Social Distance & Violence- Our Unpaid cognisable offences
Violence, unlike its portrayal is rarely an individual reality that emerges from a vacuum. Our perception of violence and the response it evokes is a product of socialization with culture, ethnicity, sense of identity, technology, skill, all playing a significant role, at times far more than the long hands of the law.
Is there a short cut to deal with violence sans its socio-political reality?
I. Social Distance and Our lives
Social Distance and Gender Identification.
When female foeticide is ignored and sex ratio discrepancies become rampant across a state and brides are brought in from another state, moulded to meet specific requirement. Of course, any failures are discarded. I wonder what happens when sex ratio discrepancies become a matter of fact across states, will the brides be imported from nearby countries and then tailor made to fit.
When girl child is asked to be absent from school to take care of younger siblings it is not only the second status of girl versus the boy that is asserted it also belittles the beautiful act of nurturing in mind of the boy. While discontinuing of education is crime, irrespective of gender, the beauty of nurturing inculcated in the young can build a better sensitive society.
Another instance where culture tries to eliminate emphasis of “I” in a girl or woman is seen even in case of the attire code insisted upon. It is not only on religious grounds that a woman is expected to hide her face, which may be linked to belief that men are so fickle that a little amount attractive stimuli can corrupt their mind. There also other cultures in India, where woman is expected to hide her face behind a veil at the same time it is fine if she exposes other parts of her body. Have been asked by friends from other cultures as to the logic behind it. In my mind the only explanation is that, it is another instance for society to assert that “I” in a girl or woman is relevant as long as it is linked to husband and immediate family. For development of “I” is a process that can occur in different dimensions and being always behind a veil is not conducive for development of a critical, independent mind but a submissive and obedient self.
Often girls are socialized to an extent that they accept many rituals as part of life. As a teenager I realized my perception may be more critical than others. A young girl is expected to make herself pretty and present herself to prospective bridegroom’s family, often offering tea/coffee or snacks. While the future to be in laws, assess the girl’s grace, checks for deformities, and query about her skills. As a young girl the only parallel I could draw to this was that of cattle market where customers come and check out cows in terms of grace, milk productivity and scope for breeding. The worst is the conversations, where girl is objectified, analysed, judged as though the universe has given them special rights to be judgemental. No thought about young children who may be hanging around and are being moulded to objectify a woman. At a young age, I realized the ordeal is not for me, for I wanted and had the luxury of being the subject of my own reality and not an object for someone else. My parents stood by my freedom to decide, though their point of view differed.
The final assertion of irrelevance of “I” for a girl child occurs when honour killing is justified by family and community. They state if a girl chooses to assert “I”, they will be silenced.
Social Distance and Caste/Race Identities:
Social Distance and Religious Identities – Influence of Flux
Lynched to death for a Cuisine Choice
Recent news articles highlight how members from Dalit community have been protesting against vigilant activities by cow brigades. They have taken measures to catch the attention of the democratic government about their right to exist as citizens, their protest includes refusal to carry the carcass of dead animals.