Commentary on Sita Returns by Charu Walikhanna – Part 2

Women have always been plagued with issues. And Charu Walikhanna’s Sita Returns: Modern India Through Her Eyes talks about almost all of them, right from rape to honour killings. I spoke about 13 of the points mentioned in this book in a previous blog post. But I have 13 more points that I would like to highlight in today’s post.

You don’t have to read the previous blog post to read this one, but if you’d like to read it, here’s the link: Commentary on Sita Returns by Charu Walikhanna – Part 1.

Now on to the next set of realities that are so offensive, it makes you wish you were never born on this planet alongside the,.

14) “Once she (the daughter) is gifted to the bridegroom, the father’s duty is to reduce the attachment gradually.”

Because the daughter is a thing to be gifted by the father, a man, to the bridegroom, another man. Refer to point 13 for why it’s so messed up!

15) “Once a woman leaves her father’s house, only her corpse can return. This makes it difficult for a girl, even today, to seek solace in her father’s house if she faces a matrimonial problem.”

It’s not true for me but it is a reality for so many women across the country. And to feel unwelcome in the very home that gave birth to her – the very thought is debilitating. Imagine how the women who actually experience that must feel!

16) “It was a mistake to educate my daughter and send her to IIT. I should have saved all the money for her dowry.”

There are so many things that are wrong with this statement that the father of a female IITian made after she was found hanging from a ceiling fan on campus. The husband harassed her for dowry, but he isn’t blamed here. Instead, the woman is blamed for having studied and enlightening herself. What a world we live in!

17) The apex court’s opinion is apparently that a low conviction rate / high rate of acquittals in these (dowry/harassment) cases meant that the case is false or fake, totally overlooking the fact that the conviction rate in matrimonial matters is low because of pressure from the woman’s own natal family, pressure by police to compromise, ineffective investigation, prolonged judicial process, etc.”

We need a change of guard at the apex court if the people up there are THIS blind, THIS mental to think like this! It’s plain stupid!

18) “To women of noble nature, the husband is the biggest deity no matter whether he is ill-behaved or licentious.”

I’m trying so hard not to cuss and curse!

19) “Until the time when men do not have the courage to accept their mistakes, they will continue blaming the ‘Sitas’ of this world, and every woman will be expected to endure the accusations silently, without a chance for rebuttal.”

It’s more of a ‘many not all’ argument here. (I can’t believe I have to stress on this despite so many proofs and incidents in the past. Sigh.) It’s not only about men having the courage. It’s about them not wanting to. It’s about so many men reveling in their “masculinity”, in thinking that their maleness is proved by putting the blame on women and torturing them to no end! It is about them not even trying to make a positive change and ignoring it if it doesn’t serve their purpose!

20) “While there was much pontification about the duties of a devoted and virtuous wife, the scriptures were often silent about the duties and treatment by the husband to his wife.”

So when are we going to get some proper laws about this? We need the other kind of pontification too.

21) “Women who go out at night have only themselves to blame in case they attract attention of male molesters… Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night or wearing wrong clothes.”

This comes from Mukesh Singh, one of Nirbhaya’s rapists. He was the driver of the bus in which she was mercilessly raped.

First off, using the words ‘male’ and ‘molester’ as a phrase together – you know what the problem is. It’s YOU. Not anything. YOU.

And wrong clothes? Which world are these people living in? It’s okay for those men to scratch their crotch and thrust their hand down their pants to relieve an itch while their fake Jockey underwear shows? Because they’re MEN? But it’s not okay for us to wear what we want? One bra strap and the Mukeshes of this world cannot handle themselves and it’s our character that they point fingers at? It is this filthy thinking that we need to chuck out the window.

And even teachers teaching their students that Nirbhaya’s rape was her mistake and telling them not to wear jeans and lipstick is the level that we probably never thought we’d have descended to.

22) “Instances of woman behavior are not unknown, that a feeble ‘no’ may mean a ‘yes’. If the parties are strangers, the same theory may not be applied… But same would not be the situation when parties are known to each other, are persons of letters and are intellectually/academically proficient, and if, in the past, there have been physical contacts. In such cases, it would be really difficult to decipher whether little or no resistance and a feeble ‘no’ was actually a denial of consent.”

This coming from a high court. At least put yourself in their place and then talk, no? Here’s a hypothetical situation: What if someone overpowered you and had their way with you despite you giving a feeble ‘no’ because of being overpowered? Since you are “intellectually/academically proficient”, will that be alright? Will that mean that that feeble ‘no’ was consent? If the answer is no, you know what’s wrong with your head and your morals, you dumb morons!

23) “The Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Home Affairs observed that if marital rape was brought under the law, the entire family system would be under great stress and the Committee may perhaps be doing more injustice.”

Any family that condones marital rape isn’t a family. It’s one of the worst excuse for a group of people coexisting on this planet. And that committee should be disbanded and reconstituted with sensible people instead of whoever these idiots are.

24) “Any new law, especially relating to marital rape, will only create more distrust against women.”

Yes, because marital rape benefits the woman, no? More often than not, it’s the woman who’s the victim and you’re talking about distrust against women? How mental do you have to be to not see the problem with this statement?

25) “Society always takes its pound of flesh from a woman, who is expected to be pure of body, pure of mind, and pure in reputation.”

So true! And there’s absolutely no problem with a man being a complete demon. It’s okay if he inflicts torture on a woman because of all this “boys will be boys” kind of excuses. No? His masculinity and male ego are boosted because of that and he is pure no matter what. No? Bloody hell!

26) “Society devalued women, treated them shamefully, and blamed it all on fate.”

And when women stand up for what’s right, to get some justice, then they are seen as unnatural. Society thinks a woman is supposed to sit back and obey, all the while worshipping goddesses like Kali who is a role model for strength, bravery, and standing up for what’s right! And we’ve come a full circle, talking about how society is such a huge hypocrite.

*          *          *          *          *

Fin.

Picture Courtesy: Niyogi Books

If you’d like to buy this book after reading this article, please do so by clicking my Amazon Affiliate link given below. The price remains the same for you but I get a small commission off of every purchase you make.

Here’s the link: Sita Returns: Modern India Through Her Eyes

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