lately, media reportings about islamic nations have much to do with terrorism and violent religious fundamentalism. whether it be changez khan or dzhokhar or tamerlan tsarnaev. khan and tsarnaez, two Muslims without one pacifist, the other tolerant. OR two muslims within, both living in america; one turned against america and the other, simply left instead of turning against america.
mira nair’s “reluctant fundamentalist” came at a time when the USA and the world at large discovered that the 2 “muslim” tsarnaev brothers had bombed the boston marathon. both changez khan – main actor in nair’s film- and the tsarnaevs had made america their home.
reluctant fundamentalist is interesting for its take on addressing the situation of individuals – muslims- who live in america and who are viewed as ‘terrorists’ in the eyes of many.
recently, i came upon a comment made by Saudamini from New Delhi in response to manohla dargis’ critique of reluctant fundamentalist in her “Dreams Are Lost in the Melting Pot” on April 25, 2013 at http://movies.nytimes.com/2013/04/26/movies/the-reluctant-fundamentalist-directed-by-mira-nair.html?_r=0&adxnnl=1&ref=movies&adxnnlx=1367433806-vfABNUD05kPRQWJMl+1NNg.
saudamini’s comment reads: “A Great Film – A must-see for someone living in an increasingly multi-cultural world. Of late, our conversations about Islamic nations have much to do with terrorism and violent religious fundamentalism. I found the movie (and the book) interesting because it addresses the situation of many individuals (in this case young muslims) where we are faced with a situation where members of a community hijack an agenda, ideology or an identity to the detriment of many. Where does that leave the scope of individual action? And how does one respond to this hijacking of ideology and an almost forced “with us or against us” attitude. I find the reviewers comments a bit one-sided and almost polemic. The idea of both the film and the book is to have an alternate voice to mainstream films and books, an alternative to a one-sided dialogue that equates Islam with terrorism – a reductionist view among many that we see in our news and pop culture.
The reviewer suffers from the same blight of reductionism. The film is more nuanced and the POV that it offers is much greater than the sum of cinematography.”
this is an interesting comment because it offers an explanation as to why, when i went to view the film, not a soul applauded. i’ve been at the moma to see many films [in all languages; different genres] which were applauded and i didn’t understand why – in some cases. in fact, i fell asleep on one recently which was so ho-hum yet the audience applauded. thank god they didn’t give that film a standing ovation as they do sometimes!
for me, a good film keeps me on the edge of my seat; my eyes wide open; my mind wide open whether throbbing with thoughts like those seen in “reluctant fundamentalist” or “argo” or whether in serene wakefulness like in “water” or “la vita e bella” or “cinema paradiso”. the people at lincoln cinema were reluctant to applaud the film and my guess is that it is due, not only to the recent boston incident or older twin towers, but to the idea that a good film being one which has an alternate voice to mainstream films. nair’s film awards us this alternative voice – as she gives to changez khan – and it enables us to confront that one-sided dialogue that equates islam with terrorism.
in reluctant fundamentalist changez khan is a princeton graduate, who lands a job at a prestigious financial firm in New York, falls in love with erica, played by kate hudson, who is not well cast but too witchy with that black hair and generally just not the right attitude for that role. changez is on his way to having it all when 9/11 intervenes. he is strip searched, interrogated because of his brown skin and pakistani origin and generally discriminated against. life becomes unlivable for him in the US. changez starts questioning who he really is, and although he comes to america, rises, captures the american dream, he returns to pakistan.
in lahore, changez works as a university professor, where his outspoken criticism of U.S. influence in pakistan wins him a vociferous student following. the C.I.A. suspects he is involved with terrorists and they have him under constant surveillance.
going back to the one-perpsective view: it is a risky proposition commercially to make a film about a clash of ideas in a foreign country, especially in pakistan. the film almost wasn’t made in fact when one prospective investor offered nair’s producer $2 million. nair told the investor that the budget would have to be much higher, and he replied: “you have a muslim as protagonist. two million is all it’s worth.” [http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/21/movies/mira-nair-on-the-reluctant-fundamentalist.html?pagewanted=all].
it was the Doha Film Institute in Qatar, which had initially agreed to finance half the film’s budget, which stepped in to cover the entire cost of the film which amounted to just under $15 million.
but even before reluctant fundamentalist there was karan johar’s 2010 “my name is khan” whose refrain during the whole film was “my name is khan and i’m not a terrorist!” this film explored the changez-khan effect that not all muslims are terrorists, but differently. my name is khan also casts a khan- shahrukh khan- who is also alienated in his new homeland. while shahrukh khan doesn’t reassess his identity as changez khan does nor reject his profession, he has the same message, only for the president of the USA: he is a muslim, and not a terrorist.
shahrukh khan in “my name is khan” doesn’t quit america and goes forth with his plan to deliver his message to the Obama. but, changez chooses a convergent path, and goes back to lahore, where he is tempted by a different sort of fundamentalism as the one he experienced in the US. in both cases he is reluctant to engage in any fundamentalism, but the americans in lahore do not see it that way. they see it one-way: he is the one responsible for the kidnapping of the american professor. and they only find out that he is NOT a terrorist when it is too late.
events like being searched, constantly under surveillance, marked by the FBI, CIA or police etc and these films give us a different way to see multiculturally, if we are ready. but, it is very difficult to do that now. i can’t help feeling that nair’s film would have been applauded had it preceded the boston bombing. it has been critiqued rather lukewarmly because of the unfortunate series of events surrounding muslims. but it is an excellent effort to let us into the mind of an alternative voice, if we are ready to hear or see. if we dispose ourselves to seeing differently, maybe we would see more changez khans: muslims who are NOT terrorists.
i spoke to an outspoken student who gave me her take on wearing the hijab. she chooses to veil and gave her reasons for it. she feels freedom wearing her hijab in the US where it is 'not' banned.
in the western world, feminists look at all muslim women as oppressed; they think that muslim women are forced to wear the veil,burqa, niqab or hijab and if they don’t, islam will rain punishment and more oppression on them [in the figure of their husbands or fathers or imams etc]. what lends credence to this western ideal of muslim womens’ oppression is that some muslim women attest do attest to this belief. they do say and do write that they are forced to follow the muslim code of law by wearing the hijab.
fadela amara -a young muslim woman in france- and author of breaking the silence, believes in equality of sexes in the muslim communities in france. for amara, who has seen young women die because they didn’t follow the moral code of their family and islam, she feels that the hijab is a symbol of oppression and alienation. it alienates muslim girls from french society and oppress them if they don’t wish to make the changeover to hijab after school etc.
in france, all educational establishments are secular. no ostentatious religious symbols are permitted: no crosses, no yarmulkes, no hijabs! muslim girls wear no hijab all day at school. otherwise they can stay at home and risk not getting an education since french doors will be closed to those who veil! but when they go home, they must quickly shift gears and don their hijabs in their homes and communities. sometimes girls forget to adjust from secularism to islam [and it is possible when you straddle two such distinctively opposite cultures]. but they don’t want to risk the wrath of, not only fathers and brothers, but the whole muslim community according to studies done at least in france and coming-out movies of women wanting to gain agency in islamic societies. a hijab CAN hide faces but voices, too and therefore can become oppressive for women when they are forced to silence themselves under the veil. in such cases then, it would be better served to give women a voice inside islam if they’re oppressed rather than giving them a voice in france.
it is conceivable though, that in other places of the islamic world, it is not the belief that the hijab is oppressive or alienating. in france it is but that doesn’t represent the entire world. in the USA where the twin tower bombing took place the hijab is not forbidden. the hijab is only alienating if others don’t wear it and make you feel out-of-place [like in france], or if others fear it or if it is a sign of some danger, like the poor swastika which has become negative ever since hitler adopted it for his nazism. the swastika is otherwise a religious symbol in india MINUS all the hitlerisms and negativity associated with it since the west adopted and oppressed it! and although the swastika was oppressed in germany and came from india, no one can don a caftan or shirt with a swastika in the USA!
could it be the same with the hijab then? it is just a piece of cloth draped on a woman’s head which can be quite elegant, striking, colorful etc. think cleopatra [above], whose entire head was covered, but who was the ultimate picture of beauty and exoticism in film. western film. or more recently, angelina jolie, the icon of sexiness in hollywood, who dons her hijab when she goes to a muslim country as a goodwill ambassador during her entire stay. her many hijabed photos are splattered all over US [and others i'm sure] magazines to show another side or avatar of this gorgeous woman! [see vogue-like photos above] is jolie oppressed?
so why must the hijab decide equality of sexes [according to amara and so many others]? why does the entire muslim faith depend on whether women wear the hijab or not? it is for france, and as a result, amara opts for laicity in france for muslim girls. her argument then is contextual, rather than religious. she’s seen the deaths of 2 girls already for refusal to comply with islam’s code, and therefore, she thinks it is best to not wear it, so as not to put other muslim girls at risk who may not wish to wear the hijab but still be muslim, like her.
if covering one’s head is being oppressed, is uncovering the head then being ‘free’ from oppression? if a muslim girl unveils is she free from oppression, if she is oppressed? does unveiling make her less muslim? or do we carry faith in our hearts and clothes is just an outside emanation of what we are inside [again like amara]? have we become “we are what we wear”?
if covering the body is freedom, is uncovering it a ‘lack’ of freedom?
is the group femen free because they exhibit their bodies, their breasts?
is a topless woman sunbathing in a public park in bastille free?
or is she just free from the clothes that bind her from getting a nice tan? why does the same woman cover up on the streets or at work? is she oppressed on the streets or at work when she covers up?
what about those women who want to wear a mini skirt or hot pants etc but can’t because their body isn’t perfect? are they free from oppression? and when they choose to wear mini skirts or backless or topless attire, is that freedom?
what exactly is this freedom from oppression that muslim women feel according to western women?
recently, in the nytimes a young women who performed rhinoplasty and lost 15 lbs suddenly found that the man she’s been eyeing forever asked her out. her question to the therapist was: is he only asking me to go out because of my looks? if the idea of being overweight or having a bad nose isn’t oppression for decades for this girl, what is? has this young woman been oppressed all of her life until she fixed her body to conform to an image she thought that guy would like?
we, in anglo-euro-america, are slaves of the image of the perfect woman, like this young girl who did rhinoplasty etc: straight or pug nose, size 4 or 6, pert breasts, the ability to bare your ‘goods’ when you want to etc and definitely tanned skin! this is liberty for women; for all women in some western worlds.
but the inverse of this liberty isn’t that oppression, too?
this constant struggle to ‘be’ like that unattainable image of the perfect universal woman? diets, plastic surgery to fix body parts to look like the rest, revealing clothes, makeovers etc have become the bane of some women’s existence to the point that it has become a condition of their existence. the only condition, as we see in the film MISS REPRESENTATION [2012, leslie newsrom]. we are stunned to discover the percentage of females of all ages who subscribe to this same image. the women in this film only succeed or are free from oppression if they attain that perfect image. we get the strong impression that these are the women who are oppressed by that ONE image that ALl women have to fit into or conform to. even the very young girls in the film sadly tell us that when they don’t fit into that image, they cut themselves [slitting wrists].
who is more oppressed? the veiled muslim woman who doesn’t have to subscribe to that perfect ideal of the western body image? or the euro-anglo-american woman – covered or uncovered – who lives a slave’s life to become that image? unless of course she has oodles of cash to keep everything from falling but then that, too, becomes an oppression! it is far easier to wear a veil than wear that burden of the perfect unattainable image!
maybe all women [and men] are oppressed and don’t recognize it. we don’t see the invisible chains we wear around our ankles, but they very much exist, in many different forms.
this idea of universal freedom of expression is felt to have been establised or born in the west, but every stratum of the world has their own freedom expression, and expresses it differently. and just maybe, their resistance to conform to the western definition of this ‘freedom’ is just their way of saying difference is ok.
according to Jennifer Hollie Bowles at http://theallegiant.com/top-12-strongest-female-movie-characters/?utm_source=taboola
bowles doesn’t define “strength” of the characters she chose, but we understand that “strength” is not just physical nor limited to age nor toughness but a combination of factors. all good, because some critics have a tendency to read one-sidely or from one perspective or from a limited perspective.
it is good that strength isnt defined as only ‘tough’ as per old feminism or ‘man-like’ in attributes. a woman doesn’t need to be man-like to be strong. nor does a man have to be muscular to emit strength. we should distance this physical characteristic in our portrait of strong female characters.
there are many factors which influence strength of a woman, depending on her social conditioning or culture or multiculture or convictions etc. as we live in a multi cultural society. strength is mutivalenced, mulitlayered, multi defined.
therefore, while these women chosen in this article are indeed strong we could add some non-hollywood female characters to this list, especially if the movies they star in are released first in america and stay in american theatres for a long time as well, and their directors live here, too. if you accept strong women to be women who never waver from what they believe in, are independent and question practices that marginalize women or children etc consider some of my favorites:
1. moushami [educated, independent who is offered a post at sorbonne] or 2. ashima [who leads an independent life after husband dies and goes back to her singing after she leaves america at the almost end of her journey] in “namesake” [mira nair]
3. shakuntala and chuyia in “water” [deepa mehta]: who both question the doctrines that trap women into ashrams for life and crumble those institutions
4. leila in “leila” [dariush mehrjui]: she holds steadfastly to what she believes never showing weakness to a culture which replaces women who can’t bear children.
5. judy dench in “best exotic marigold hotel”: intelligent, soft, charming character who finds acceptance elsewhere – in india – when hollywood refuses her and the other older americans. she rejects a culture that has no place for older women and remakes a life outside of USA
6. judy dench in “skyfall”- the mother of all roles to man that mission-impossible-ship!
7. sarah polley in the “secret life of words” : her resilience and silence to all the atrocities she’s seen and experienced and still shows great strength and believes in love
8. nandita das in “fire” [deep mehta], but nandita in most films is the epitome of strength. see “gravedigger’s daughter” where she goes crazy because her child is taken from her or “bawandar” where she stands up and fights the entire police system which tries to silence her when she’s raped and blamed for it
9. zouina in “inch’allah dimanche” [yamina benguigui] who stands up to her husband and mother in law in a culture where women are wives, mothers, daughters and invisibles.
one female student pleads for everyone to understand that men are HUMANS, capable of MAKING CONSCIOUS DECISIONS leading to logical reasoning. her society blames women for being raped. she doesn’t understand why women would even think it’s okay to be raped or feel inferior to men. the rape culture worldwide (not only India) is ridiculous she says, and people only see what they want to see. it’s easier to blame things like entertainment or how a women dresses than accept that the real blame has been rooted within our culture and our way of thinking all along. read her article : When I say culture I mean the rape culture worldwide, not just India: Rape in India (and elsewhere).
and that brings us to this ‘elsewhere’ problem of sexual violence which IS a systemic social problem in the world!
in france, two girls were killed because they didn’t follow the moral code of a muslim family. sohane benzaine was an 18yr old muslim girl who was set on fire in oct 2002 for her rebellious behavior by a local gang leader in vitry-sur-seine, surburb south of Paris. she was a victim of the kind of hyper masculine behavior to enforce islamist codes of sexual behavior that amara denounces in breaking the silence. or the other young woman, samira bellil, who had courageously spoken out in a book entitled dans l’enfer des tournantes denouncing the violent gang rapes of young muslim women for rebelling against the islamist dress codes and gender –based behavior imposed by their older brothers. the group ni putes ni soumises [neither hookers nor submitted/ defeated/subjected] was formed only because one woman saw that other muslim women in the ghettos in france had no voice. the group was formed also to combat the macho muslim men who constantly refer to young women as ‘all whores except my mother’
and to challenge those french observers who believe that if women are oppressed it is because they refuse to be rebel.
recently, in afghanistan or pakistan two were girls were shot and chopped because they spoke about this injustice or violence. there are many other cases which may not have made news, and go invisible like the women on whom they are perpetrated, but they do occur.
according to jackson katz, the reason people ‘kill the messenger’ of change or call names to those who ask for change is because they don’t like people who rock the boat. this is quite an interesting idea and evident given the dirty names those fundamentalists called the femen women recently ["dirty whores"/sales putes]; or names in the USA like ‘butch’ or ‘dyke’ etc; .
these “enemies” of change who name call, or kill or put up others to kill, are friends and family. how often do we hear statistics that 85% of sexual violence is perpetrated by someone a woman knows/someone familiar, even if it were for two minutes, or all their lives. katz quotes martin luther king’s ‘the silence of friends’ as the single most lethal weapon that makes sexual violence acceptable in society. the silence of those in power or those who lead, and who do nothing to voice violence against women. this silence from men is NOT a women-problem but a MEN-problem! katz suggests that men in power can effect a change in the way other men - who abuse and violate – see and view women.
katz attacks one women who thanks him for his sensitivity training of sexual violence towards women in the marine corps. he tells her he doesn’t do sensitivity training; why does he even have to teach sensitivity training re women’s violence? why don’t they know this? in the multicultural world which we inhabit, so full of different ethnicities, races, class etc, why do we need men or women to teach sensitivity towards others? doesn’t the very notion of multiculturalism imply that people are different and that because we live in this melting pot we should be able to share space and understand differences? not just in ethic or exotic cuisines.
according to katz we need men with moral integrity to stand up and speak out for women, because it is not a women-problem; men have wives, mothers and daughters who are affected by this violence and male nonchalance that we see and hear about globally when a woman is raped or violated.
there used to be an organization called “men can stop rape” at john jay college, CUNY NY, but it is no longer operable. katz understands well, like the organization ”men can stop rape” that the problem isn’t women or what women are wearing to provoke violence like rape etc but men, and their own actions. we could say katz is feminist, but whether feminist or not, he’s got the problem nailed! macho societies need more influential people like him to tell it like it is for change to occur. there are men who can never see or understand a woman’s point of view. sadly, we live in this macho world where only a man’s words have force, in some milieu more than others. a man can say exactly the same thing that a woman has been saying forever, but only when the same is said from another man [in power] will other men listen!
the message and bottom line should be form these men and women that ”Any man not invited into your body is not welcome!”
what do sarah polley, michael haneke and the french artist JR have in common?
they are all three uncommon artists. they are non Americans [one canadian, one french and the other austrian] and their chefs d’oeuvre center on the older generation.
JR’s wrinkles of the city was featured in an extremely tiny blurb in allure magazine april 2013 on page 108. notice how the article occupies a space less than half of the size of a magazine page :
the condensed montage of old people and buildings plus the text [part of which i include below] fit into a skinny column approximately 2.5-3 inches wide. it is hardly visible to the eye and certainly not like not like the large image of the blond girl next to it showing us how to stay toned, young and beautiful. a pity allure gave such a minuscule space to such a huge work of art!
in reality, and not in the magazine, Jr plastered wrinkles of old people from around the globe on 100 foot walls:
here’s a part of the article from allure.
allure: what inspired you?
JR: old people are witnesses to another time. i wanted to dig into what their wrinkles mean
allure: how did you find your subjects?
JR: i looked for faces in parks or on street. people who have lived in the sun have stronger wrinkles in cuba, especially. in shanghai, it’s a different way of life, and it is harder to find wrinkles there. ninety-nine percent of the people i asked [to pose] said yes. i expected more to say no, but at that age, they don’t care. except in los angeles. they don’t seem to see wrinkles as a sign of beauty.
los angeles. hollywood, where old age is shunned in favor of perpetual youth culture. where there exists pots and jars and tubes full of all sorts of cream to get rid of wrinkles. wrinkles like old people, both of which face the same destination; some forgotten place, not easily visible.
like JR, who shows huge close-ups of old people superimposed on buildings, polley and haneke portray old people in away from her and amour, which won the oscar for best foreign film of 2012. and quite deservingly so.
haneke treats an aging couple in amour and explores what happens when one becomes too sick to endure life, and has to be put to rest [see my blog on this and other films at http://crossingfrontieres.wordpress.com/2013/02/24/death-in-amour-not-an-easy-virtue]. polley in her 2006 away from her explores a kind of ‘putting to rest’, too. she shows what ensues when one person in a very loving couple is afflicted with alzheimer’s disease and has to be institutionalized. it is not uncommon in the west to see old people put away when they get old [one of my classes said it was quite normal].
haneke’s riva refuses to get help from outside sources to cope with her aging maladies, but polley’s fiona anderson actively pushes the husband to seek help from a third-party to diminish her malady. fiona is institutionalized due to her escalating alzheimer’s disease and the husband must face an epiphany when she transfers her affections to another man, Aubrey, a wheelchair-bound mute who also is a patient at the nursing home where she is institutionalized. both films show a very loving couple during their golden years, but polley veers off into memories, not actuality, like haneke does.
memory, which can warm you inside, but can tear you apart. if only memory had that capacity of a photograph to disappear the moment it is captured! we want some memories to go or disappear like the moment a photograph is captured, never to come back! remembering is not easy for fiona, but forgetting her husband’s affair is even harder. forgetting her husband’s affair twenty years ago comes easily to her forgetting mind. it is this memory which fiona gets stuck on.
polley complexifies memory in the anderson couple. for the first half of the film, we see a fit-as-a-fiddle fiona, well dressed in a white sweat suit, getting lost when she goes out. she gets lost quite in style! we see her forgetting completely where she lives and requiring the husband to drive around town to search for her in the wooded, snow packed area where they have a house. he finds her once on a road looking out into the far beyond, over a sort of flyover. in one scene, she forgets how long they’ve had the house they live in [twenty odd years] or why they lived there. she often forgets what she sets out to do. but in the second half of the film and on the way to the institution, she vividly recalls her husband’s affair with a student – which is what brought them to live in the woods, far away from the rest of the world. they had moved there to get away from that period and pain when all his professor friends were sleeping with their young female students, as he did, too. but, he was one of the few who wanted to save his marriage. so, he quit teaching and moved deep into the woods with fiona, who has a beauty beyond words.
it is interesting to note that in Alzheimer’s’ patients, it is their old memory which stays and the more recent memories are forgotten. fiona’s memory does work like that, too, though she does forget how long they have had their house, which constitutes [very] old memory.
in a study [by Meek PD, McKeithan K, Schumock GT. Economic Considerations in Alzheimer's Disease. Pharmacotherapy] in 1998, an estimated $100 billion is spent each year to treat Alzheimer’s’ patents. the ageing of society in america has become a social problem and will increase since there are no known cures for it. in the year when polley’s film was made – 2006- there were 26.6 million sufferers worldwide, and alzheimer’s is predicted to affect 1 in 85 people globally by 2050 [Brookmeyer R, Johnson E, Ziegler-Graham K, MH Arrighi. forecasting the global burden of alzheimer's disease. Alzheimer's and Dementia. 2007].
it is good then that polley chose to put it out there in film if just for public knowledge, because it is something much-needed for those families whose parents suffer from that and who blame and ignore their parents for it. but polley goes further and creates two love stories out of it, showing in both cases that alzheimer’s patients are capable of loving and caring. and although fiona is always staggering into forgetfulness with her husband, she doesn’t forget the man who loves her and whom she loves at the institution. she fusses over him, and he, over her, like first loves, while she forgets her husband of many, many years. it could be that she wants to forget her pain, and alzheimer’s is just a cover up to do that. or it could be that she wants to punish him for her pain; that she wants him to suffer as she has. when she veers off into her reverie with such ease about his affair, it is as though it just happened. he’s dumbfounded in the car on their way to the institution by her remembering, as she talks about it with crisp and amazing details like the smell of trees or color of the flowers that day her pain was born. her memory is capable of jumping over the twenty years she forgot about their house, but not the affair. that affair had to have affected her at a deep level to have been remembered with such clarity.
i am happy to see old people in film in hollywood screens, whether or not they are hollywood creations. old people like fiona, riva and trintignant are precious and are treated like demi gods in some cultures. their wisdom is unmatched, as is their intuition, which doesn’t always tie in to what we think in the west as ‘smart’. ‘book sense’ doesn’t carry the same value or weight as intuition in some cultures. JR’s old people, whom he describes as witnesses to another time, reminds me of such demi god status of ‘old people’. it reminds me of my grandmother’s wrinkles which i thought were beautiful and spoke a story of their own. her wrinkles had a permanent smile to them, and an intuition and beauty that her total being radiated. JR’s old people reminds me of the griots in the african cultures, beautifully wrinkled old people who pass on traditions, culture, wisdom to the young. griots are like walking encyclopedias in those cultures, like my grandmother was, always quoting proverbs that she made up which seem so full of vivid images, specific to her life and time and reality, like fiona’s. while polley and haneke don’t remind me of my grandmother or JR’s old people, they do pay great homage to this forgotten race of people in film. JR’s faces are etched on huge walls, as my grandmother’s in my mind. and it is a huge pleasure to see that hollywood is rewarding haneke and polley on that subject. more power to haneke and polley for setting the stage in this 21 st century! i cannot wait to see what others, who follow in their footsteps, will create.
as someone trying to understand rape culture and having already written some blogs on this out of sheer frustration with the spate of rape in india, what struck in this blog are these 2 salient points:
1. A man rapes his sister and kills her over property dispute: Why rape when killing could do the job??
and i submit, as i did before, it is not about sex, but about control. if it is indeed a question of killing her off and having her property, why rape her? why even rape a kin? and this shows the sickness of that rapist’s mind!
2. what stuck a chord is the fact that the blogger suggests that we keep in mind that the moral education could only reform the educated class. The uneducated rapists should however be talked in the only language they understand – The stringent of punishments.
something i hadn’t thought about at all because we always feel language could persuade someone to undrstand, but perhaps this blogger is right on the nail if it keeps happening with no indemnity. and therefore, as he/she quite rightly suggets punishnemnt should be inflicted to the fullest extent for repeat offenders!
and on the same topic: why would a twenty something yr old man rape a 5 yr old? and this rapist is married? it’s like that brother who killed the sister for her property: why did he rape if he wanted to kill her anyway? and why did this man marry a 2o something yr old if he really wanted 5 yr olds?
driving one heavily rainy day towards my mother’s house last summer, my nephew asked me why india hasn’t taken off like USA or any first world society, if they produce such intelligent people whose expertise are always in demand.
a question i am pondering about always as it’s not a simple one.
consider some of india’s foundation stones:
1. the legacies of the british rule and earlier systems of rule that helps us to understand its geography and development
2. its nation-building and economic development that was presided over by nehru [1889-1964], then indira gandhi, his daughter, who served from 1966 to 1977 and then again from 1980 until her assassination in 1984, and is the second-longest-serving Prime Minister of India and the only woman to hold the office, then Rajiv gandhi. their rules took from the washington and westminster systems of gov’t.
the constitution of india was created to embrace democracy and federalism and to provide individuals with fundamental rights against abusive gov’t power. although nehru expected caste and religious identities to wither away in an aggressively modernizing india, it didn’t quite work out that way.
instead, caste identities were not dissolved and re-invented.
hindu nationalism has always had a strong cultural dimension so that the hindu-muslim tensions post independence do not seem to go away. the demolition of the babri masjid in 1992 in ayodhya followed by the mumbai bombings in 1993, then the 2002 gujarat anti-muslim pogrom proves that this grey zone is discoloring india’s nationalism and economic liberalization.
india is one of the world’s fastest growing economy and a beacon of high-tech modernity, but its threatening mutiny is women.
silence and teargas are still models of policing in india, while other so-called third world nations are putting out nuclear weapons.
the response of the ruling centre-left congress party to the protests in india was silence and teargas. “our model of policing is colonial,” a senior officer in south Delhi explained. but the colonialists left India 65 years ago and the country has moved on.
yet india remains stuck in old ways of thinking about various matters. but its greyist ‘areas of darkness’ to use naipaulian terms, are ‘women’ and the ‘caste system’ : these two mega forces will not permit india to fully move forward.