Meet the hate-spewing, violent face of women's empowerment in 'Hindu Rashtra'

Far removed from the real hurdles that confront women, these sadhvis mirror the intolerance in a much-overt communal war.

 |  5-minute read |   15-06-2017
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In the ideal universe of "Hindu Rashtra", women's empowerment seems to be gaining a "violent face".

In a country, which for centuries has been dominating women and reducing them to timid, men-abiding household property, women's empowerment has been a burning issue for long.

The need to bring them out of the traditional fetters into a dignified life that gives them equal rights with men has been felt and being worked upon as well (to a certain extent), only to take a bizarre turn in the current times.

If the emerging face of women power in the proposed "Hindu Rashtra" is anything to go by, violent religious propaganda seems to have replaced real concerns like gender equality, providing equal and dignified work opportunities, education, healthcare, technology etc.

Women leaders advocating a "Hindu Rashtra" seem far removed from the real hurdles that confront the country's women. Instead, they appear more connected to the banality of reclaiming gau seva and gau rakshaks, putting the cow before women and their survival.

When a self-styled sadhvi speaking at the ongoing All India Hindu Convention in Goa said that those "who consider eating beef as a status symbol should be hanged till death", it exposed a dangerous face of the very cause she was propagating.

Is this how the "Hindu Rashtra" going to be — hate-spewing, violent, murderous with no respect for human lives?

The remarks made by Sadhvi Saraswati could not only spark violence, but also smack of intolerance against the "others" — all those genuine citizens of this democracy who don't aspire to establish a "Hindu Rashtra".

(The fact that all these groups want a "Hindu Rashtra" also symbolises their desire to secede from the identity of India and a democracy, where the constitution grants equal freedom to all its citizens, and not just one religion.)

That such violent leaders are not arrested for spreading hatred is not surprising considering the ugly bigotry playing out. Saffron-clad leaders know it's easier to champion gau raksha than women's/human rights and take the staircase to Hinduvta power corridors.

sadhvi-body_061517075956.jpgImage: DailyO

There is an increasing rise of such self-styled gau rakshaks and hypernationalists. Earlier a similar "godwoman", Kamal Didi, tried to seal her identity as the leader of cow vigilantes in Rajasthan by inciting a mob to lynch the staffers of a hotel in suspicion of serving beef. The meat turned out be chicken as per a forensic laboratory report later.

When she didn't succeed in her bid, she made another attempt. This time after the murder of dairy farmer Pehlu Khan in Alwar. She went to visit Bipin Yadav, one of the killers of Khan who was under arrest, and assured him that the whole of India was with him. She even compared the killers with Chandrasekhar Azad and Bhagat Singh.

Nothing happened to her for inciting a lynch mob or for encouraging a murderer by comparing him with freedom fighters who sacrificed their lives for India's independence.

The Hindutva brand of nationalism is not just confusing and contradictory, but also getting more and more violent with open calls for people's head in lieu of a cow's life.

And that a few women have taken the lead to make sure that such a violent nation becomes a reality is actually the antithesis of empowerment.

That these women leaders want Hindu women to have more children to save the Hindu pride, is nothing but perpetuating patriarchy by keeping women chained, forcing them to bear more children.

VHP leader Sadhvi Prachi in 2015 stoked a controversy with her highly inflammatory remarks on the issue of "love jihad" and then defending her statement that Hindu women should have four children.

"They are trapping our daughters through 'love jihad'. These people who give birth to 35-40.... are spreading love jihad..... They are trying to make Hindustan into Darul Islam.

"When I made the remarks, I said I have only advocated four children for Hindus not 40 puppies.... And it is important because the country needs it," she had said at a function organised by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) that "felicitated" Hindus who have more than four children.

Earlier this year, she advised Muslim women to leave their religion and say "I love you" to Hindu men.

"I would like to advise those (Muslim) sisters who are troubled by this practice of talaq, to simply leave such a religion and embrace Hinduism... Our Hindu sons will be happy to marry you, just tell them 'I love you'," she said.

When women like Sadhvi Pragya Thakur, who was accused of plotting the September 2008 terror attack in Maharashtra's Malegaon, are hailed as Hindu patriot and their "tragic" stories are circulated to further fan communal violence, women's emancipation takes a severe beating.

The patrons of "Hindu Rashtra" must understand that such hate-mongers can't be role models for the country's women. They rather mirror the violent face of a much-overt communal war.

Also read: Hindutva success mantra: Make a hate speech and become famous


Sanghamitra Baruah Sanghamitra Baruah

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