Sunday, December 09, 2012

With All Respect, No Apologies!

In a recent discussion (over facebook), I had a brief involvement in a conversation over the lack of respect for women that's becoming an integral part of the Indian culture -- particularly in North India. There was the mention of a recent disturbing incident in Amritsar in which a policeman was shot dead because he tried to prevent a few eve-teasers from misbehaving with his daughter. The event indeed reflects the deplorable law and order condition. The tacit acceptance that eve teasing seems to get that emboldens molesters more and more seems to get worse and worse with passing time.

The solution suggested by one of the ladies in the discussion, most probably out of sheer frustration and disgust, was that boys should be brought up with a fear of dire consequences -- e.g death penalty -- if they behave badly with women. Probably she was right. Probably, to set things right tomorrow, there isn't any other way possible. Probably, replacing one form of disrespect with another is the only way to create a feeling of self-respect to our people. Probably, we aren't left with any other method of cleaning up, than just shifting our garbage dumps from one place to another. We have tried doing that before: by creating reservations to deal with the evils of casteism; by creating religion based politics to remove communal disharmony; by creating thick, burgeoning impenetrable concrete jungles to wipe out wilderness and desolation. We have been in the habit of creating 2 headed monsters to slay 1 headed ones. And look how successful we have been in making our lives any better!

I will not teach my son to be afraid of consequences. I will tell him that women are fellow creatures: sentient, intelligent, with self-will and self-respect. I will tell him that there is an experience that is to be got from interacting with a person who is a partner with you in making the life, the world, a more beautiful thing. It far exceeds, at least in the long run, the pleasure of finding partners in sin. I will tell him that the love that emerges from partnering with a person see a dream, to fulfil that dream, in being a part of a realisation of the self that's impossible for him/her alone -- that love is far superior, far more joyful that the momentary kick of falling into a pit of crime together. 

I will hope that he will believe me, though I haven't tried experiencing the rewards and penalties of thinking or behaving any other way. So, I have no first hand stories to tell him of the other side.

I won't ask him to be respectful of women. I will ask him to be respectful. I hope he will learn to see the potential beauty that exists in every human being. In old invalids as in a strong and physically attractive person; in a village simpleton as well as in an intelligent and sophisticated person. And I hope he will learn to see what a lethal blow a single act of disrespect, a single invitation to a fallen act, deals to this potential beauty, to the possibility of discovering that beautiful person.

If you will, even this could be called a fear of consequence. But it's not a fear of bodily harm, but it's the fear of a damage to that infinite possibility. I hope my son grows up with a faith in that possibility, learns to hold that possibility dear to his heart, and fears the destruction of that possibility. The possibility of seeing all people in their real beautiful self, the possibility of being their partners in the discovery of that hidden beauty in their own selves. In experiencing a love that's based on its logical foundation: respect.


Rapes and Women Dressing

1 comment:

Rahul Vaidya said...

A recent experience on a related note. When asked, why he had admitted his son to a different school than his daughter, a manager in a famous software firm here replied that, 'That school (where his daughter is studying) is good enough only for daughters man.. Its not good enough for sons'.

I was aghast.. if this is the mentality of so called educated elite of India.. imagine the state in rest of the country.