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Friday, January 30, 2009

Munnabhai meets Mangalore Marauders

Posted by: danish Ahmed 12:45 AM

Culture vultures swooping down on helpless women in Mangalore, Rajasthan CM Gehlot and Karnataka CM Yedurappa vowing to fight "pub culture" and Sunjay Dutt's statement about his sister using their father's surname exhibit the role male chauvinism continues to play in the Indian socio-sphere. What is really alarming is the fact this is strain of thought is not restricted to the far right camp only. While Karnataka CM Yedurappa belongs to the BJP, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot is a Congressman and Sunjay Dutt has just joined the Samajwadi Party, yet all of them have expressed similar sentiments regarding Indian culture.

As far as Sunjay Dutt is concerned it is really unnerving that the actor has remained so uninfluenced from the role he plays so convincingly in the Munnabhai series. His statement reminds me of a fellow blogger Zaina's post. A lot of people may not take it seriously enough but the fact remains that women adopting their husbands' surname goes contrary to the notion of gender equality.As for the new saffron outfit running amok in Mangalore, it shouldn't surprise us the way it does now. For years now we have allowed rightists and communalists to take control of our society. Extremists of every hue, be they Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs or any religious denomination, often justify their attempts to subjugate women in the name of protecting their honour and dignity.

Primitive human society (as well as animal societies) viewed their females as possessions that defined the individual's stature and represented the honour of the tribe. So when religious radicals talk of protecting woman's honour and dignity, it is their own primitive sense of honour of the tribe, that they are talking about. Further, dignity cannot be forced on anyone, it is a natural condition that exists until attempts, especially belligerent attempts are made by others to deny it. Use of coercive and brutal methods to bestow dignity actually means assaulting the woman's individual dignity and an act to protect the tribe or community's honour.

Since antiquity India has been a heterogeneous society, assimilating not only immigrants but their cultures too. Constant cultural synthesis is what Indian culture has represented throughout history. The marauding hordes of Mangalore are least likely to have any idea on the Indian culture, our heritage is too pluralistic, too composite and too rich to be understood by people with such primitive mentality.

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