A New Navratri Beckons…

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A wise man once said, “Everything and Anything you say about India is true. We are among the richest nations while at the same time, we are also struggling to lift millions out of poverty. We have some of the best brains in the world and at the same time, the level of stupidity exhibited by most of our populace would put the word stupid itself to shame. We are also a nation that worships the most female deities and at the very same time, our actions have made life a living hell for women here in India.”

The last bit of this statement makes me question our existence, our thinking and our very beliefs, first as an Indian and then as a Hindu. While I find it hard to believe that any sane religion or sect would actively advocate the exploitation and discrimination of women (though, it continues to happen- most often than not in name of God), not a single day goes by without several scores of crimes against the women reported in national media, often perpetrated by men with a dubious desire to act godly in front of the masses. I can say this without any doubt that these crimes reported are only a tip of an iceberg and there is no doubt that several thousand, even million, crimes are not reported- often in fear of social stigma, bullying or criminal intimidation. Thus, it is very heartening to see that women from all walks of life have taken a lead in publically naming and shaming these predators and exposing the hypocrisy of their lives. The #MeToo movement is not just any movement. It is moment of change, a moment of revolution, a moment of truth for us all. Rarely, has a movement liberated so many and enthralled so much interest in our human history. And the entire cacophony of allegations, accusations and counter-barbs is not uncalled for. For too long, we have tolerated trolls, morons and worst of all, predators in our midst. Like giant birds of prey, these monsters, preyed on the weak by swooping down and grabbing the vulnerable among-st us in their talons. Some of these predators were ideal husbands, model nationalists, great men of intellect and our idols. But no more. Like the false gods of old, these predators must be smashed down in a million pieces and be brought to the book to account for their crimes.

However, in all this din, we need to question ourselves. Do we really need to stop at the naming and shaming of these predators or do we need to go further and make them social outcasts? Is there a constitutional law to handle these allegations and give the due justice to the women (and some men) who have been wronged by these predators? And the most pertinent of them all, how to stop these predators from taking hold in our society. Fortunately, the way ahead is easily visible for us all. Unfortunately for us all, the way ahead is difficult and steep. We need to change our perceptions, our way of living, and our very modes of entertainment if we are to stop the objectification of women among-st us all. This will require effort and time. A good place to start will be our classrooms and our bedrooms. The change will be slow but it will be for sure. Let’s us take a pledge this Navratri, that no longer will we tolerate this blatant glorification of misogyny and attempt to create a world, where we are judged and rewarded for what our deeds are and not by our gender.

May the Goddess Guide us all in this quest.

May she grant us the strength to stay on course.

May her wisdom be our light towards a society that’s equal for all.

May her love be the only motivation  to create a society that’s fair for us all.

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