So, General Musharraf thinks that women would like to get themselves raped, just to make some easy money, and oh yeah, maybe a free ticket to the western world. After the furore, he turns around immediately offering the politicans standard excuse that he was misquoted. This is old news by now, so why am I still blogging about it?
Apart from what it says about the General's attitude to women (Disdain? Contempt?), to me, it brings up this whole issue of how even now, women are treated as the 'honor of the nation'. This does not however mean that they are to be treated with respect. What it means is that any fall in their stature (which is what rape amounts to in such a society) is a fall in the stature of the nation. Hence the problem is not so much that women are raped or mistreated every day. The problem is that these women, who have nothing better to do, they go crying to Washington with their problems, thus bringing down Pakistan's 'izzat' in the eyes of the International community. I mean, not only did they have to get themselves raped, now they have to publicise it as well and bring dishonour to the nation...Thats what the General is effectively saying. Never mind about doing anything concrete to solve the problems.
I see this same attitude when the Anna University issues a diktat on dress code, especially harsh to women - no jeans, no sleeveless, only salwar kameez. (There is a code for men as well, also dictatorial, but atleast a little more realistic than the women's code.)Which age are we living in? Why cannot women who are allowed to vote, be allowed to decide what is appropriate wear for them, atleast in discussion with the University? But no, women are the most visible face of culture; Therefore the only solution to enforce Bharatiya culture, (as though it is something static) is to ensure that the women stay in the 'right' places. Would any public body consider asking men to come in to work in dhotis on the grounds of maintaining bharatiya sabhyata? But no such qualms when it comes to women - Less than their individual selves, they are to be upheld as symbols of their culture, and therefore, conform, they must.
Similar attitude seen sometime ago on the Indian Writing blog when some anonymous twit targeted Uma for constantly writing on such issues...You are bringing a bad name to India, he said. The idea being, suffer your lot in silence, shut up and accept that maybe you did something to deserve this, maybe you wore a skirt too short, a shirt too tight..Whatever, stop talking and put a good face on things, a good face on your nation. Anything less is dishonouring your country, as the General will be the first person to tell you.