Sep 25, 2023
Sep 25, 2023
When Reena Mehra, fresh out of college picked up a black stone polished symbolic icon called a lingum sitting on what she imagined to be a shallow less.tub with a drain out built in it and began to use it as an ash tray, her aunt in Delhi was horrified. She shrieked,
“Reena! What are you doing girl? This is the holiest symbol in our lives – the Shiva Lingum!
Now, how can you blame Reena for her lack of knowledge? And how can you blame her aunt for her blind faith in anything that resembles a phallus?
Brought up on a diet of worshipping the shiva lingum, it was is not only a symbol of the “highest knowledge” which means salvation from the cycle of birth and death, it was a symbol of the union of purusha and prakrati, the feminine and the masculine energies, one an active force, the other a passive yet creative force. It is symbolic of the union of man and woman, for without this union, the world would cease to exist. It was her God. Such blasphemous acts as reported earlier on, of using a God as an ash tray, were unthinkable for her.
But Reena, poor soul, brought up in quite a different manner, could hardly feel with her aunt. She was a fruit basket she thought. Imagine using a stone for a God! In any case, what was God anyway?
The recent furor in Delhi, India, over the rape of a young girl by six men in a public bus, has caused as usual uproar of voices from different quarters. Politicians are using the incident to play up on the public mind, media is filling up its space with minute by minute report of the girl’s health and the Delhi Police chase to capture the culprits, etc etc. It is perhaps the worst time for the Delhi Police for the winter has now sat over the Delhi sky too, and while they would have had their time out with the “bottle” after collecting the “hapta” (bribe) for every other petty crime, they now have to chase the culprits, and in this they will not be paid, their hapta, or so we hope.
In all this you don’t hear a single loud resounding voice speaking on patriarchy, which is so deeply rooted in our society and cunningly woven into the fabric of our religion. The smart strategy was so well conceived that we cannot rise and rebel in the full, because we are preconditioned in one way or the other to let it pass; albeit after some hue and cry from all quarters. Up until today, India has not hung a single rapist, despite the fact, that where rapes happen almost every day, or week, and are reported, is the capital of the country.
Whether you think of Manu’s laws, or the state of Draupadi in the Mahabharata, one seems to wonder at how deep the roots of patriarchy must go, that text could be written to say that Draupadi, the wife of all the five pandava brothers, could be sold for the price of winning a game of chess by her own husband! It goes to show, that even if the Mahabharata was created by many authors over many years and lifetimes maybe, nobody seemed to object to women being always looked upon as commodities.
If for five thousand years a text is read, re-read and read again, and the role of the pandavas are not questioned, if life after life, one reads about the unspeakable audacity of Rama demanding that his wife Sita, who was stolen by Ravana, prove her “purity”, which in other words means that she had not slept with him, and generation after generation is made to read such text and imbibe them at early childhood, what can you expect out of a nation full of phallic worshipers?
There is a serious problem here, in the way, we are handling our women and unless that undergoes change and is uprooted from its roots, we as women in India can never be free of abuse.
But then, who is going to bell the cat? Won’t our worship of a six inches stick of muscle come in the way?