We need a new Indian Culture! Not the one with 'Sita' and 'Draupadi'!

             After an hiatus of almost a year, i did not want to write about anything sad. I may not even be the right person to comment on the issue owing to the fact that i am not residing in my home country any more and that no matter how much i scream and yell in protest, my words would lose their power and sting after travelling 22000 miles as they reach Indian populace which is a very limited readership that my blog has! and yet, i wanted to pen my frustration onto this blog after reading on and on about the Delhi gang rape in newspapers. There have been numerous discussions about everything related to the case. Right from the technicality of it, the apathy of our system, the protests turned wary as a constable died of cardiac arrest and the entirely foolish 'why it happened' analysis that tend to point fingers at the victim involved!

The amount of pain that the victim went through is not imaginable by someone like me who has always been protected by the family and friends. The scarring of the lifetime that her friend has is even more painful. She is gone but he still has to lead his entire life with the knowledge of what happened that fateful night. His remorse for what has happened must be the darkest at this hour! The poor guy must be batting off questions in his head about why and how! I am sure he must be wondering again and again about why he chose to ride that bus and hence revisiting the horror every single time! I am sure it was tough for her but i cannot turn blind eye to this man who will continue to have nightmares his entire life and may or may not be able to trust 'system' ever again!

As usual, we Indians are excellent at Root Cause Analysis. We just so have it in us to dissect every minute detail of an issue and then finally blame it on West! The statements about how the 'westernization' is the culprit behind all this reminds of a scene in movie Swades where the croaking 'mukhiya' talks about something that Amrika does not have - our culture, values and tradition! Mohan Bhargava's apt response to that is so valid even in this case.
Which Indian culture are we talking about?!
The one where Ram discarded his pregnant wife Sita on behest of an ignorant peasant?! The one where Sita had to 'prove' her innocence and chastity?!
The one where a woman was made to be shared by 5 men against her own wish? or the one where these very 5 men used her as a bait in a gamble and then lost her?
or the one where this menstruating woman, a princess by birth lost by her 5 husbands, was about to be undressed in a room full of men while her husbands useless enough to be called impotent  sat with heads bowed down?!
May be for us God is the culture so He had to descend down to save Draupadi from the 'vastraharan' but sadly God couldnt help the Delhi Gangrape victim as she underwent immense torture at the hands of few men!
Indian men of all should think 100 times before hiding behind the usual excuses of how West has polluted their culture. As far as women are considered, Indian culture was never bright to begin with!

During my 3 years of stay abroad, i have traveled many cities and can tell from my own experience that the men in the West are far more cultured in terms of treating women. Its more American fellows that keep the door held open for you and let you board the elevator first. Its more Indians that engage into catcalls than Americans do! I have never seen an American getting mad because his lady boss told him off. He could be mad about the words used or the feedback received but its hardly ever because its a woman telling him off.
I have seen many more examples of women letting their careers go to dogs to save their marriages in India than i have seen in the 'West'. I have come across Americans that refuse to take their wives, the home cooked meals, the washing and cleaning for granted than Indian men! A woman in west has a right over her body, her mind, her choices of whether or not to give birth to a baby! Instead of taking leaf out of their book, we only take what 'West' itself is trying to discard and then again instead of doing something about this selective aping of ours, we blame 'them' for what goes wrong under our own nose!

More shameful than these cases of rapes is the sick mentality of those who still try and find a justification of why it happened.Whats more disturbing is this blame game with the west and the audacity of people pointing fingers at the victim's dressing sense or the time of the day when she was out!
but at the end of the day if we have to blame it on culture then my question is that whether only women should be accountable for following the traditions and values? Are men allowed to forget that the country itself is called a 'mother'? If covering yourself up from head to toe is culture, is respecting women not? Was helping the naked and shivering victims when they were thrown off the moving bus not taught by Indian culture? Does Indian culture teach us to treat a rape victim as if it was her fault? or that she 'invited' the trouble and hence she must be of 'loose' character?! How many so called cultured men come forward to marry a woman that has have been victimized. Even our movies show men committing suicides when their wives were raped instead of trying to start afresh or to provide her the support that she needs in time such as this?!

and furthermore does Indian culture feel that absence of any physical assault on a woman is equivalent to respecting her 'enough'? that makes me laugh and cry at the same time! We Indians have very wrong ideas of respecting a woman to begin with! Respect is not only about considering her a human but considering a human of intellect, feelings and a voice of her own! Respect is all about not wanting to kill a baby girl while she still hasnt seen the world on her own! Respect is to not treat a son and a daughter any differently. Respect is to slap a boy hard the first time he shows misogyny in his behavior! Respect is to allow a woman to make her own decisions and to treat her in equal rights! Respect is what comes out of humility and not God or religion!

Its high time we write new stories for our children than Ramayana and Mahabharata that treated women like properties! we need stories of women that were able to overrule such notions! we need stories of women that tailored a new culture that respected women!


  1. Well said Sista ... Glad that someone thought of her friend and penned a few words ... About the stories, there is no derth of stories of powerful women. The choice still remains in telling those stories to children and imbibing such values in them.

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