Thursday, April 26, 2018

Rapes as Instruments - India's chances of survival

Women's bodies happened to be one of the major terrains of conflict for a long time now. Wartime sexual violence on women has been instrumental to install humiliation on enemy, initiate psychological warfare hence women continued to be seen as objects or properties to be massacred. Scholars like Bourke have already stated Rape as a weapon of war. The continuation of the sense of property most prominently described by none other than Gayatri Chakrabarti Spivak (1999) "Group rape perpetrated by the conquerors" is a "metonymic celebration of territorial acquisition." There is no shame is accepting the fact that such associations are widely practiced by people like us in their everyday life. Believe it or not when a movie shows how a sex outside marriage puts an end to a marriage or when you consider sex outside of you committed relationship to be the only measure of being unfaithful  you consider sexual rights as property rights.

Apart from the brutal events recorded in some of major agencies including Amnesty international, the association of rape with a mental transcript of conqueror needs a special attention. This is fairly common in human history. For example the infamous conquer of Maori tribe over Moriori in Chatham island in 1835 have allowed common Maoris to rape, indiscriminately kill and cook and eat the Moriori poeople in accordance with their customs. The association of rape even among the tribes happens to be linked to some sort of acquisition of sexual rights over women as properties that belonged to others.

Needless to mention such incidents can only escalate when the extent of violence and warfare increases. BBC has devoted a full length study in exploring How did rape become a weapon of war?

However, such full-fledged wartime rape and violence has broadly been undermined until 1990s when there were some laws started to appear to prosecute the perpetrators (Haddad, 2010, click here). What happens to the everyday rapes? Especially to those of organised rapes that all of a sudden India is witnessing. Let us introspect another example of the community called Fayu in New Guinea. According to their own account their number reduced from about 2000 to 400 because they have killed each other. If you ask why is that so? The simple reply is because of the lack of political and social mechanisms, which we take for granted. Such mechanisms are needed to achieve peaceful resolution to serious disputes.

Human peaceful co-existence in a context of private property, ownership of means of productions, scarce resource owes a lot to what we call law and order.

Where do we put the India's rape culture and disturbing associations of rapes by self proclaimed godmen like Asaram who is finally convicted, or rapes allegedly inside Temple and in Madrasa in this broad spectrum of violence against women, wartime rape or its everydayness?

First of all India is increasingly showing the tendencies like that of Fayu community. Yes, our constitutional instruments are slowly decaying so does the vibrant public sphere which is now divided into numerous fragments. For example while there is a rape inside a temple in Kathua a significant portion of the public sphere tried to link it with other rape cases committed by others completely undermining the fact that Kathua case was significantly different in terms of organised move in the name of Hindutva to support the perpetrators.

Secondly, an extension to the fragmented publics, there seems to be an initiation of genocide through rape. Yes, ethnic cleansing through rape. Such intentions become apparent when there are people including ministers supporting the protests march demanding a release of the accused.  

With such disturbing events surfacing everyday, we can only hope that Indians are not the Maoris nor are they Fayus yet, otherwise with 6th largest economy, 131st position in Human Development Index, 100th global hunger index and 138th position in Press Freedom Index India doesn't stand a chance to survive as a country where people can live without getting killed and raped.

SEE ALSO: Crimes against children what NCRB says: in this link

Spivak, Gayatri Chakravorty (1999). A Critique of Postcolonial Reason: Towards a History of the Vanishing Present. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 300.

Image courtesy:,_27-Oct-2007.jpg#/media/File:2734_-_Firenze_-_Baccio_Bandinelli_-_Rilievo_del_monumento_a_Giovanni_delle_Bande_Nere_-_Foto_Giovanni_Dall%27Orto,_27-Oct-2007.jpg 

1 comment:

  1. What a brilliant line of argument. Thanks for writing.