Some Ramblings - Pink by Srinivas Kanchibhotla
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Myth No. 1 - The root cause of all this is lack of iron will, iron fist and iron hand as far enforcement is concerned

The unwitting lady simply tagged along with a friend whose acquaintance invited them to a few drinks into the fraternity house that evening, and after a few rounds of drinks and the surrounding haze that followed, was systematically and brutally violated by the pledges, who then proceeded to record the event for their progeny by whipping up their smartphones and recording every horrific detail of the assault in high definition. Not surprising is the sad fact that this is similar modus operandi of all such shameless acts that happen year after year after year at the college campuses all over the US of A, a country that prides itself on fair and swift justice delivered by the merciless agents of law enforcement. Even more surprising is the situation that most of these kinds of violations go unreported for the fear of shame and guilt. Again, this is the US of A, where women have long been 'liberated' and 'emancipated', asserted their place in their society by occupying all the top chairs along side men, fought hard and won almost all the battles involving their bodies, rights and choices (and sometimes all the three). How could these incidents recur on an alarming basis in such a land whose enforcement is disentangled from corrupt clutches of power, influence and money? Which brings to the question whether the tough teeth of the justice is deterrent enough to the blind nature of the passion crime?

Myth No. 2 - Women bring it on themselves by putting themselves in places where they never should have been in the first place.

Choose the right dress that covers up the whole body, choose the right words that leave no room for any misinterpretation or misrepresentation, choose the right people to be around with, and more importantly, choose the right place to be in at all times. Whenever any incident involving violation of modesty is reported, the first thing that is checked is whether any of the above 4 cardinal rules have been transgressed, and if found to be, all shock rescinded, all sympathies nullified, well, all bets are off. Misnomer it is, that word "choice" in those rules above, because it is exactly the lack of that, that is forced through the gullets of women, should they care for their dignities and modesties. On a different note, if this is what the moral police in primitive societies (Saudi Arabia, Taliban controlled Afghanistan, Militia controlled Northern Sudan, Somalia etc) is currently enforcing with clubs and lashes, the rest of the 'free' society howls in unison about the lack of choice of women. How is this for Hobson's choice on free will for women, choose to not do something, or not have a real choice of doing something, because damned if you do, and damned if you don't, but damned either way in either cases. Lost totally in all this scripture setting exercise for the model conduct of women in modern society (or for that matter, primitive societies too) is the behavior of man, because as everyone knows.....

Myth No. 3 - Men are animals (with due respect to animals), it is women who have to reign men by reigning themselves in.

Men are pigs, men are "accepted" to be pigs, men are "expected" to be pigs, it the women's job, duty and responsibility as home-makers and society-shapers to mould the minds of men for better or worse. When a girl dresses "provocatively", it is poisoning the mind of the man into doing the unconscionable, when a girl talks "freely", she is waving the green flag to be "taken over", when a girl eyes something "differently", it is an invitation to come hither. As that Javed Akhtar lyric for "Afreen Afreen",

Ankhen Neechee Hoyee To Haya Baan Gayeen
Ankheen Oonchee Hoyee To Dua Baan Gayeen
Ankhen Uth Kar Jhukeen Too Ada Baan Gayeen
Ankhen Jhuk Kar Utheen To Qata Baan Gayeen

When men could read so much into something as inconsequential as a woman batting her eye-lids, no wonder they go crazy at women talking, moving, and dressing...well, occupying the same space as the males, doing the same thing as the males, living life just like the males. Man has been a hunter-gatherer, genetically and mutationally, for ages. He started off in the forests constantly venturing out, looking out for better options and bringing home the game. His virility and strength was weighed on how prized his possession was. In effect, woman became as much a trophy for man, as a deer's antlers or a boar's head. Man's survival was his strength and woman's survival depended on watching out for that strength - sometimes harnessing it, at times saving herself from it, which points to the fact that the basic rules of survival for both the genders have been set in opposition. Has thousands of years of evolution changed anything though in regard to that mindset of man, while the rest of facets of his life and living have changed (and continue to change) drastically?

And now, the reality.

The truth always lies amid contradictions, particularly when it comes to the treatment of women in the current society. Rape statistics point out that there are as many as 25,000 reported incidents of outraging of woman's modesty in the previous year. In a country of a billion, with roughly half that size being women, those incidents account for 5 hundredths of a percent. Is 25,000 too few a number to be termed an epidemic of some sort or 25,000 one too many? Women's dressing alone does not bring out the animal in the man, nor just her "free" talk, nor being alone in a "compromising" place, nor just the fact that there is that luridness lurking in some corner in every man waiting for the right chance to pounce. In most cases, it is the lethal combination of all the above (or some of the above) that sets back the concept of complete liberation of the woman in the society one statistic at a time. So is rape about sex? power? control? degradation? The answer, like above, is all of the above, some of the above and one of the above. Having identified this thought clot in the human brain, is there a cure to this? Diseases can be cured completely, mindsets can only be changed to an extent, with the caveat that they can flip back on the turn of a dime, given the right dire circumstances. Which brings back Myth No. 3 that men are incurable, it is up to women to protect themselves in whichever way possible and even if that means dressing demurely, talking decently and behaving dignifiedly, because, for diseases that have no cure, the best that could be done is only on the prevention side of things.

'Pink' needs to be soundly applauded for bringing this discussion out of the shouting halls of media rooms and screaming headlines of the newspapers and putting it on the silver screen, currently the only medium left for any sort of subtlelty and sensitivity. Years ago, John Grisham penned one of his acclaimed works 'The Chamber', about abolition of death sentence, but it does in a shocking way of fighting for the right to life of an individual that indeed deserved the death sentence in the first place for brutally murdering innocent children. Similarly, 'Pink' would have driven home its message of 'No means No' better, had the protagonists not been the garden variety independent working women, who would have garnered the requisite sympathy for their situation already, but really ones working the streets. Now, that would have been a moral and a legal message worth remembering (not that the dignity of a regular working woman is any less!). 'Pink' almost makes that argument when the prosecution accuses the already wronged women of being one of loose characters, and one of the women turns that logic around and asks whether a rape is 'warranted' or 'called for' or 'justified' even, when the woman in question is of questionable character. Very powerful argument that! Movies as these cannot really bring about a groundswell change in the current society, as everyone knows the reasons and root causes of why such incidents occur when they occur. But by focussing and verbalizing the long held misconceptions and wrong notions about how women should be and behave in the modern times, they force the society to do an introspection on what it thought was condone-able behavior of men towards women, and force the 'civilization' to what it has always done to survive a collapse and an extinction, and that is, to EVOLVE!

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