After the atrocious indifference and trivialisation of domestic violence displayed by the sneering alpha-male brigade of the CPM during the discussion of the Hadiya Case, nothing surprises me. However, it appears important to point out how such callousness is indeed becoming normalised here alarmingly. It seems that the gains of women’s movement which made violence against women at home something beyond an intimate private affair, a ‘family quarrel’, are being steadily depleted. Of course, we did see how so many smooth-talking liberal CPM-oriented or purportedly-rationalist young male intellectuals went ballistic at the mere suggestion that they are blind to the domestic violence in Hadiya’s imprisonment. Also intriguing was their persistent defense of the father’s right to keep an adult, mentally fit, educated daughter immobile and imprisoned because he feared for her safety. Continue reading Thoughts on the Continuing Assault on Women’s Rights and Progressivist Gaslighting in Kerala
[ Random notes made in the wake of the conviction of Dr. Baba Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insaan of Dera Saccha Sauda for the offense of rape in Panchkula, Haryana, with some attention paid to the testimonials of his close friends. ] Continue reading The True Bargain : How Dr. Ram Rahim Singh Insaan Defined His Time
This post is jointly written by J DEVIKA and NIVEDITA MENON
Bitter arguments rage within the community that we may term as broadly secular, leftist, even feminist, around the Farooqui judgement – in many ways, this judgement and the case itself, may be to Left politics in India with regard to sexual violence, what “Nandigram” was with regard to the question of land, agriculture and environmental costs of industrialization. That is, the dismantling of an older framework of ethics and politics and the painful emergence of what one hopes will be a new consensus on what constitutes rape, but more importantly, on what the harm of rape and sexual violence is.
The authors of this post have read the judgement and followed the case closely, and that is the basis of our analysis here.
We believe that the judgement and verdict in the Mahmood Farooqui rape case indicates an unmistakeable and important shift in the way in which rape is viewed in a courtroom.
“She was bitter against the accused for committing a sin and taking what was most precious to her i.e her control over her sexuality.”
Judgement in the Mahmood Farooqui rape case
This is a radical break from the dominant discourse on rape. It does not focus on loss of honour or physical hurt as the most deeply felt loss by a rape survivor. It recognises, instead, that “sin” of rape is that it robs a woman of what is most precious to her: control over her own sexuality. Continue reading The Mahmood Farooqui Rape Conviction – A Landmark Verdict: J Devika & Nivedita Menon
अतिथि पोस्ट : चिंटू
जिशा, मेरी दोस्त मेरी यार, क्या कहूँ यार तुम्हारे साथ जो दंविये बर्बरता हुई उसके लिए मुझे शब्द नहीं मिल रहे हैं कुछ कहने को. ये देश ये समाज हर रोज़ ऐसे झटके देता रहता है और इतना देता है, इतना देता है, की हमारे लिए वीभत्स से वीभत्स घटना क्रूरतम से क्रूरतम घटना साधरण बन गई है और इन घटनाओं को पचाने की क्षमता में भी हम माहीर हो गए है. देखो न दोस्त, असाधारण कहाँ कुछ रह गया है. बचपन से आज तक तो यही सब देख- देख कर पले बढे हैं हम सब की, जो कुछ हो अपना हक़ मत मांगना, पढने लिखने की बात मत करना , बाप या भाई लात घूंसे मार- मार कर तुम्हे अधमरा कर दे लेकिन एक शब्द भी उनके खिलाफ बोलने की गुस्ताखी मत करना, गाँव के उच्च जाति वर्ग के सामंती तुम्हे अगर छेड़े तुम्हारा बलात्कार करे तो उसका बहिष्कार मत करना कियोंकि ये तो उनका जन्म सिद्ध अधिकार है.
तुम्हारे लिए जो लक्ष्मण रेखा खिंची गई है उससे बाहर जाने की कोशिश की तो तुम्हारी शामत आना पक्की है. और शादी? ये तो दूसरी जात में तो दूर की बात अपनी जाति में भी करने का अधिकार या आजादी की बात मत करना ये तय करना घर के बड़े पुरुषों के कंधे पर छोड़ो. सती सावित्री बनो, एक सद्गुणी बेटी, बहु और पत्नी बनो इसी में तुम्हारी भलाई है.
Guest Post by Shehla Rashid. Based on a Status Update on her Facebook Page.
They tell us that the military is meant for fighting the “terrorists”; But most of the time, it is the civilians who are killed.
They tell us that “special powers” for the army are necessary for national unity; But the army only teaches us how to hate India.
They say the University is anti-national because it wants to break India; But it’s the University that teaches us to love Indians.
Then, who is anti-national? Those who teach us how to hate India, or those who teach us how to love Indians?
Yes, we see the difference between India and Indians; India is at war with Indians throughout India.
I wish the Indian state could also see the difference between Kashmir, which it claims as its own, and Kashmiris who belong to no one; They claim to love Kashmir but hate and kill Kashmiris.
Guest post by ANONYMOUS
[The letter below was sent to the Mumbai Mirror by the woman journalist who has accused Tarun Tejpal of rape. The paper is yet to issue a clarification on Mr Guha Ray’s connection to the rape accused Mr Tejpal, or to carry this letter on its website, or paper. As per Indian Law the identity of a victim of sexual assault is protected. We are thus carrying the letter below without disclosing her identity]
This is to draw your attention to the article printed in your newspaper titled “Rape Charges Against Tarun Tejpal: Over Two Years On, Trial Yet to Begin” dated March 21, 2016 by Shantanu Guha Ray.
Having long admired the Mumbai Mirror, I was disappointed to note the factual inconsistencies and biases evident in the article. To begin with, Mr Guha Ray, allegedly a senior journalist (and therefore, one hopes, familiar with at least a few journalistic tenets) fails to mention in his piece that he worked under the rape accused, Tarun Tejpal, for several years at Tehelka magazine, and was also the head of Tehelka’s sister venture, Financial World – indicating that he had significant financial interest the magazine.
Further, Mr Guha Ray mentions that the complainant in the case is “working on a book on the complicated matter of sexual harassment at the workplace” to be published by Harper Collins. As the complainant, I would like to clarify that I am not working on a book about office harassment, have never been contacted by Harper Collins, and that the only thing complicated about sexual harassment at the workplace is the management bending over backwards to protect abusive employers responsible for their pay cheques.
If any further evidence of Mr Guha’s bias and professional ineptitude was necessary, let me also point out that while he liberally quotes the rape accused as saying the case is “a matter of life and death for him”, he fails to even get the state prosecutor’s name right, and has never contacted me for an account of how the delay in an allegedly “fast track” and high profile rape case has affected my health or professional prospects.
A basic fact check, or a few phone calls to lawyers and editors in New Delhi would have alerted the journalist in question, as well as you to the fact that Mr Tejpal and his family have repeatedly screened sub-judice CCTV footage for anyone that asks to view it. In fact, no one except the police and Mr Tejpal’s defence even have access to this footage, so perhaps Mr Guha Ray can next train his newshound instincts to finding out how story after story defending Mr Tejpal based on this footage appeared in publications like Outlook, The Citizen and the Facebook page of Mr Anurag Kashyap.
Finally, Mr Guha would do well to remember that not only does this delay in proceedings give “some reprieve” to Mr Tejpal, but combined with his slanderous media campaign, it also affects every single witness in the case, and constantly delays the moment I can present my truth and evidence in court — a moment I have patiently waited for for over two years.
Listen. Can you hear it? That low growl on the horizon, coming closer, growing louder? It’s the dam bursting its bounds. It’s the quiet shriek of convivial silence being ripped apart.
The silence around the normalizing of a range of behaviour from the apparently casual to the outrightly violent. The laughing sexual innuendo; the misogynist jokes; the well-known ‘displaced squeeze’ of the upper arm, the shoulders; the repeated, relentless expression of romantic or sexual interest despite clear NO’s; the grabbing of the breast, the unwanted kiss, the out-of-town work trip ending in physical assault, presented as flattering interest; and through it all, the clear invocation of the power relationship.
You look great, Sir, retirement suits you, says a younger female colleague to a Professor visiting his former institution. Really, he smirks. Two other people told me this, and they are both women. What do you think it means? She smiles uncomfortably and hurries out of the office of the male head of the institution in whose presence this comment is made.
Guest Post by FORUM AGAINST OPPRESSION OF WOMEN
As a feminist collective that was formed in the aftermath of the historic Mathura rape case in 1980, in which two police men had sexually assaulted a tribal girl within the police station, two recent cases of sexual assault (in Mumbai) have become matters of grave concern for us. These were filed by women against medical professionals who had committed the crime within their clinic or hospital,
On May 17th 2013, a 26 year old woman had gone, accompanied by her husband, to meet Dr. Rustom Soonawala who had been treating her for TB and later infertility since August 2012. This was at around 6 pm as per appointment. Upon examination, the doctor told them that the TB was almost cured and then asked the husband to go out of the examination room, locked the room, and raped her while covering her mouth with his hand. Continue reading Mathura too did not scream: Forum Against Oppression of Women
Guest post by SOMA MARIK. [We are publishing below two articles by Soma Marik, Visiting Professor, School of Women’s Studies, Jadavpur University. The first deals with the recent case of the rape and murder of a young girl in North 24 Parganas while the second one below was written in 2003 when the Left Front was in power and documents the widespread culture of rape in the state. Between them, the two pieces alert us to the way we tend to respond selectively to such matters. This is particularly so in the case of political parties in power.]
The Barasat Rape and Murder: Some Reflections
On 8th June, a young woman, a second year college student, was returning home, Kamduni, a remote village of Barasat in the district of North 24 Parganas. She was waylaid by some criminals, who took her to a godown, where they gang raped and then proceeded to murder her. Six hours after she was seen alighting from a bus, her body was found by her brothers and other villagers. The police were forced into some action, after the family and people of the locality refused to even let them shift her body without action first. They accused a number of people, including some connected to the ruling Trinamul Congress, of being rapists. The young woman was well known, as she used to help many children of the locality in their study.
The first response from the police was to play it down, till local anger made that an impossible proposition. The first response from the government was to declare it a stray incident, and also to offer jobs and cash compensation to the family. This was angrily turned down, with the family members turning up in Kolkata, meeting Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, and demanding the death penalty for the rapists and murderers. Continue reading Barasat Rape, Murder and the Culture of Rape in West Bengal: Soma Marik
This is a guest post by ALEXANDRA DELANEY:
“Yeah, Indian guys think white girls are easy”, a British-born Indian remarked nonchalantly to me this week. Normally I’d be shocked by such gross racial stereotyping (of Indians) but in this case I’m inclined to agree. Not because Caucasian women by their very skin colour or cultural preferences are any more promiscuous than their South Asian sisters, but because of their sustained portrayal as loose and morally deficient. The image of the sexually liberated and ‘easy’ white woman runs deep in the Indian imagination, a perception which is drip-fed by the country’s all-pervading mainstream media.
The brutal rape and murder of an Indian student in New Delhi last December followed by numerous sexual attacks on foreign women has sparked international outrage. This year alone, a Chinese woman was date-raped in New Delhi, a Korean woman was raped after being drugged in Bhopal, a Swiss tourist was gang-raped by five men in Madhya Pradesh while holidaying with her husband, and a British woman broke both her legs after jumping off a hotel balcony to avoid an alleged sexual attack by the hotel’s manager. These incidents have led to a shift in how tourists perceive India, resulting in a 25% fall in foreigners travelling to the country and a 35% reduction in women travellers, reports New Delhi-based Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Continue reading White Women in the Indian Imagination: Alexandra Delaney
Guest post by PRATIKSHA BAXI
The reform of rape law, which was not a priority for more than two decades, seems more like a 20-20 match now. The spectacle of judicial reform has all the elements of cinematic imagination built into it—violence, voyeurism, repression, tears, scandal, redemption and betrayal. We are all consumers and participants of this judicial spectacle. We veer between manic hope and dark despair as we are left conjecturing how this theatre of judicial reform will enact equality and dignity for survivors of sexual assault. The latest twist in the tale is the introduction of an ordinance, following the Justice Verma Committee (JVC) report.
Protests against Sexual Violence continue in Delhi. Earlier this morning, there was a gathering to protest against the gruesome sexual violence committed on Soni Sori while in custody in Chhattisgarh under the supervision of Ankit Garg, Superintendent of Police, Dantewada. Ankit Garg was awarded with a presidential police medal on Republic Day (January 26) in 2012.
Soni Sori’s petition at the Supreme Court is due to be heard tomorrow. Continue reading Justice for Soni Sori. Gathering at Jantar Mantar, 02/01/13
Guest Post by PRATIKSHA BAXI
The death of the 23 year old woman following the brutal gangrape rape and assault on a moving bus on 16 December 2012 at a hospital in Singapore early this morning leaves all of us in states of deep mourning. This is a political death. Rape and murder of women is political violence against all women, whether or not, the political class recognises and accepts this. In the course of the last two weeks, many body blows have been endured. We felt a body blow after the political death of the 17-year-old gangrape victim in Patiala who took her life after she was humiliated and pressurised to compromise. The numbing list of such political violence continues.
We have seen the emergence of many kinds of publics. There have been many speeches and writing against the emergence of a retributive public, where the cry for death penalty or castration became a vocabulary of protest, also especially since the media initially focussed largely on this demand. Yet in the last few days there has been a perceptible shift from the focus on forming a retributive public moving towards a passionately reasoned and informed public on what the government needs to do to be accountable to rape survivors, and indeed, to all of us who reject the rape cultures in India.
Continue reading We must resist the cunning of judicial reform: Pratiksha Baxi
Guest post by KETAKI CHOWKHANI
Over the last few days there seems to be sudden explosion in talking about sexual violence and other forms of violence on women. A huge discourse is being created around what rape cultures are and how we are part of these cultures which produce and construct these very acts of violence. Sexual violence has been linked to sexist, misogynist attitudes, remarks and behaviour, and ranging from scriptural affirmations to popular songs. The rape cultures are discussed as existing within the spaces of homes, streets, offices, courts, police stations, public transport, universities and so on. Continue reading Sexual Violence and Sexuality Education – The Missing Link: Ketaki Chowkhani
This morning The Hindu carries a long piece I wrote on one of Jaipur’s more sensational trials. The idea of “samjhauta” or “compromise” has informed a lot of my work over years, and this instance is particularly heart breaking. Court documents and chargesheets are always interesting things to read; in this instance, it was intriguing how the police accorded one woman – Pushpa – infinite agency when she creates a cycle of repression and exploitation; while the other – Shweta – has zero agency and is thoroughly incapable of independent action.
One dawn in January last year, a young woman slipped out of her house, walked down to the Gandhi Nagar station and stepped into the path of an oncoming train.
She survived, but lost her left leg and all sensation below her waist. Last Wednesday, the woman, Pushpa*, was brought before the Special Judge for Women Atrocities and Dowry Cases to identify the three policemen who, she alleged, had sexually tortured her to the point of suicide. Also in court was Shweta*, a 20-year-old known to Pushpa, who claimed that Pushpa and her cohorts had drugged, raped and blackmailed her in December 2010.
The two women had been friends, meeting occasionally in Pushpa’s room to gossip, experiment with cigarettes and alcohol and on one occasion photographed themselves kissing. In many ways, their twin trials document the contradictory impulses of the small Indian town grown big, where tech-savvy youth shun the contractual new economy for the security of the bureaucracy, the government school, and the government bank, and the sheher’s liberatory promise is tempered by the lingering claustrophobia of the samaj.
The endorsements are still coming in. Protest demonstration at Jantar Mantar, Delhi at 5 pm tomorrow, December 1, 2010. Please send endorsements to:
As women’s groups, child rights groups, sexual rights groups, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer rights groups and other progressive groups, academicians and concerned individuals, we are shocked by the repeated incidents of sexual assault on women from the North East in the capital of India in recent months. The incident of rape of a 30-year-old woman in Dhaula Kuan on 23rdNovember has again pointed to the failure of the Delhi government to ensure safety of women and especially of women from the North East. Continue reading Public statement condemning the recent incidents of sexual assault on women from North East India