Sexual harassment thrives only on the fear and complacency of women

Bollywood actor Tanushree Dutta seems to have opened up a massive cupboard of skeletons of sexual harassment. So many women in the corporate world are taking to Twitter to narrate their tales of similar sordid experiences at the hands of men and vent their anger. The hashtag Metoo is trending like fire on Twitter. Though I am glad that this discussion is finally happening, sadly, women are opening up with their stories years after their ordeal. Why? Because they were forced to hush up for the sake of their careers and lives. Why again? They were more fearful of the backlash and repercussions from the society. They simply had nowhere to go so they had to gulp down the venom and stay quiet.

Before getting into sexual harassment we need to understand what sex is. The answers are in the very foundations of our existence. We share many common traits with animals and one of them is procreation. Why do male species of animals exist? Essentially to reproduce. Their purpose is to pass on their sperms to the females. Male butterflies and males of some species of animals engage in a frantic race without even having food to deposit their sperms inside the ovaries of as many females as they could before they die. There are many more bizarre cases of reproduction process in nature. In many species including ours, males have evolved into taking care of their families. Human males have never been monogamous which is why society was created and marriage as a concept was enforced upon us. Marriage to me was actually a desperate measure to control the reproductive urge of men. When this was not enough, prostitution was created. This is why the Devdasi concept was introduced in ancient Indian society. Upper caste males were allowed to prey on girls and women from the lower castes and satisfy their sexual needs so that they would stay away from girls and women of their own castes. The term sex in itself exist only in our world and is not part of the animal world. Intercourse is just one aspect of the entire process of procreation among animals. But we have made it complex and convoluted. From discovering and understanding foreplay to creating contraceptives to writing an entire book on sex positions, we have actually wasted a humongous amount of our time and energy on something that was actually meant to be a clear and simple process.

Now where does sexual harassment come from? Males of all species in nature are supposed to woo females before mating with them. They engage in fierce battles to win over the right to mate with females. Male birds dance before the females, bring food, build nests and do an array of other things as part of the wooing process. This is why males of all animal species are beautiful and brightly colored. Only among us are women required to color themselves up and look good which for me is one more example to illustrate how male chauvinism dominates human society. What we call as flirting is actually the wooing process in nature. Thousands of years of societal rules have ensured that men don’t ask for sex the moment they like women. But there are men who do it nevertheless. One category consists of the ones with prominence in the society who misuse the value bestowed upon them by people and who knows how to use their influence to clamp down mouths and keep their dirty secrets in the dark. The other category consists of people from the lower strata of people without enough education and without proper nurturing who grew up seeing women getting treated with contempt and without value. The raging debate currently is about the first category. But there is only a thin line that separates the two categories. In both cases, men begin with flirting and move towards seeking sex. When both doesn’t work, men of first category resort to sexual harassment and men of second category indulge in rape. Why? The only difference is, men of the first category have too much at stake to lose if they resort to rape.

But why does all of this happen? Because women blame fellow women for their ordeals. Why? Because there is a huge gap in the mental makeup of women from older and current generations. Women from older generations used to suffer immensely and surrender to the whim and fancies of men to keep the relationships from breaking apart. But this goes a lot deeper. Men with power and influence in the past used to try and hook up with women they fancied. Some women in turn used men’s lust for sex to satisfy their own societal needs. This is very much in relevance and vogue even now. This is the origin for the need of complicity. This is why men expect all women to comply and give in to their needs which is why men often say when another man’s wife doesn’t have a problem doing something why are their wives complaining about it. So the burden of blame falls squarely on the shoulders of women who do not want to comply. This is why women cannot go to other women and open up about their ordeals because of the fear and apprehension that older generations could put the blame on them and use it as an opportunity to make them give up their careers for a domesticated life and their more naive friends and peers could possibly advise them to give into the wishes of men and keep quiet about it to save their careers.

Women of modern times have hardly reasons to complain though. Here is the amazing and heart wrenching saga of Nangeli (https://www.speakingtree.in/allslides/did-you-know-19th-centurys-breast-tax-in-kerala-is-the-darkest-spot-on-humanity-ever/401758). In the erstwhile Travancore kingdom in Kerala about 300 years back, women from the lower castes were forced to walk around without covering their breasts and had to pay taxes based on the size of their breasts. Nangeli chose to defy the demented rule and all the ensuing odds by covering her breasts. When authorities came to collect taxes, she chopped off her breasts, gave them as tax and bled to death. Her act of unimaginable courage was enough to stop this horrendous practice forever. When the entire society was complacent, all it took was one woman’s sacrifice to bring about the change.

Its a pity that educated women still fear backlashes from men and society, suffer the ignominy of sexual harassment and choose to speak about it much later. They need to look for inspiration from history, from the lives of heroic women like Nangeli who chose to not bow and lay down their self respect and integrity at the feet of men and societal diktats. Sexual harassment and sexual predation continues to exist because women in the past have shied away from opening up their torturous lives to the world. Speak up and force the society to change now. That is the only way to make the lives of the future generations of girls and women better and safer. Nangeli, Joan of Arc, Rani Laxmi bhai and countless more brave heart women must be looking down and smirking at the pathetic state women have put themselves in.

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About sexuality and objectification of women

Two recent incidents have been the source of my inspiration of this blog. One was a witty and animated conversation with a friend on a social network about what being sexy truly means. Second is an interview of an Indian movie actor whose intimate scenes in her latest movie has been separated out and is being distributed as her sex tape (http://www.ndtv.com/video/entertainment/the-buck-stops-here/comfortable-doing-nude-scenes-it-s-liberating-actor-radhika-apte-428793). The best comeback to this was made by none other than her co-actor in the movie who has questioned why this has not been labelled as his sex tape.

Objectification of women does not date back to the dawn of humanity. Our evolution into the present form has been a long and winding road. Society and societal rules were not formed without any reason. Like all other animal species, we have also been created with the innate desire to become a dominant species on the planet. When we started procreating, we were procreating randomly and that had clearly led to genetic disorders. The story of Noah’s ark is a clear indicator to this as to why the so called Gods decided to destroy the world and restart life. Then societal boundaries were set up and humans were forbid to procreate randomly like before. Monogamy was introduced to further strengthen the rules. Then there was a long period of time when women were adored and even worshipped for her sexuality and her divine ability to create and nurture new life. Now when it comes to sexuality, how do we define it? Here are 10 best reasons to define what sexy means (http://www.theearthchild.co.za/10-traits-that-exude-sexiness/). A woman’s personality is what is supposed to make her sexy. What a woman is wearing and dissecting the individual parts of her body to satisfy a man’s sexual needs are not the reasons to classify a woman as sexy. From those times when women were worshipped, things started going horribly wrong for them during the course of time.

The first instance of objectification of women I can look back at is when the devdasi system was introduced into the Indian culture. Young girls from the lower strata of the society were put up to satiate the sexual needs of men from the upper castes. I am sure this system was practiced in other civilizations as well, especially with the girls and women who were captured and enslaved during wars. But even at that time, there were powerful and influential women who even ruled kingdoms, like Nefertiti and Cleopatra. But the rot that had set in was gaining control over women’s existence and individuality. The introduction of Christianity and Islam was clearly the death knell. The Church purportedly burned more than 50,000 free thinking women on stakes during the Dark Ages by labelling them as witches. We all know how strong a woman Joan of Arc was and what her fate was. But by the twist of fate, strong women always kept emerging. The Queen of Jhansi in India is another example who had to give up her life fighting for being a strong woman.

I believe that women live a subjugated life even now because they choose to do so. The 50,000 women who chose fire over persecution had chosen to give up their lives rather go down on their knees. This should be enough inspiration for all women. But then there is a catch here that is the root cause of all that women has and is still having to endure. When young girls in ancient India were made sex slaves for the upper class men, the objective was to keep them away from the girls and women in the upper class itself. Through time, women have been the biggest enemy to themselves. Women have stood and watched other women being persecuted by men with no compassion. This, I believe has been the primary contributor to the creation of the male dominated society we live in now. When women themselves have no empathy and compassion towards their own kind, nothing can get worse for them. No matter how well a woman is dressed, her eyes are always on what other women are wearing and how they are looking. Though I do understand that this is evolutionary and a woman has to look her best to attract a man and procreate with him (best exemplified in the movie Species), we no longer live in a time where we need to procreate to maintain the dominance of our species. I am yet to comprehend why most mother-in-laws and daughter-in-laws in India share cold relationships and what is ironic is that mothers first insist that their sons get married and once the marriage is done, the cold war starts at home.

The best example of objectification of women I believe is in the concept of virginity of women. I had wondered for long what this means and my perplexity increased after I understood the biological aspects of it. Then it dawned on me one day. Sex or making love, no matter how we choose to call it is one way of how women discover themselves and every time she learns something about herself, her personality gets elevated. The objective of the system is to never allow a woman’s personality to grow to a point where she starts getting worshipped again. So virginity is made compulsory so that a woman experiences only what she gets from her husband in bed. This makes it easy for men to ill treat women and stamp down on their individuality thereby crushing their personality. This is why I believe 90% of the women in India may have never experienced what an orgasm is in their whole lives. I have heard men say that the best way to keep a woman busy at home (enslaved) is to fill up her stomach (their cringe worthy way of saying getting her pregnant). Irony is, mother-in-laws advice their sons to do the same with their wives. If this how women treat their own kind, what equality and empowerment are they fighting for with men?

Lastly, I do not understand what actors in India aim to prove by showing love making scenes on screen. I am quite sure 90% of Indian women themselves will not approve of such scenes. Their minds are already constricted by the rules they live in every day and one or a hundred love making scenes is not going to make any impact that will stay long enough to start liberating their minds. If women have to liberate themselves they will have to set aside their differences, stand up together and make it happen. I always think of this one scenario where what would happen if all the women in the world decide together to not procreate and have babies anymore. They can bring down humanity and the male dominated society in one stroke. I would exhort women to do something like this rather than expose their skin on screen and cause more objectification and ridicule to their own kind. The best they can achieve with this to make men expect more from their women in bed and if it doesn’t materialize it ends up in women getting ill-treated and men going outside in search of satiating their fantasies, which has the cascading effect of promoting prostitution, porn and more girls and women getting enslaved to the male dominated system.

 

Dissection of a failed Indian marriage

The story of a friend amply illustrates what is wrong with arranged marriages in India, especially in the Hindu society. She was in her final year in college when she got her first marriage proposal through a relative. The relative knew the guy and his family well so when she heard everything about the guy, she got quite interested. Then came the shocker for her. Their horoscopes didn’t match. She was asked to move on and consider other proposals. Finally, her family found a guy whose horoscope matched with hers and that’s all mattered to them. She was married off against her wish. Then her husband forced her to conceive when she hadn’t finished her education. After having the child, her husband told her that he was in a relationship with another girl before marriage but he couldn’t marry her because their horoscopes didn’t match. After being in a married life for close to a decade, her life stands in the middle of nowhere with a failed marriage and a child to take care of. I am going to dissect this story to delve into the process of arranged marriage that is becoming redundant in Indian society.

1) Marriage when in college

The worry for parents starts as soon as a girl child is born to them. As she grows up, the primary concern for parents is not her upbringing, but to save money and jewels for her marriage. Any girl who is above 23 years and not married is frowned upon. Society assumes that there is either something wrong with her or something wrong in her family. So things come to a boil as soon as she enters her final year in college. Education is the most precious gift we can give to our children. Then why the fuss over saving money and jewels for her when we are making her capable enough to earn all the money and comfort in life she needs? When boys can finish college and figure out what they want to do with their lives, why can’t girls have the same choice? Right from the time girls reach puberty, they are groomed for a married life. Learn to cook, learn to maintain house, given discourses on managing babies, etc. Everyone has to know these things, be it a man or a woman. Then why burden only women with these things in the name of marriage when they are going through the rigors of education just like men? 

2) Astrology and Hor(r)o(r)scope

The fact most people and astrologers do not know is, astrology is used for match making to understand what will happen when two people with different energies are bonded in the most intimate and intricate relationship. Wrong interaction of energies can even cause death to one or both partners. But astrology evolved into a lot more than that primarily because there were times when girls were not allowed to step out of their homes and meet men outside their families, so there had to be a way for match making and we looked up to the stars for answers. That is how astrology became so elaborate. Marriages were fixed by the families and the girl and the boy used to see each other for the first time only after marriage. The world has evolved from those times long back but our inertia to change is keeping our society rooted to the decayed customs. What is happening now is, the boy and girl are allowed to meet each other only if the horoscopes match. When I say let the boy and girl meet once and decide if they want to take this further, I get ridiculed. So what this basically means is, once horoscopes match, families check out each other and if it comes to the point where the boy and the girl meet, that meeting becomes a mere formality as both families have already decided to go ahead with the alliance. Where is the point in time when the boy and girl are given the opportunity to express their thoughts? So what happens most of the time is forced marriages where both boys and girls are forced into the relationship of marriage without their explicit interest and consent. The irony is, I know many people who are told from their childhood that their families will look for their partners when they are old enough and when they grow up, they stick to that. The boys and girls are put on standby for getting married as their families look for alliances with the constraints of horoscopes, religion, caste, social status, family status, job status and 100 other factors. What is the probability of finding our true companions through such an elaborate process that does not involve our own wishes? Zero. People adjust like my friend did for close to a decade. When it becomes unbearable, they move on. Families claim they are doing so much for their children to get a good marital life. Then how come divorces are skyrocketing in India and the happiest couples I know are mostly foreigners?

Astrology in itself has become a laughing stock because of the knowledge of the present crop of astrologers. An alliance between a friend of mine and a girl was rejected by an astrologer who was overridden by another astrologer. When my friend and his family went back to the first astrologer to check again, my friend’s father heard the astrologer murmur “32+2=36” when he was doing the calculations. He rejected the alliance again. So he made the same mistake twice. Problem is, most people do not understand astrology and how the calculations are done. We are putting our lives blindly in the hands of strangers who can be as inept at even simple arithmetic like that astrologer. As my friend said, God only knows because of him how many marriages have happened that should not have and how many marriages did not happen that should have. If astrologers can make such cardinal mistakes with simple calculations how can people trust their own horoscopes? For the first proposal my friend got, her family consulted two astrologers and both of them gave two separate reasons why the alliance should not happen. Rather than smelling something fishy, they decided to combine the two reasons and reject the proposal. Just like its idiotic and absurd to blame alcohol and nicotine for taking people’s lives rather than blame the people who consume it, it is the people who should be blamed for blindly believing in the words of astrologers.

3) Marriage for “error” correction

Love marriage and finding our own partners is still frowned upon in India especially when it comes to finding our partners beyond the realms of our religion and caste. Even when it comes to the same religion and caste, families oppose for the simple reason that they believe they have absolute rights over who in the family should marry whom. So when someone is in love and tries to get his/her family involved for the marriage, the first thing the family does is to try and break the marriage. A horoscope mismatch is a good way to have their way. That’s how my friend’s husband could not marry the girl he was in love with. Let’s see the sequence of events that happened after that. His parents fixed his marriage with my friend without telling her about the affair he had. So both were unhappy with the marriage even before it got started. His parents must have assumed that once he gets married to someone else, he will forget his past and move on into a new life. I have heard of another story where the parents of a guy got him married to a girl with the belief that he would stop being a gay and become straight. Parents have absolutely no right to ruin the lives of girls by simply assuming that their sons would become as they want them to be by getting married to the girls they choose randomly.

4) The unrelenting ego of men

The reason behind my friend’s husband forcing her to conceive in spite of knowing that she was still studying became apparent when I realized that she is a doctor and he is not as qualified as she is. It is quite fanciful among Indian households to marry and bring home an educated woman like a doctor as bride. But little do they realize that things could turn sour quickly when the man’s ego comes into the picture if he is not educated as she is. This is one reason why women prefer men who are more or equally qualified as they are so that they do not have to face the wrath of men’s ego later in life. Indian men usually believe in stamping their authority on their wives as soon as they get married so that they can dominate them. The trick is to have a couple of kids quickly so that women lose interest in themselves and there is no risk of other men getting interested in them. I have heard several men say it’s so easy after marriage, have a couple of kids and that is the best way to make their wives perpetually busy. Women get treated as objects and are herded through their lives by men worse than how we treat cattle.

5) The “two minute job”

I am a firm believer that to do anything sincerely, we need to have passion for it, be it our jobs, our leisure activities, sports or marriage. I do not know how there can be passion between two unknown people just because they are married to each other. Passion takes time and lots of effort to come into the picture. I haven’t heard a single Indian guy talk about passion in married life. I am sure they are simply going through the motions in bed with their wives, that’s why guys usually say sex is a two minute job. Sex is the best way for men to release their pent up emotions, be it happiness, sadness or frustration at work. I am quite sure most Indian women do not know what orgasm is because of the simple reason that it is impossible to attain heightened sense of joy and pleasure without passion. What about the happiness of women? Just get them used to the way their men are and they will live with what they get for the rest of their lives. I have heard guys say that marriage is the license to have sex without having to hide about it and I still cringe when I think about it.

6) The unfortunate “problem” children

I have come across many cases where families have intervened to stem the rift between couples and have forced them to have a child because families believed that a child would force the couple to stick together for the sake of the child. I haven’t come across anything more stupid and illogical than this in my life. Instead of focusing on solving the issues that are causing the rift, they are pulling one more life into the midst of all the trouble. The reasons for the rift will only cascade with time and no amount of hiding will be enough from the prying eyes of children. They will grow up in an environment of discontent and mistrust and God only knows the mental state of children who are being nurtured as our next generation. If parents separate, then children have to grow up without one parent or the other or accept an outsider as a parent if their father or mother gets married again. Here also, the choice is not with the child but a new father or mother is forced upon them to accept.

7) The “do what you want” attitude

A separation or a divorce is still a disgrace in Indian society. Now my friend’s family tells her to do whatever she wants. They didn’t give her that choice when it mattered the most to her. That’s what people do when they are too egoistic to accept their mistake and they want to wash their hands off from the ensuing problems. Instead of accepting that it is their mistake she is paying for and understanding that she needs their support more than ever, she is being isolated mentally. Families care only about their social status and care nothing about what people in failed marriages go through. Isolating her is one way to make her go back into the married life rather than get a divorce because a divorce is far more unbearable for them than see their daughter unhappy.

For the longest time society has been innovating new ways to undermine and abuse women and one of the ways has been arranged marriage. Women continue to be given away in marriages to seal alliances between rich and powerful families or business empires. They have to look decked up and beautiful in front of the world no matter how sick or mentally hurt they are. They are expected to suffer all domestic abuse silently and continue taking care of their families. This is what children see and understand when they grow up, that women can be taken for granted without any repercussions and women will bear it all and keep giving their all to men. Indians should not be complaining about increasing rape of women now. Men should first instill respect for their women in their houses or accept the reality of their daughters and sisters going through similar trauma in their lives. Empowering women is not simply about providing education to women and telling them to live as they want. Women will feel empowered only when they get honour and respect from men and it is long due because without women there will be no men.

Egoistic men, calculative women and the effect of camaradarie

I saw a storm brewing when a state representative in the US commented that women deserve to be paid less than men, the reason being women worked less hard and on less risky things. Just another instance of man’s ego rearing it’s ugly head up again. How should women respond to this? Never aggressively. If they have to deal with men’s ego effectively, they have to understand where it comes from and accept that they are an integral part of it’s creation and nurturing through the ages.

Dawn of mankind. Men were the hunters for food and wood and women were the homemakers. What would have had happened if the roles had been reversed? Nothing. Rather, women would have had done a better job. Women are designed to carry and nurture a new life within their body and if they can do that and go through their monthly cycles, which in itself is one of the most unique and complicated creation of nature, they are a 100 times tougher than men by default. But these are the exact reasons why women became homemakers. This can be disproved, if we look at the animal world. It’s the female lions who have the dual responsibility of hunting and rearing up their cubs. Then why did our women become homemakers? It may be possible that lions were in abundance and we were not, so building up our population was a necessity and our women had to be kept safe for procreation.

Men have always fought for two things: power and women. Somewhere along the road, women started being used as object of desire and a commodity of exchange, be it for bare essentials or for money and power. I guess this is where it really started going wrong for women. For the need of food, protection and procreation, they started suffering all humiliation silently. In time, we developed societies and evolved from hunting into cultivation and animal domestication. This is a very significant point women missed to grab more prominence in the society. Life continued in the same vein and two things developed in the hindsight: man’s ego and taking for granted of women.

When women try to break the shackles now and demand equality, I find it disturbing, not at their objective but the path they are choosing. They are trying to change things with a wave of a hand that have been built over thousands of years with their own contribution. There are plenty of women who know their husbands are cheating on them with other women, but they still choose to remain silent because the husbands take care of them and their children. I find this miserable. For me, this is just lack of self respect. Now, women say if men can go around do what they want, so can we. This is appalling and taking self respect to a new low. An eye for an eye will make both blind and this is what is happening in the society now.

I believe most men understand an assertive woman but what invokes the man’s ego is an aggressive woman and the line that separates both is very difficult to draw because it depends completely on the man and woman and the particular situation. It’s men who predominantly discovered technology and how to make work easier. I do not understand why men didn’t anticipate that women cannot adapt to a technologically advanced work environment and manage a family together. Our need to procreate is not so important anymore. We have already discovered artificial insemnation. Man’s sperms are just proteins and it may not be too far when it is also artificially created in the lab. Then, with the attitude that women have towards men now, men are going to be redundant very soon in the lives of women.

During my growing up years, I was prohibited from entering the kitchen and doing any household chores. My granny used to tell me that she will find me a woman some day to do all the house hold chores and take care of me. When I started living alone, I discovered how different the present world is from my granny’s perspective. I quickly learnt to set up a home and do all the household chores. I think it’s the understanding of the environment we are in and our ability to adapt to it that ultimately makes us successful in life. I have absolutely no privilege to reduce a well educated woman into a housemaid just because she happens to be my wife. I have no answer if she asks me to reverse the roles one day. The grey cells in the brain of the state representative in the US seems to have lost the war against his ego. I am sure he considers household chores as very inferior to his profession. Can men make a home out of a house? Men are completely incapable of that. Now a days, a man’s earnings is not enough to provide for a family. So women are stepping out to earn and they also have to nurture their families. Women always deserve more, never less. It’s high time men accepts and starts living in this reality and change their jaded attitude and ancient perspective towards women.

A war on man’s ego will only worsen the situation further. Retribution is not what women need to seek. They lost their self respect for centuries and they cannot expect to gain it back in a few years. There is one factor that distinctly separates men and women. Camaradarie, what fuels man’s ego to a large extent. From the days of rowing boats and joining hands for military might. Add to this, sharing with fellow men about their “conquests” of women. Gives more high than all the dope in the world. Women never had to share their homes with another woman who was a peer, so they never knew true camaradarie. Men relegate their smaller differences to the back burner and unite in the context of larger issues. From the colour of the nail polish to the dress to everything else, women are eternally in envy with one another. They take all of this so much into their psyche that it stops them from identifying larger issues affecting all of them together. I believe this is why women have been oppressed for so long because each one believed as long as she is safe, it didn’t matter what happened to another woman. May be why thousands of free thinking women were branded as witches and burnt at the stake by the Church. Because women didn’t stand together. And instead of trying to keep their smaller differences apart and come together to face men’s ego, they try to stop men from bonding with each other. It always turns out to be a disaster.

Men are always analytical and women emotional with thought. Whatever is happening now is only driving men to be more analytical and women more emotional and calculative. It’s high time the middle line and a sense of balance is sought. Man’s ego can be managed with understanding and the right approach and for that women have to create respect for them in men. It is how they do this and how much men will understand and accept women’s need for respect will determine the balance of Ying and Yang in our society in the times to come.

The leaky overarching umbrella of Indian democracy

The world’s largest democracy is in a state of unprecedented upheavel. A new party, formed by ordinary people frustrated with the excesses of successive governments is stealing their thunder. With general elections around the corner, wrangling in public and on media has become rampant, but the question Indians should ask themselves is, do we understand the true meaning of democracy and more importantly, are we ready for it.

To have better understanding, we need to look outside, at other countries. United States of America is a classic example. Their War of Independence which ended in 1783 was fought by immigrant white people to repeal colonial rule. The local communities, the original inhabitants were yet to be integrated into the new society. It took a four year civil war to abolish slavery and more than 100 years of fighting, religious conversions and reconciliation before the people of the land were truly brought under the constitution of the land. The cowboy culture still existed in the society at the beginning of the 20th century. When did the country truly change? After the Great Depression of 1929, the country adopted a closed door policy just like a larva going into a cocoon. When the second World War started and huge American ships started sending supplies to the allied forces in Europe, that is when the world woke up to the might of the nation. So it took more than a century and a half and enough trials and tribulations for the country to blossom into a true democracy.

And we in India are expecting miracles. Perpetually divided by caste, race and religion, we got freedom from colonial rule not because of the glorified freedom struggle, but mainly because the two World Wars had exhausted the British rulers and their coffers. Britain and the pound had to cede to the growing influence and power of America and the dollar. India had become a headache at the management level and with the internal strife going on, it just added to their need to let go of the land and consolidate their resources. The ideals of the new Indian government was all great to hear. Sovereign, democratic and republic with a new constitution, but they missed the vital question. Were the people ready for all of this? Instead of eliminating the divide among ourselves by abolishing the caste system, we put a stamp on it by adding it into our constitution. Politicians found this convenient enough to polarise vote banks and further alienate people. All we are required to do is to cast our votes and that is the only time we get see our representatives in person. For the next 5 years, they become inaccessible to the common man and implement policies that fills their own pockets and brings no good to the society. This is the type of democracy that has been thrust on us, from the time of power hungry politicians who took over the reins of government after independence.

Question is, are we mature enough to handle the ideals of democracy? We need to look outside, again. China did not think their people are mature enough to wield and manage power. That is why the government put controls in all aspects of people’s lives. Communism means no divisions based on caste and religion, population control and people’s lives reined in meant that government was free to undertake whatever development activities they chose to. The growth of China is there for all to see. Now they are embracing capitalism and easing restrictions where they think is useful for their growth. A professor of mine told me when I was in Shanghai that if the controls hadn’t been in place, China would have had disintegrated into small kingdoms of yore a long time back.

The divides in India are far too great to be united under any banner or flag. The Father of the Nation had dropped a hint when he remarked that a nation can be judged from the way it treats it’s animals. We learnt nothing from it. Women have been an object of misuse right from the devdasi days. Now that is under a lot of scrutiny because of the media. Here we again need to look at the path we are treading. On one side is the urbanization of urban India where western culture is getting brazenly aped and women dress up in the latest trends. On the other side is a vast rural India where life is meagre and women cover their heads and faces when they step out of their homes. The contradictions are extreme. Add to it the fact that the cities are exploding and they are having to grow at a rapid pace. Where do they grow? Right into rural land. Delhi is a prime example. There is a huge influx of rural people into the cities. And the result? Lure of the rich cities, women showing skin and a 1000 other reasons, all dragging people into the world of crime.

We are already in a state of anarchy, far greater in dimension than we think. The country is simmering in discontent and disgust at rampant corruption and the lack of governance and growth. Anything bad can happen to anyone any time. My granny used to tell me that during the time of British rule, a woman could step out with all the ornaments in a jewellery shop and nothing would happen to her. And we earned independence from what? The upheavel that is happening currently is only a pale shadow of what is going to set in if something radical doesn’t happen soon. We need sound leadership, be it a person or a group of people, who understands what the country needs and what shouldn’t be there in the system. We need IT corporate style leadership, with a mix of the elements of project management, service delivery and problem solving thrown into governance, where every individual is considered as a customer of the government. We need governance that is not just striving to bring glory to the country, but also educate and enable the people to grow and be mature enough to embrace the true ideology of democracy.

Women, trust and woes of men

What a tumultous week it was. The marriage of a high profile couple who were supposed to be passionately in love with each other started to unravel on a social network and ultimately led to the untimely demise of the lady. The gentleman happens to be a union minister in the government and the lady a socialite and businesswoman. What adds twist and spice to the tale is the cross border connection, the friendship between the gentleman and a woman journalist from a neighbouring country which apparently soured the marriage. The entire saga is enough to keep newspapers and news channels busy for some time and I am sure story writers for movies are licking their lips in anticipation of an original plot, something that is as rare as a blue moon in these times.

What I find intriguing is, this was the third marriage for both the gentleman and the lady. Both are intensely public personalities, something which they chose themselves. Such people are bound to come into contact with people from around the world. Having such personalities and lifestyles also increase the chances of attraction between similar people. The gentleman in the eye of the storm had clearly indicated in an email to his friend about his devotion to his wife and his inability to keep in touch with her to safegaurd his wife’s deteriorating health. That the wife refused to believe his loyalty towards her, continued her tirade against him in public and has caused such a big dent in his public image with her demise is sorrowful and shameful in equal measure.

Three marriages? This is where I endorse the idea of live in relationships. Why publicize to the world about the relationship in lavish ceremonies and then let it die an unceremonius death, all under the glare of limelight in public? I do not believe companionship needs the endorsement or blessings of the society. When we make friends, we do not take permission from anyone.

Three marriages and still don’t know what trust is? Women like to be enigmatic and they naturally are, but they raise the bar when it comes to being with men. They have this continuous need for men to keep professing their loyalty towards them and start complaining at the drop of the hat about men being analytical and not caring about their emotions. I do not believe this is about analytics or emotions. Men do confess about their feelings for women and after a while, they consider their loyalty to be a part of the whole relationship ecosystem. I believe every relationship in our society gets built on trust, but I guess women do not think of it this way when it comes to men. Even if we were to assume that it is men who do not do enough to win the trust of women, how do we explain the lack of trust women have for each other? They have to be hardwired genetically to not trust anything, there seems to be no other answer.

I believe after a while, women start focusing on things that tend to make them insecure, such as do their men look at other women, why do men not appreciate them anymore, how many women are there in their man’s contact list on phones, etc etc. I believe it has got to do with the sense of belonging, something which is falsely interpreted as an emotion. It comes naturally, with our parents, with the place we are born, with our friends. Emotions have short lifespans, belonging dies only with us. I do not know why this one particular relationship between a man and woman has to be complex and complicated. We would all ideally want our partner to be our best friend, which never happens. Why are men always skewered on the needle of infidelity? If all men wanted was to satisfy their physical needs, why would they take the trouble to build a relationship in the first place? There is a saying that why be happy with a cup of tea when there is access to a whole tea garden.

My parents keeps complaining about how my life is completely different from my peers and friends. I do not understand why my life is expected to be a copycat of others’ lives. I do not understand why I should box myself in the constraints of the society. I believe most of us do not know what it is like to think freely, without hindrances and by not allowing anything to hold our thoughts back. I am sure this will help us understand each other better and bring trust and respect into relationships. Some time back, I had read about an Indian scientist who hasn’t done anything other than his research in the past 30 years. He doesn’t even know in which bank he has an account and how and where to shop. His wife takes care of everything. Moral of the story: Have relationships in life which are built and which thrive on trust more than anything else, so when you are in doubt or when you do not want to do something, you have someone to hand over the reins.

The fate of the gentleman in the midst of the controversy, who it seems is a distant relative of mine hinges on the results of his wife’s autopsy report. His public image has taken a beating and his political life is in the balance. Even if his wife passed away because of the suspected drug overdose and he is cleared of any wrongdoing, society would put the stamp of abetment to suicide on him which would be all the more unfortunate. He is suave and articulate with the right blend of intellect, international appeal and Indian culture, one among the most relevant people to lead the country in the new millenium. It would do no good to the country to bring down someone of his stature in this manner.