Dr Aniruddha Babar
Contd from previous issue
Therefore, in the interest of the existence of Indian civilization the efforts needs to be made to examine the gender conflict and the suppressive imposition of false moralities pertaining to sexuality upon women in socio-cultural premises of India. There is, undoubtedly, a link between gender conflict-superior female sexuality-insecure male masculinity- impositions of false morals to suppress female sexuality-transgression of sexuality and liberation of trapped consciousness.
Therefore, fundamental inquiries into the field of morality, sexuality and human psycho-sexual behaviour needs to be made so that the traditional notions about the status of woman in Indian society could be challenged.
Man was born out of chaos and living in the chaos, and therefore it is unnatural to not to give justice to the basic human instincts of a man. I believe in a quote of William Shakespeare that says, “There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so”. If we desire to demystify the fire of chaos in which we all have been burning since antiquity then the focal point of our inquiry and understanding should be female sexuality- a trapped sacred energy that since ages imprisoned in the dark chambers of moralities and ethics. In a world full of ignorance, and injustice the transgression by breaking the chains of laws, burning the mansions of injustice, hammering the ghettos of oppression, sometimes remains an only way towards the path of liberation.
There have been some voices of powerful men of honour raised from society against the historical oppression of women on the time scale of history.
It was Raja Ram Mohan Roy from the then Bengal province in British India who condemned the brutal Sati tradition of Hindu society. The movement of Bramhosamaj started by Raja Ram Mohan Roy threw powerful challenge to the Brahmhinical social order of Hindu society. Another example is that of Mahatma Jyotirao Phule; who along with his wife Savitribai started first ever school for girls in India in Poona; changed the course of Indian society and further planted the seeds of ‘feminism’ in the nation. Phule was severely condemned by the society which was predominantly castist as well as sexists. The legacy of Mahatma Phule ably carried forward by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar who advocated absolutely equal rights for women in every sphere of life.
He was the one who introduced Hindu Code Bill in parliament when he was the first Law Minister of newly independent India; however, unfortunately, the sexist members of the then parliament raised their voices against the Bill and condemned Dr. Ambedkar as if his draft of Hindu Code Bill had blasphemous elements that could destroy the Hindu Society which characteristically based on Caste and Gender inequality.
The stand of Ambedkar was indeed revolutionary since for the first time in the history of Indian civilization a ‘Lawmaker’, a ‘Statesman’ was determined to give the right to ‘power’ to women which Indian society denied for the centuries.
Along with Dr. Ambedkar there was one more voice which was fearlessly arguing for the rights, especially sexual rights of women, it was no other than Raghunath Dhondo Karve, one of the greatest social reformers and professor of Mathematics, who relentlessly fought for the rights of women but as a return had to face severe discontent of sexists society of the then Bombay. Karve started his professional career as a professor of mathematics at Wilson College in Mumbai. However, when he started publicly expressing his views about family planning, population control, and women’s right to experience sexual/sensual pleasure as much as men, the conservative Christian administrators of the college asked him to resign from the professorship. He then, along with his wife started first Birth Control clinic in Mumbai and also introduced Condoms for the first time in Indian society. When Karve and his wife started educating people, especially women about the use of contraceptives like Condom the fundamentalist, sexists people especially Brahmins of Mumbai started openly condemning him, accusing him of spreading dirt of sex in society.
Those men had even gone down to such an extent of accusing him of encouraging and advocating ‘Free Sex among women’ in society, however, undoubtedly, Karve and his wife Malati staunchly advocated the right to sexual pleasure of women among others. It was Dr. Ambedkar who stood with Karve throughout his struggle as his friend and supporter who himself too propagated the idea of family planning, birth control and liberty in his discourses on women’s rights. These were the voices of people who gave utmost importance to the psycho-social-sexual-political liberation of women. Dr. Ambedkar said that, the growth of society should better be measured on the scale of growth of women in society. How true, and how apt! It was people like Roy, Phule, Ambedkar and Karve; released women who were chained in the invisible sanctum sanctorum of the “temple of unjust social order” that on one hand condemned and on the other venerated the women as goddess, as mother, as Shakti.
The hypocrisy and double standards of Indian society has been successfully killing the soul of women irrespective of their social status. The Freedom of sexuality and sexual expression is a natural right that has been consistently denied to women. Today; a woman can fly, can rule, can cast her influence in every sphere of life, but does she own her own body and feelings? Does she have a right to sexual pleasure? Is she empowered enough to make sexual choice? Can she give justice to her sexuality without being made a victim of politics of guilt and target of judgmental society? Does she have right to challenge dominance of male sexuality which causes ‘Bedroom Politics of Power’? It is important to understand that the female sexuality has been ruled and governed by male chauvinism against which women from time to time tried to revolt and therefore, to subvert the patriarchal norm a free discourse as to the oppressed and oppressor, positive shades of women’s sexuality, desires, self-pleasure, safer- pleasurable sex, sexual exploration and positive communication on affirmative sexuality has to be initiated.
The ‘recognition’ and ‘acceptance’ of woman as a human can change the dynamics of society. Relationship between man and a woman should not reduce merely to the covenant of power, but must remain as a bond of freedom, liberation, understanding and love.
The writer is Asst Prof, Dept of Political Science, Tetso College, Nagaland