Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Women Happy to Bleed


Once I asked a class of sixteen-year olds, both boys and girls, mostly Christians, why the Biblical Satan chose to tempt Eve rather than Adam.  The answers varied from women’s “gullibility” to their “susceptibility to flattery.”  I was mildly disappointed for not getting the response which I looked forward to: “The Bible was written by a man.”

Image courtesy: Countercurrents
A few days back, the Travancore Devaswom Board obtained a new president, Prayar Gopalakrishnan, who seems to be the 21st century avatar of the writer of Genesis.  He thinks, like the author of the Adam-Eve myth, that women are an impure species.  When asked whether women would be allowed entry into the most celebrated temple in Kerala, the Sabarimala Temple, he said that he would wait for the invention of a machine that could scan the female body to determine “if it is the 'right time' (not menstruating) for a woman to enter the temple. When that machine is invented, we will talk about letting women inside."

The religious person can accept the machine which is a product of scientific temper.  But he won’t internalise the scientific temper.  His attitude towards women belongs to the period of Manusmriti or the Inquisition.  This is the most serious problem with religion: it never grows up. 

There is a movement  against the Travancore Devaswom Board Pope’s remark led by the hashtag #HappyToBleed.   I support the movement because it is not merely about gender equality.  It is also about the falsification of the reality that religion indulges in to suit its purposes. 

When the author of Genesis made Eve eat the Satanic apple he was imposing a momentous falsehood on humanity: that the woman is responsible for the sinfulness of the human race.  The falsehood gained such acceptability among the believers that the Jewish men thanked their God every morning for not making them women.  "Blessed are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has not made me a woman."  That is part of the morning blessings uttered by every Jewish male, while his female counterpart will say, “Blessed are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has made me according to Your will.”  Could a greater ignominy be cast upon the female race?

The Quran equates woman to a field which a man can plough according to his requirement.  “Women are your fields: go, then, into your fields when you please” [2:223].  The Quran unequivocally gives man superiority and authority over woman.  The falsehood has continued to be accepted as truth until this day.

“Women, true to their character, are capable of leading men – a fool and a learned man alike – astray in this world. Both become slaves of desire,” is one of the many such holy truths in Manusmriti.

This is not merely a matter of gender equality.  The aggressive domination of patriarchy is as undesirable as the equally aggressive rebelliousness of feminism.  Both are based on falsehoods.  Both are falsification of the reality.  What is required is a proper understanding and acknowledgement of each individual’s rights irrespective of the gender.  What is required is the cultivation of a sensibility that respects a person for what she or he is. 

This is not about women’s menstruation.  It is about who creates what kind of truths.  If India has become a country where an Aamir Khan cannot even express his family’s apprehensions about their security, it is because falsification of reality has become the norm today.  The current political dispensation at the Centre is spawning Prayar Gopalakrishnans who seek the help of science and technology in order to inflict falsehoods on the country’s people.  


16 comments:

  1. A powerful article. Totally agree with you, Sir.

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    1. Thanks, Purba. Religion is like the gargoyle they used to attach to old architecture: monstrous reminders of the savagery that refuses to leave us even when we advance technologically and other ways.

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  2. If you read between the lines, then Janaka-vasundara and finding Seeta after ploughing is along the same lines.

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    1. True. Sita is also an example of how the Indian women were subjugated in many ways by patriarchal systems.

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  3. Being a woman I may have down right accepted to be part of this movement but I think we need to look not merely in the perspective of religion but in the difficulty of getting there through forests in the days of yore when this rule was brought about!

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    1. But the times have changed. Religion refuses to adapt itself. Hence the contradiction. Gopalakrishnan is not speaking about security but menstruation. If that physical phenomenon does not deter women from conquering the Everest, why should it keep them out of god's presence?

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  4. Fantastic, Powerful, True, Simple!

    Every time I read a piece with a subject like this (followed by introspection), i wish people, instead of sticking to the inane theories and rituals, should understand the real philosophy behind the religions!

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    1. If people really understood their religions, there would be no conflicts in the name of religions and gods. People don't want to understand. They want power and secure other personal interests using religion. Hence religion becomes a mere economic or political tool nothing to do with gods and spirits.

      I have seen quite a few godmen in Delhi who are visited by top businesspeople and politicians who come in luxurious vehicles escorted by security guards. The godmen themselves hide behind enormous fortresses of security. Most of these godmen are people who have encroached upon govt lands and reserved forests with the help of politicians. Most businessmen use them as a meeting ground between politics and business....

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  5. Coincidentally,I get to read about things I am going through in details recently,say anarchism,say the Book of Genesis,say Catholicism and related things.
    The conspiracy theory of Dan Brown in his book 'The Da Vinci Code' has some substance in it,as I see it.At least about the Malleus Maleficarum part. I read about the Salem witch trials in details,then and it was noted clearly that women who did not cry before their punishment (which was hanging to death) and perhaps those who demanded that they weren't witches WERE THE REAL WITCHES.THIS was the indication.Oh my (God?)! And then,corporal mortification is practised TODAY in Opus Dei,along with several other dangerous procedures,brainwashing procedures.Also,Opus Dei have completed their $47 million worth construction in Texas,recently.This clearly indicates that the number of women executed is not a mere 100 or 150,it was in thousands,might even be lakhs.It is not easy to know,now.

    When I was younger,I wanted to enter the mosque one day and they told me I couldn't and when I asked why,they told me that women weren't allowed to enter.And then I asked why was it so but no one answered.When I asked the same question when I was 14,I think,they told me because women menstruated,they weren't allowed to get in.I don't give a damn about worshipping deities but I also know,if you menstruate,you aren't allowed to touch "the Puja equipments".Equipments.That's what they are. To spread their stupid propaganda.Pity that most of them do not understand this.And great post.

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    1. If you make an extensive study of religions, you will be astounded by the power games that were working. In fact, religion was not about god and spirituality for the most part. It was about political power. Those who threatened that power were eliminated after being labelled as heretics, witches, and so on.

      Keeping women out is a different matter, of course. I think that has more to do with man's weakness. Man's inability to control his own passions.

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  6. Chauvinistic pigs, I have nothing else to say

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  7. And the worse Matheikal when educated lot jumped in defense of Gopalakrishanan.

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    1. That's politics, Alka. Today intellectuals have sold themselves to politicians just as businessmen did in the past.

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  8. A strong subject and very well put across indeed. Religion never let's people grow.

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