With great pleasure and utmost satifaction at having finally read something which has elicited a standing ovation, right here, before my laptop and in the presence of my office table, t.v., notes, all bearing silent testimony to this uncharacteristic burst of unveiled appreciation. . I present to you excerpts from the speech of Suketu mehta,award winning writer par excellence,delivered at the India Today conclave.
Last year, five thousand women were burnt alive because their families couldn’t give the dowry their husbands’ families demanded. In the last century, fifty million Indian girls were aborted or killed immediately after birth, for the simple crime of being female. More than half of all Indian women are illiterate, compared to a third of Indian men. These are issues where men and women can should not just be talking together but fighting together. You don’t have to use the ‘f-word’ – you don’t have to be a feminist to see that a man beating a woman because her father hasn’t come through with the dowry, or a woman earning half the wage for the same amount of work as a man, is just wrong. You don’t have to be a feminist; you just have to be human. Humanism could replace feminism and whatever its converse is – machoism? Masochism?
Shortly after India Today invited me to represent power machismo, the feminist playwright Eve Ensler invited me to write a monologue for V-Day this June, to fight violence against women. I accepted, because I love women. I came out of one. And because there are truly violent things happening against women in the world today. Under the Taliban, women whose ankles showed under their burkhas were whipped by the religious police. In Pakistan, there’s an epidemic of honor killings.
Every day, little girls are brought from the hills of Nepal to the brothels of Bombay to be raped for the rest of their working lives.
The modern urban Indian woman doesn’t need anybody to fight on her behalf. She’s perfectly capable of taking on the world on her own. The middle-class women that I know in Delhi and Bombay are powerful, resolute, and successful. They have the love of extended families, and are far more comfortable with fathers and brothers than most of the women I’ve seen elsewhere. Indian women like their men. They even love some of them. And if a man expresses interest in them, they know how to handle it; they know how to say no and they know how to say yes. If their boss makes a pass at them, they are perfectly capable of kicking him in the balls; if he then denies them a raise, they know how to sue him, and win.
Someday there will be girls and women whose name will no longer mean the mere opposite of the male, but something in itself, something that makes one think not of any complement and limit, but only life and
reality: the female human being.
This advance (at first very much against the will of the outdistanced
men) will transform the love experience, which is now filled with error, will change it from the ground up, and reshape it into a relationship that is meant to be between one human being and another, no longer one that flows from man to woman. And this more human love… will resemble what we are now preparing painfully and with great
struggle: the love that consists in this: the two solitudes protect and border and greet each other.”
, here’s my solution to bridging the divide between the toughest of men and women: Power feminists should hook up with power machistas. The resulting explosion of primal passion will create power babies, who will bring new vigor to our tired human species. More power to them.
And Power to you..Suketu Mehta. May your tribe increase!!
Not only have his words captured the essence of modern Indian woman but he has , by virtue of gaining privy into her soul, verbalised the spirit she embodies.
A man capable of making a woman speechless!!(husbands need to enroll asap)
What seemed immensely gratifying was his almost reverential approach , not meant as in the letter of the term , more the spirit. He seems to have no problems in evaluating the series of upsets women have faced down the ages, but his analysis though apparently free of emotion is pungent with understanding, so essential in discriminating feminism from appearing as anti- male-ism (if there is a word as this)
It is high time all humanity sit up and take notice of problems that have plagued us , not only stemming from the fact of undue advantage taken since we are the weaker sex physically, but also indifference, apathy, intolerance, centuries of genetic engineering paving male domination and superiority as a matter of right ,not open to discussion.
In a day and age when rape, murder, street harassment, dowry deaths, female infanticide seem ubiquitous, such utterings from a male are simply Godly.
“Feminism” as a concept has its roots in chauvinism being prevalent in overwhelming proportions. Either , ideally should be done away with to be replaced by ‘humanism’ as suggested by Suketu.
The clerisy, need to be more vociferous for the idea to permeate to all age groups and strata. One cannot underestimate the role women can play as mothers in bringing up boys worthy to be termed “MEN”, in character and outlook,most importantly towards women.