollywood mentalities do not change. What about Hum Dilde Chuke Sanam? would the audience have accepted it if Aish were to be reunited with Salman and leaves her hubby, Ajay Devgan behind?

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  13. What is the logic for making these laws applicable to only half of the population, based on gender? Does it help in any way in achieving gender equality? Why should the state make it its business to get into people’s gender and assign them “modesty” based on that? How will the transgender people be dealt? Seven years for voyeurism, a bit excessive won’t you say? Why does the state want women to obsess with their modesty (privacy, dignity whatever you may call it)?

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    • A threatening behavior is a threatening behavior and should be dealt with same way in case of any gender or any intention of the threatening person. Putting women’s sexuality on a pedestal seem counter productive for the goal of gender equality from women’s perspective.

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      • I think that there is a growing, and rather disturbing trend of untested, draconian laws being essentially demanded into existence by strident activism from otherwise well-meaning groups.

        Such groups have done a lot of good for Indian women in the past, but I am discomfited in the extreme by the idea of criminal laws and strictures being passed effectively without any debate, of larger social causes being hijacked by small lobby groups with greater access to policy-makers, and most of all, with the stifling of opposition to such laws.

        To quote a personal example, I attended a MoLJ-sponsored legal summit recently, where one NGO representative proclaimed not only that I was a misogynist, but also that she felt sorry for all the women in my life, and especially my wife! What provoked such an extreme response in a tightly moderated public discussion? The fact that I disfavored, and spoke against, the death penalty for rape.

        While I would hardly claim that such behavior is common, or the norm, and while I can accept that rationality was mildly warped in general after a case as horrific as the Delhi gang-rape, the underlying attitudes which provoke such comments can only be termed as fundamentalist in form. These attitudes have been displayed in varying degrees of subtlety by many of the more prominent women’s rights activists in India today.

        Poorly drafted, discriminatory laws help no one, least of all the people they are meant to protect, and it worries me that it seems to be becoming okay to enact laws that are ridiculously draconian by any standards, just because doing otherwise would be deemed ‘anti-woman’, and would thus politically be politically unacceptable.

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        • If it is any consolation, people have been overcome with pity for my wife…and this is when I stand before them in a sari. I suspect half of them are so conditioned to give that response that it comes out before the brain engages.

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        • Draconian nature of the laws is one thing. Another thing is that these laws are promoting the patriarchal ideas that a women’s sexuality is some kind of prized possession (and why not, you can exchange it for monetary gains). Otherwise, how come a woman is so damaged by a peep that the onlooker deserves a long jail term?

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        • @Ritu

          Heh. I think that can only be described as a little sad.

          @B

          I think that is a debatable point. Stalking and voyeurism are also invasions of individual privacy.

          However, like sexual assault, I find myself hard-pressed to find justifications for the idea that only one sex (male) could possibly perpetrate these crimes. This is quite ridiculous.

          Stalking by a woman isn’t even all that uncommon, and as I have contended elsewhere, the argument that a gender-neutral law may be misused to victimize innocent women is not sufficient to establish that the law MUST be gendered.

          I suspect, as you do, that legislative justifications for this law revolved more around the concept of ‘modesty’ and such, than personal space, in which case, it makes sense to exclude men.

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        • @ Praveen, replying to your last comment. Sure, I do get that voyeurism and stalking are invasions of privacy and threatening behaviors and should be dealt with. But hugely disproportionate punishments and gendered nature of the laws is telling that they are not being seen in this light only.
          Now a question. Is there a provision of retraining orders in Indian law? If there is, shouldn’t that be the first recourse to deal with a stalker?

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        • @B

          A restraining order can indeed be obtained, without too much hassle.

          However, this is merely a protective mechanism, and not a criminal remedy.

          The idea behind making stalking an actual criminal offense is that the fear of punishment should deter potential stalkers from harassing a person in the first place.

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        • Woman empowerment is a buzz word that can kill any dissent. In EU they are trying to shove down a ban on “porn” in its name. What is porn is anybody’s guess. Seems to me that the campaigners for these laws basically want to retain sex as a power tool in the hands of women.

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        • IHM,

          There are people on both sides of the fence here. One may agree or disagree with Caitlin Moran, but what she says cannot be treated as gospel truth.

          I, for one, disagree with the whole hoopla over (consensual) pornography. It seems to me that the opposition to it is not only rather pointless from a women’s rights perspective , but also that such a ban would be nearly impossible to enforce effectively, and would probably just drive the industry underground (as it has in India), far and away from mainstream protections of individual rights.

          The argument that porn ‘affects’ how people see sex and sexual assault seems a terribly weak one. Quite apart from the fact that there is no conclusive evidence for this, the fact is that we cannot simply ban anything that is deemed to negatively impact societal perceptions of sex (or assault). This is an example of trying to legislate attitudes, which is something that never works.

          Many commentators ask whether I would want my daughter to work in the porn industry, and if not, why would I not support banning it?
          My answer is that there are many jobs I would prefer my daughter (or hypothetically, son) to not have to hold. I would not, for example, want them flipping burgers at the local McDonald’s. This is not because of any moral objections to McDonald’s, but rather because I feel that it is an exploitative, poorly-paid job with little security and not very good working conditions. I feel the same way about pornography, yet I do not suggest banning either fast food restaurants or pornography or any other non-criminal industry that I might not want my son or daughter to be a part of.

          A ban is a ridiculously simplistic ‘solution’ to a very complex problem. Making pornographic films is banned in both India and Saudi Arabia, yet pornographic films persist in both countries, and neither can be said to have stellar records of not objectifying women in the public sphere.

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        • PT – I am not sure if I support a ban on Pornography, agree with you it would go underground – but I don’t see porn as a harmless activity. I think Porn is as harmful as cinema in the way men see women and sex. I think in India, in absence of dating, social interactions and Sex Ed, Porn, Item numbers and Bollywood-rape-scenes teach young Indians their first lessons about women and sex.

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        • @ IHM
          ” I think Porn is as harmful as cinema in the way men see women and sex. I think in India, in absence of dating, social interactions and Sex Ed, Porn, Item numbers and Bollywood-rape-scenes teach young Indians their first lessons about women and sex.”
          I am not sure of that, given that there is no convincing cause-and-effect argument and evidence to support this assertion. However, a couple of years back, I read an article by Naomi Wolf (of the Beauty Myth fame) where she complained that the pervasiveness of porn made men less willing to ‘pursue the real thing’. Now, if porn could act as a surrogate for real sex as Wolf implies, it might be a subliming factor for those men who don’t have partners. This might be a desirable outcome, from the perspective of reducing unwanted advances by men who otherwise wouldn’t have an outlet for their urges, so to speak.
           
          @ Praveen
          “This is an example of trying to legislate attitudes, which is something that never works.”
          Exactly. It is somewhat like the argument for banning alcohol or stoning someone to death for adultery (~ adultery destroys marriage and societal order, so punish this great EVIL). Also, I can’t figure out the stance of those who argue against making these laws gender neutral. Replace the word ‘women’ with ‘men’ in the innocent-women-will-be-victimised argument and it works equally well.

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    • Completely agree. The provisions for rape, stalking and voyeurism should have been gender-neutral.

      India has a sizeable population of gay and bisexual people who usually fly under the radar and are not even acknowledge in the public discourse.

      How will abused gay people seek redressal if the law doesn’t even recognise their existence.

      Men and boys can also be raped and its ridiculous to not take that into account.

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        • But homosexuality is a western fad … just get them married off and see how it works. Marriage – the cure of all ills in the Indian subcontinent [/sarcasm]

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  14. Excellent post – effectively addresses all the right issues related to ‘courting’.
    Agree that it’s sickening to see men stalking women (Dhabang) to ‘win their love’.
    Also agree that we need to unlearn the concept of ‘love happens only once in a life time’. Live and learn.

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  15. I think it is highly courageous of Sharad Yadav to speak reality infront of whole media and such atmosphere of feminist domination. It’s extremely impossible to differentiate stalking from following without having benefit of hindsight. In this case too similar acts are being left to the interpretation of a girl who might not be very scrupulous. In one case a guy would be inside jail because girl thought intentions were bad while in other case nothing will happen because guy was fortunate and girl didn’t think that his intentions were bad. If everything is being decided by girl, why keep courts and judges. Let girls decide whom they think criminal and whom they not.

    I don’t think these laws are there to make women safer rather are made to make men vulnerable.

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    • what is your definition of a girl being “scrupulous” ? Just because a girl does not report a guy who is stalking her, does not make her “unscrupulous”. Just because when a guy stalked a girl, and girl did not find it intimidating but actually went out on a date with that guy, does not make staking a girl right thing to do. Also it does not make the act of “stalking” by the guy ” a harmless following without having benefit of doubt”.
      It is stalking, period. Why the girl did not find it intimidating can have various reasons, nothing to do with the “character” of the girl.
      If a man stalks a girl and lands in jail, how does that make men vulnerable ? Are you saying Indian men can’t find a girl friend without stalking a girl ? Is that the only approach left for Indian men.

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    • On the contrary, these laws are being proposed because women are VULNERABLE due to the prevailing male attitude that does not respect their wishes and harasses them. And they are proposed in order to make men more RESPONSIBLE for their behaviour.

      These laws are being proposed because there are too many men like Mr. Yadav who seem to think that it is ok to pursue a woman whether she likes it or not.

      Instead of understanding the seriousness of the threat to the safety and welfare of women, unfortunately many men seem to be resenting these laws. It would be better if they focus their resentment on the behaviour that is leading to such laws.

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      • These laws are being proposed because there are too many men like Mr. Yadav who seem to think that it is ok to pursue a woman whether she likes it or not.

        Perhaps, but I am personally rather unhappy with the way the provisions for stalking and voyeurism have been drafted.

        Not only is the sentencing structure somewhat ridiculous, I also find that the laws themselves are worded rather vaguely, leaving great room for subjectivity. This is especially damaging due to the complete absence of precedents to guide courts.

        While it may be true that there are too many men like Sharad Yadav, this does not in any way justify the formulation of strictures which have obvious potential for misuse and abuse.

        As regards your last point, it is very much possible to be completely against the behavior that these laws seek to penalize, even while not supporting the law itself. These are not contradictory stances; rather, they are expressions of opinion on two different issues.

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        • I admit that I have not read the actual wording of the proposed laws. And having read many of your comments on IHM’s posts, I am inclined to have doubts about the said laws if you say so.🙂

          But I do have to say this in defence of my comment. When a subset of a population starts to behave in an offensive and sometimes vicious manner, the response tends to be a little irrational. Like the anti-terrorist laws targeting the Muslim population, even if many of the Muslims may themselves be against terrorism. I am not justifying this or saying that it should be allowed.

          But the anger and other emotional response from the women can surely be understood when they are subject to such attitudes and their physical safety is being threatened. Hence my knee jerk reaction supporting the anti-stalking laws without even reading them.

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  16. I am undecided whether it’s art imitating life or life imitating art. It used to be that rape scenes were perfectly acceptable and expected in bollywood movies, even thought consensual kissing was taboo. Shakti Kapoor made his career out of this. The hero’s sister was usually born to be raped.. that was the only relevance of her character in the movie. We don’t see this anymore.. rape is not a frivolous titillation for bollywood now. I think that reflects a change in society. Similarly the stalking and ‘ek baar hi pyaar hota hai’ non sense reflects something about our society. Our problems are still down to the culture where stalking and ‘eve teasing’ are considered endearing but consensual dating is a herecy.

    We must accept healthy contact between sexes and healthy dating as part of life. Repression, discrimination and segregation lead us further down this rapey road. I do think it would help if bollywood could stop making ‘pyaar ek hi baar hota hai’ love stories. Men seem unable to discriminate between ‘love’ and harmful harassment. It is a very objectified type of love where just looking at someone is enough to know you ‘love’ them and you must MAKE them love you. There is a dangerous amount of ‘if she’s not mine, she will be no one’s’. I actually heard that from a friend’s boyfriend when we were teens. She thought it was cute. I thought it was creepy!

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    • Having said all this, I don’t think acid throwing ever comes out any deluded idea of ‘love’. It can only be revenge for the indignation of being rejected by a girl. To teach her a lesson. Maybe we need some bollywood movies with women saying ‘yes’ when they mean yes, with break-ups and some straight up rejections to normalise these facts of life, if that helps.

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  17. The Indian films also teach manipulation right at the beginning of the relationship.

    A typical scene is when the boy is wooing (read:stalking) the girl and if he is lot pushy there is another technique he adopts.

    “Agar tum Mujhse pyaar karti ho toh mein khudkushi kar loonga”

    In a realistic situation, I’m sure she couldn’t care less and would be happy to be permanently rid of the harassing element from her life

    In many films, this is shown as a form of able manipulation where there is suddenly an orchestra of violins in A major and she rushes into his arms “nahin nahin” as if he were the only one for her either because the harassment-wooing had worked or else there could be no one crazy enough for her; difficult to say really what the script writers have in mind

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  18. There is more to it than the analysis of stalking behaviour – courting and stalking are different, which seems to be beyond the comprehension of some people.
    There is another angle to this: the way the honoured parliamentarians, mostly in their twilight years, reacted. See my take (too long to set out here) at:
    http://stealyonthunder.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/the-shame-of-democracy-dilli-ishtyle/

    And a related story: the flagellators of this miserable Maldivian girl-child must genuinely believe they are earning their rewards, whatever they be, in heaven!
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-21595814

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  19. In many ways bollywood reflects on us as people… and I am afraid its not very good… change is necessary… most people do not think and need to be forced to think… !

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  20. I know many people who “love” Bollywood films (including many educated men and women). They associate them with fun, entertainment, escape. These scenarios (of guys stalking girls, girl getting hung up on the ‘one love of her life’) are so ingrained in our collective consciousness that many people don’t question them. It is like being fed rice since you were 1 year old. Many people never stop to think if this is right or wrong, and what influence it has on society at large. Bollywood has certainly done it’s fair share of feeding the patriarchy machine in our country.

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    • That is so true and something one realises only when one’s circumstances change. As a case in point, I submit the movie ‘Lamhe’. It was a movie I loved when it first came out. But a few months ago, during Diwali vacations, I sat down with my daughter to watch it again. Oh lord. It was cringeworthy. The emphasis on marriage and on one true love and the casual attitude towards physical violence – it was either a way to prove your masculinity or a way to prove a man’s love for a woman. We were happier once we switched to Dev Anand’s ‘Kala Bazaar’.

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    • I think it’s more fair to say Bollywood fed off the patriarchy in this country.
      Case in point- the disappearance of the rape scene and revenge plots from Bollywood in 2000’s.
      Why? Because the formula was deemed to be passe. The movie-makers and scriptwriters remained the same. Only the audience had changed- the ‘youth’ were the children of the 80’s and lapped up romance eagerly.
      Bollywood serves up what it thinks WE want. There is really no agenda on their part- other than profit. Anything misogynistic in a movie today is a reflection of our society, however,very little real-life misogyny can conclusively be attributed to Bollywood.Most of it stems from other sources like culture,religion and tradition.

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      • Desidaru, I agree that item numbers are the symptom rather than the cause. If anything, it push came to shove, I’d support free speech over the saffron crowd’s attempts to “santise” our movies and media.

        Sexual repression is MUCH more harmful than the unbridled sexualisation of women in our movies. Women are objectified as much in Saudi Arabia as they are in the West, precisely because female flesh is off-limits and covered up in the public domain.

        If female flesh is seen as natural and ordinary as it is in many tribal societies, left bare and uncovered, this unhealthy obsession with women’s bodies will increase, not decrease.

        Perhaps women will stop being seen as peices of meat if we were able to walk about dressed as we wished, instead of hiding behind layers of clothing under the hot Indian sun.

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        • Correction: If female flesh is seen as natural and ordinary as it is in many tribal societies, left bare and uncovered, this unhealthy obsession with women’s bodies will decrease, not increase.

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        • Completely agree with you BIWO. Another extremely hypocritical perversion of human societies is requiring women’s chest to be covered at all times while men’s chests are allowed to be seen. As if women’s chest are also part of genitalia while men’s are not. Why is this so is totally beyond me. But unfortunately even the most liberal of people that I have talked to (barring nudists perhaps) think it should be so, without ever giving a reason. For God’s sake, they are there for feeding babies, why the hell people get offended on their sight? Misogyny much?

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        • I too agree biwo. I don’t support the idea of banning pornography or item number. Sexuality is not bad. Seeing the other sex as sexual is ok. Wanting to see porn or john abraham/ akshay kumar dancing to ‘tu mera hero’ is also ok (there are some rare ‘male’ item numbers). There is a problem when you see the other gender’s sexuality as something different to your own, when you don’t care about mutual consent, don’t respect people’s wishes to date/ not data/ have sex/ stay virgins/ do what they want with their sexuality.

          Sexuality is natural. Repression, gender discrimination and segregation make it unnatural.

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        • Do women want that?”For their bodies to be seen as natural and ordinary as it is in many tribal societies, left bare and uncovered”

          Yes, unhealthy obsession with women’s bodies will decrease, but if every part of a body is made as natural, as say a face or a hand, women will loose the power they have over men. It is this power that bollywood actress’s exploit to make their living. Actress’s like say a shabana azmi would certainly benefit but what about actress’s like deepika, katrina and other item number heroines?

          Like

        • Biwo,
          I agree that the more the female body is covered up, the more the unhealthy obsession with it. However, I still have a problem with item numbers. They have women skimpily dressed, dancing solely to please men, with come hither looks. They are a walking (or should I say dancing?) advertisement for the ‘bad woman’ an artificial construct that conveniently serves misogynists. And this is the worst thing – the item girls disappear after the item song, their purpose has been served. It’s like they don’t have a life, no work, no friends, no family, just loners who exist to entertain men.

          Instead, I’d like the item girl disappear and instead see women in movies wearing shorts, short dresses, etc. having a fun time with friends, dancing, and it’s shown as a good thing. They could then show them having regular lives, they go to work, go home to their families, go out with their bfs/husbands, etc. They are regular characters in the movie, contribute to the story, and not brought in for a 5 minute display.

          Like

      • True Bollywood reflects our society and also agree they have no agenda other than money. Yet Bollywood continues to perpetrate stereotypes and gives and as a mass media has such a tremendous impact on shaping people’s thinking – this is what I meant when I said ‘it feeds the patriarchy machine’.

        Maybe just as we are demanding changes to the law, we should start voicing our concerns about how they depict women in Bollywood and how this has a direct bearing on how they’re treated on the street.

        Like

  21. Pingback: Reblogged: What did Sharad Yadav mean by, ‘Who amongst us has not followed girls?’ | The Front foot

  22. Praveen (PT) & Charvaka,

    Bit busy, so late. Anyway coming to the point, there are many cases where women got alimony or maintanance even when she is earning enough. May be the maintanance law is bit fair and gender neutral in nature but still our society feels, it is the duty of man to protect and provide. So, generally men has to pay maintanance. And women organizations strongly believe this and vociferously supports it.

    Some court rulings …

    1. A man earning 2000 asked to pay 1200 INR (60% of his salary) as maintanance. The Irony is wife Nalini earning 9000 INR per month, four times more than her husband. Still, man has to pay the maintanance.
    Husband to pay 60% of salary as maintenance

    2. Wife doing job and earning 20,000 per month (She did MBA), still she got 40,000 per month as maintanance from her hubby who is of course an IITian, but seems lost job because of the legal mess created during divorce procedure. Ironically, they are married for 12 days only. And he has to face the dowry case also additionally. ( No doubt he lost his job and self confidence also).
    Rs40thousand per month: Woman gets whopping alimony

    3. And In one ruling man ordered to pay maintanance even though he is jobless. If the husband is jobeless then why he need to take care of his wife? Why don’t wife do the job and pay maintanance to him? or no maintanance at all from either of them. Judge said .. ” A husband has to take care of his wife somehow or other even if he is jobless “.
    Husband should pay maintenance even if he is jobless: HC

    Then where is the equality? Where are all those self respected women?

    Actually the problem is everyone interpret the law differently. It’s depend on judge. Some favours it, some don’t favours it. The general perception of the soceity influencing everyone.

    Like

  23. @Carvaka

    The problem with definiton of stalking or voyerism is they need not be interpreted in the same way as they mentioned. A girl may feel differently and can go and file a case. Police has to register the case. It is bailable, if it is a first offence but when this provision came? Only after the so-called un-educated and chavunist male MP’s protested, and voted agianst it. isn’t it? The original draft actually don’t have such provision.

    So, In reality there is no difference b/w Courtship and Stalking.If a girl want, she can file case in both incidents and can make man’s life a hell.

    Men in India, are very much thankful to these un-educated MP’s. Because they saved them from hell. Not to mention, the provision like guilty until proven, men has to prove their innocence will always make it’s a weapon of man destruction (WMD) just like 498A, DV and Rape Laws.

    Anti-rape bill is anti-male: Jaya Bachchan

    And what women orgs thinking is, if they terrorize men by enacting these laws and even by misusing them against men (many women feel, even misuse is also good, so men will fear a lot and behave well), they can reduce the atrocities against women. But it only short term. Then the revolution starts from men’s side. Already 498A created lot of mess, many men awaken and protested. But 498A only affected married men that too only wife can use them. So, many men saved. This Law (anti-rape law) is not like that. Any women can use on any man. That’s why Sharad Yadav and others opposed it strongly. May be their way of opposing is bad, the words they chose are not appropriate but their protest is not bad at all. It’s very much needed protest.

    Showing some extreme cases like NIRBHAYA incident, women orgs forced these laws on men. Let us see how many men who lit candles in Delhi keep their words. There will be none, who lit candles for them, if these laws are misused and make thier life miserable.

    Like

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