I’ve known all types of love. Not including the kind of love a man and woman share (or a man-and-man or woman-and-woman or permutations and combinations of the above) but I’ve known love.
And that’s what makes me furious about what is happening around me right now in the build up to the all important V-Day. That anyone could beat, molest, scare away, kidnap, vandalise, shave people’s heads and more because somehow it’s wrong to LOVE, somehow it’s wrong to hang out at a pub, somehow it’s wrong to walk on the street at night, somehow it’s wrong to be empowered, perceived as doing things which only men are ‘allowed’ to makes me wonder how far has this oh-so-great women’s movement progressed since it’s inception. It’s like everytime we make some gains, patriarchy rallies around and comes out with new startling attacks to push us back before we even cry victory.
Not that there is anything new in this. Traditionally V-day has been a day for the Hindu right-wing to come out in all its glory and vandalise, trash and forcefully marry couples found out that evening. But these last few weeks, the controversy over the Mangalore attacks, the Shri Ram Sene and Mutalik and the kinds of comments coming from a variety of people shows how pervasive the insecurity of people regarding this elusive idea of Indian Culture is and how this insecurity is capitalised upon and heightened for political means. It has shown me the effect of a BJP government on a so-far liberal city like Bangalore. A city which has traditionally run according to the whims and fancies of the techies, run on foreign capital and influxes, well known for its night life and more has in recent past had curfews imposed, and threats of shutting down the pubs and clubs in the face of strong criticism from those who state that they are ‘safeguarding Indian Culture and Values’. Never mind that no one has any idea about what those values and culture entail.
And of course, the embodiment of that very culture and values is the Indian woman. Ever virtuous, ever dignified, ever pure, the woman who does not have the right to step out of her home, who does not have the right to pursue her dreams and her ideas because for heavens-sake, they might compromise our Indian values. And the moment they do, they are assaulted, demoted, denigrated because a woman cannot be promiscuous, a woman cannot be an alcoholic, a woman cannot be a go-getter. That is after all the man’s role and a man cannot take the fact that a woman would encroach into his space.
I’d like to fight for love. I’d like to send that pink chaddi to Mutalik. I’d like to toast myself and my kin at a pub on V-day (although I dont particularly like the sentiment behind the day, myself). I’d like to go out on the streets and into the ‘forbidden’ spaces: the board rooms, the car mechanics, the dance bar, Kamathipura, government offices, classrooms, sports fields (insert place here), and stake my claim there. Because nobody can tell me that I cannot do something because of me being a woman. Nobody can take away my choice from me.
(This turned into an all out rant and not a well thought out post. That will hopefully come in the future, although I know I keep telling myself that I will spend more time with this blog but I just don’t.)