‘We the people’ v/s ‘They the oppressors’

women rage

 

The following article is written by Seema Chandra, a student activist from Lucknow University, on women’s rights in the face of opposition from conservative quarters questioning women’s morality and blaming women for getting raped.

 

Editors
Socialism.in

Freedom Without Fear

On January 26, 2013 a freedom parade was organized by AISA{{1}} and Students of Lucknow University, on reclaiming our lost freedoms in the backdrop of increasing violence against women. It was carried out from Kailash Hostel to Vidhan Sabha{{2}}, Lucknow. The tragic incident of the gang rape and death of a 23 year old student{{3}} in Delhi has exposed the reality that is India.

This incident has acted as a trigger for youth and students especially to come out on the streets demanding a stop to violence against women and demanding their freedom to live without fear. The ridiculous remarks that have been made by the moral brigade brings into question what right have they in telling us women how to dress and lead our lives.

laksman rekhaThe moment women started to come out on the streets, shouting slogans for the equal rights and freedom, down came the voices of patriarchy from Mohan Bhagwat of the RSS{{4}}, Vijayavargyia from BJP{{5}}, Asaram Bapu{{6}}, Abu Azmi{{7}} from Samajwadi Party (SP) and organizations like Jamat-e-Islaami Hind{{8}} about drawing lakshman rekha{{9}} for women. All these voices of conservative thinking have always directly or indirectly supported rapists and their license to rape without fear!

What if the lines were drawn against them for speaking against women’s rights and freedom…? Instead of focusing on the issue of violence against women, it seems like these conservatives want to turn the propaganda the other way around by directing it against women themselves as the cause factor.

Day by day, rape cases are only increasing and punishments actually handed down to the culprits is abysmally low. What is actually being done about this? Not only is there an urgency in changing laws and the way govt. institutions functions (which end up protecting the rapists rather than the victims), we will also have to break the chains of patriarchy and we have to join together with the struggles of countless number of victims of rape and violence like Soni Suri, Thangjam Manorama, Bhanwari Devi etc., to not only demand justice; but reclaim our streets, our rights and freedom from oppression and exploitation.

Without women of this country enjoying equal rights and freedom to live without fear, how can this country claim to be a ‘democracy’ and a ‘republic’ at that? It is really a tug of war between ‘we the people’ versus ‘they the oppressors’.

Seema Chandra,

Student Activist, Lucknow (UP)

 

Pics from the Protest March

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[[1]] All India Students Association – Student Wing of the CPI (ML) [[1]]

[[2]] Legislative Assembly [[2]]

[[3]] who incidentally hailed from Uttar Pradesh [[3]]

[[4]] According to the RSS chief – “Such crimes hardly take place in Bharat (rural India), but they frequently occur in India”, indicating that ‘westernization’ in Indian cities was the reason behind increasing cases of rapes. [[4]]

[[5]] According to Madhya Pradesh BJP leader “There is only one word: limit. When limit is crossed, Sita is apprehended. There is a Laxman rekha for all. Whoever crosses this limit will confront Rawan waiting, and Sita will be kidnapped” Thus according to him, women who breach their moral limits deserve punishment [[5]]

[[6]] Probably the most outrageous remark came from the godman Asaram Bapu “Only five-six people are not the culprits. The girl is as guilty as her rapists… She should have called the culprits brothers and begged before them to stop… This could have saved her dignity and life. Can one hand clap? I don’t think so,” [[6]]

[[7]] Abu Azmi said that young women who go out skimpily dressed attract attention and face risks. “Such nudity must be banned. The censor board must not clear movies having explicit scenes which embarrass families watching them together,” [[7]]

[[8]] Among its 11 suggestions that it made to the Justice Verma Committee, it called for Execution of rapists in full public glare, abolition of co-education, banning live-in relationships as “illegal and punishable”and “sober and dignified” dress for women [[8]]

[[9]] any agreed condition or limit, transgression of which supposedly has dire consequences [[9]]