Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gandhi, the patron saint of misogynists

This article, written curiously in a cynical street language, comes up every now and then in forums.

I suppose the claim that Gandhi's legacy is responsible for misogynism in India is preposterous. First of all, his attitude towards women aren't wellknown and second, none of his legacies meant anything in post-independence India. However, his own misogynistic attitude isn't surprising considering the society he was born and brought up. Even then I thought the following claim sounds bit out of character.

Gandhi believed Indian women who were raped lost their value as human beings. He argued that fathers could be justified in killing daughters who had been sexually assaulted for the sake of family and community honour. He moderated his views towards the end of his life. But the damage was done, and the legacy lingers in every present-day Indian press report of a rape victim who commits suicide out of "shame". Gandhi also waged a war against contraceptives, labelling Indian women who used them as whores.
The Gandhi I knew would have said that sexually assaulted females should commit suicide by some grotesque means (true to his Jain philosophy of inwardly directed violence).

Unfortunately, the writer didn't mention what were his moderated views. I suppose just to confirm this point I have to buy and read Rita Banerji's book "Sex and Power". But when I read the introduction, it was a dampener.

As squeamish as India is today about sex, this is also the land where queens once copulated with dead horses at religious ceremonies, where the art of love-making was declared the revelation of the gods and recorded in elaborate detail in the kama sutras and prostitution was a form of sacred offering at temples adorned with erotic sculptures.
Ritualized sexual antics don't represent open society. The past society was also barbarically misogynistic by present day standards. And past is irrelevant anyway to define our present character. I just want to check whether the book contains proper references for that claim against Gandhi. If yes, I guess the quality of his moderated views only can save him from the barbaric deviation of his philosophy.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

About Bhagat Singh

 He was born into a Sikh family, but many historians believe he was an atheist.

Via BBC News

It's no belief but declared so in no uncertain terms by the man himself.

Why I am an Atheist by Bhagat Singh