Gurmehar Kaur is the daughter of a Kargil martyr. Also, she is a woman. So, holding an opinion that makes her a thinking 20-year-old educated woman is her first offence.
Then, obviously, the patriotic fervour she challenges that thrives on anti-Pakistan sentiment is obviously unpardonable in the eyes of the many pseudo-nationalists and patriots in our country.
How can a woman whose father died in a war against Pakistan ever hold a placard to say that Pakistan did not kill her father? Because sympathy towards some of the peace-loving Pakistanis is immoral.
Being empathic to the population that wants peace against war is criminal and scandalous, to say the least. So, yes, Pakistan is "war" and every Pakistani is a war-monger. And, any mismatch of ideologies is unlawful and punishable by the self-appointed keepers of nationalism.
And, how do you silence a woman who dares to challenge the tenets of patriotism? Threaten her with rape.
Because nothing else dampens her spirit, nothing else weakens her opinions the way a rape threat does. When a man cannot beat a woman's mind, he assaults her body. This is the quickest way to take revenge on a thinking, self-assured, self-respecting woman.
Violation of women in essence and spirit is a war form and draws inferences from ancient times. It has often been a punishment of sorts. Against women or against the household they represent. And, today it is strategic attack against any ballsy woman who dares to speak her mind.
Historically speaking, when kingdoms went to war, the conquerors often raped women as a mark of their victory and pride. Self-immolation or the practice of Sati or Jauhar or Saka, in which a woman preferred to burn herself alive than fall prey to another king, were considered as heroic acts, reinstating that the pride and honour of a woman is indeed her body. And anything that violates the body has to be feared.
Even historically, women considered burning themselves to ashes easier than being called rape survivors, even during the Khilji and Tughlaq dynasty. The "body" of a woman was symbolic to the honour of the woman, her family, her kingdom and others.
Journalist Swati Chaturvedi's book I am a Troll elaborates the multiple levels of abuse that a woman activist/journalist or even a regular thinking woman fighting the torrent of misogyny faces on an everyday basis. The worst is being threatened to be raped like "Nirbhaya".
And, on many levels, the male psyche establishing power over a woman through rape is the easiest way to control a woman.
Rewind a little. In 2016, a woman in Jaipur was threatened with assault and rape because she dared speak about gymnast Dipa Karmakar's final vault at the Olympics. She had said “life is not worth any medal for any damned country” and then the rape warnings threatened her to silence.
In a country where rape is used as a tool to wage war against women empowerment, against the tents of feminism, Captain Mandeep Singh's daughter Gurmehar is no different. Her campaign on social media going viral is competition for all those whose opinions and wavelengths don't match hers.
So, the fault again, is not in the men or their raging hormone-driven egos. The fault is lying dormant in a woman's headspace, who is made to believe that her body is the epitome of honour and in her vagina lies her modesty, and hence trespassing the holy grail of modesty is the worst kind of insult and humiliation.
|The first of these threats begins at home in the form of child abuse.
The first of these threats begins at home in the form of child abuse, and then marital rape, and so on. The fear of rape in instilled in the minds and hearts of women, silencing them to accept their status as "objects".
1) A girl is asked to cover her assets appropriately to avoid the prowling eyes. Because in her vagina lies her modesty?
2) A girl being asked to behave like a woman to avoid male attention. To be seen and not heard? Because, modesty?
3) A girl being asked to wear appropriate clothing. Just as I write this, news comes about a Kerala priest telling women how their jeans and T-shirts arouse men and how they must drown in the sea. Because, covering up is modesty?
4) A girl being asked to not step out of her house in the wee hours. Or after the sun sets. No, wait, don't step out at all. Because, in safety lies her modesty?
5) A girl-turned-woman beaten up by her man to establish his right over her body. Marital rape? No, cannot exist. Because in marriage lies her modesty.
6) A girl who learns to say "no" becomes an acid attack victim. And, in saying yes, lies her modesty.
7) A girl who voices her opinions. Because, in silence lies her dignity and modesty.
Between this competition of sorts by self-acclaimed patriots and misogynists and the struggle to control and establish power over women, it is time the rape "threat" is tackled by a deliberate strategy (legally, socially and culturally) because it is nothing but an orchestrated form of combat against the rise of thinking women.