“What is the difference between a respectable woman and a non-respectable woman?” – This was the question posed in the above documentary to a defence lawyer belonging to the ‘great’ city of New Delhi.
He replies: “Respectable women are those who you feel are respectable, they are respected and others aren’t.”
It’s one of those answers that make most people shake their heads in either disbelief or confusion. Let me break it down to you. It’s only when women abide by his principles of respectability are they afforded the constitutional right of being whoever the hell they want to be.
It is worth the watch.
The above BBC documentary was a tough watch for me as a man, and harder still as an Indian man. The documentary follows the journey of a British-Indian girl, Radha, who is trying to come to terms with the ground reality of the status of women in India; all the way from the UK to India.
Now, I am a patriotic person and I despise most documentaries that paint a distorted view of Indian society; those that constantly focus on certain themes like the ‘booming’ economy or those that make it seem like nobody in India cares about poverty(which needs more reporting and less commenting!).
However, this video was a quite a good watch. It was both uncomfortable and insightful. That’s how it should be.
If you don’t have the time to watch the documentary, I understand. But to get a taste of what this documentary was inspired from, I encourage you all to go take a look at minutes 29:20 to 29:26 of the video. Needless to say, it was another ‘shake-of-the-head’ moment.
The Ultimate Irony
Let’s get one thing straight here – Women in India are not some deprived class that are forbidden from pursuing their own interests. It may seem that way a little in the documentary but some of the most powerful people in the country are women!
- The most powerful person in the Indian political establishment is a woman – Sonia Gandhi. Heck, she’s one of the most powerful in the world! There are also a plethora of powerful women politicians in parliament.
- Eight major Indian banks are led by women.
- India even had it’s first ever woman President in 2007 (wasn’t too great at it but she got there!).
Yet, female infanticide still persists and male chauvinism lingers like a weed that won’t budge. Despite all the evidence showing just how important women can be, certain Indian men seem to think superiority is their birthright.
So what’s the ultimate irony there? These men have been birthed by the same sex they call inferior. Need I say more?