Sunday, September 8, 2013

By default

I have been wanting to write this since a long time.

There is this movie "Bhaag Milkha Bhaag". Nice movie based on a very admiring person...

But, that did not settle in my memory as much as a particular scene in the movie. After the partition, a lot of Hindus from Pakistan become refugees in India. In one such refugee camp, this lady (Milkha Singh's sister, played by Divya Dutta) has to live with her husband and her brother. There are other dislocated folks sharing the tent with them, until they get some rehabilitation. This camp is like any other refugee camp, with just the basic amenities, and a dupatta hung for partition to give some sense of privacy in one corner.

In the night, the husband goes to the far end and orders her wife "Idhar Aain" or come here to press my feet. It wasn't a request, or a wish, but rather an order which is used to getting fulfilled. Meekly she goes, and the muffled voices indicate marital rape. This hit me hard, knowing that its not just a phenomenon that was common half a century back. Its still here. Still undiscussed and tabooed as it was half a century ago.  

And I thanked Lord for a sane husband. But, what made me sad was how the defaults changed in my mind. Why do I feel the need to thank for a normal husband. Since, when did the contrary get so intermingled in our society that we began to accept that as just another possibility that you may have to make peace with it? Why does it not get as much space as it should in our minds? Why do we consider domestic violence as fate and not a crime? I hope educated, independent women would stand up for their rights and not tolerate non-sense. But how long will it take for us to get there? Are all educated, independent women also truly independent? With the cases of rapes and child-molestation rising in the country, are we even serious in dealing with it? Or will we continue to tell our women to not go out in the night and be safe? And are they actually safe at home too?

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