Asaram, Tejpal, Us

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That’s possibly the best way to look at it. When we keep on letting our conscience die with every primetime show and not taking a stand, we are equal contributors

We live in a society where the intelligentsia as well as anyone with college degree keeps harping on the fact that we are in a patriarchal set up and that we need to give equal space to female counterparts. Every single debate, seminar, panel discussion, general talks in a group that is based on anything to with the other half of humanity is inadvertently thrown to this patriarchal notion of society.

Apparently we all seem to be intelligent and thinking individuals. We have a thriving media industry, albeit an industry. We have great leaders, albeit for the namesake. We have great institutions imparting knowledge, albeit with teachers looking down at their female colleagues’ abilities for various reasons. We have a great society, albeit with rapes, molestations, groping, rubbing meted out to women on a regular basis.

Suddenly we don’t seem that great. We keep hearing about this man of stature did this to women and that something-baron did that to his employee. We heard about Asaram. Even late Satya Saayi was accused of sexual advances during the nineties. And now we have one person, least thought of, accused of charges of rape under the amended laws.

Of course, we are talking about the synonym of Tehelka magazine, Tarun Tejpal. Tejpal allegedly molested a female employee, best friend of his daughter, his long time friend’s daughter, twice in lift to the extent of not only forcibly kissing her but taking off her undergarments and doing gross things.

Media is suddenly at the top of its responsible self, the fourth pillar, the beacon of truth, the saviour of humanity and the one which is unscarred. At least that’s what they project themselves to be. This happened in Asaram’s case and then the whole nation started looking for answers from all the babas. This happened after the last year’s Nirbhaya rape case when the whole nation was divided in groups of rapists and reporters.

And no wonder, this case will also sleep as our conscience does every single time. Agreed, they will be brought to books. Agreed, they will be sentenced. Agreed, they will be chased and shamed. But what then? Where does the society move from there? Where is the evolution process?

Tarun Tejpal is not one employer or editor or boss that does this. His daughter was not amused to hear this from the victim as she saw him doing the same to a woman when she was thirteen. It brings to fore several underlying facts that we all know but choose to ignore.

This is not one man taking the panties off a woman forcefully. He is just one of millions who either do it or imagine doing it. He is the representative of a big, really big, lot of people who in some ways or another indulge in all kinds of sexual misconduct with their colleagues, employees, friends and even blood relatives as and when gets a chance.

The victim was at first concerned about the job. Who is responsible for this thought process of this gender or say, generation that even after penetrated by fingers in a lift worries about a job? A highly unorganised industry where jobs are invisible and mostly known by contacts you have, there are few chances of getting a job if your ‘rebel’ behaviour is known.

The ‘rebel’ is not liked in any organisation. The rebel is made sure to suffer. Because the rebel has the potential to make you naked in the crowd. And nobody wants that. This subconscious fear which is basic to one’s existence, or so we have made it, doesn’t allow this generation to think as they should.

I have worked for a few media houses. I have seen my female colleagues being called in the boss’ chamber every now and then. I have seen male colleagues assuming that she gets her job because she does ‘something’ in that chamber. I have seen professors calling girl students and hearing them out thrice a day just to get a kick out of seeing a girl because they CAN.

The female’s character is on line from both the sides. She knows her boss is sexually repressed, frustrated individual who calls her just to see her and ease himself. She is not comfortable and, let it be clear, no one is comfortable with this. Nobody wants any kind of molestation whether physical or emotional. It breaks her inside every single time she goes in there. Because accompanied by that disgust are the disgust laden glances of her colleagues.

And let’s be clear this is not a sweeping generalisation. Let’s see inside ourselves and ask ourselves have we not heard such stories, have we not given that glance to that good looking girl when she tops the class. Her abilities are covered by her gender and more so by her skin colour and appearance. We talk in ourselves, “oh she gets the good grades as she know the teacher and talks in the corridor. We have no idea what she talks but we have all the false logic to question her abilities.

She does the job and everything else that we comfortably say, “aah… it is her job to do the household chores…” Still at every single place she is exploited, victimised, looked down upon, doubted, underestimated and all this just because she is a girl!

Who will come to the rescue? Who will take the stand? Who will gather the courage to hit in the nuts? Be sure, males won’t do this. So ladies, you will have to take a stand. You will have to fight it and know it inside that if you can bear a child in your womb you are none less than the Creator himself. You will have to believe that half of the humanity that you raised is asleep in ignorance.

The thought of you can’t do it is, well, just a thought. And this thought is also a by-product of patriarchy. The thing is if you don’t stand for yourself, no one else will. Choice is yours. Whether you want to get out of that double humiliation from the boss and co-workers, for different reasons, or you want to keep taking it because you have to tackle that existential crisis?

And we, as male members of the society, need to take a stand as well. This is universally wrong and ought to be condemned not just in words but in action as well. If we see this and let it happen in front of us, we are all contributors.

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