If Islam is seen as the reason why women experience violence in Islamic countries, why don’t we hold Hinduism responsible for violence against women in India? Hinduism calls women untouchable, slaves and devoid of all rights. She only considers the birth of a male child to be worthy. It prohibits women from being educated or being financially independent. He expects women to take care of the housework and please their husbands whenever he asks. He expects her to have as many children as her husband wants and to honor the community. He expects her to keep her head down and not fall in love. He expects women to be at her husband’s feet even though she rules the country. Through each rule, religion recommends only oppression against women. To this day, leaders like Amit Shah and Mohan Bhagwat use many stages to propagate the anti-female ideologies of Hinduism.
The rape and murder of an eight-year-old child shocked the international community. While the barbaric act was seen as committed by Hindu fundamentalists, child marriages that allow children to be raped are a culture. Thousands of girls are raped every day in the name of child marriage. Child marriage in India has a long history from the Vedic Age to the present day. Hindus believe that not marrying their daughters before a certain age will lead them to hell. He also believes that women will be misled if they do not have a husband after menarche.
The UNICEF report that one in three child marriages in the world takes place in India may serve as evidence. When it comes to children, there is no difference between sex and rape. An eight-year-old girl was raped by strangers. In Indian homes, girls are raped by their husbands. Because it’s their culture, because it’s their religious practice. Behind every violence against women in India, Hindu culture has a role to play.
Not just this year, not just under BJP rule, Hindu fundamentalism still oppresses women in India culturally. When the BJP came to power, it gave moral impetus to atrocities committed in the name of culture. Because it enjoys direct or indirect government support, the violence that was committed in the dark a few years ago is now being committed in broad daylight and with much noise.
Islamic countries do not follow democracy. But India is the biggest democracy in the world. If he guarantees that every individual is respected, has freedom and rights, then there should not have been atrocity. But in a stark contrast, India is ashamed on the international stage when it comes to treating women. If women are worse off in India than in war-ravaged Syria or Afghanistan, it is only because violence is cultural and women are given the responsibility of protecting this culture.
Women are led to believe that their Indianness is in their slavery. Community fundamentalism teaches the slavery of women and the domination of men. Women will only remain moral if their husbands mistreat them physically. Even in the 21st century, women as a society believe it is okay to endure any atrocity to protect the institution of the family.
Any woman who dares to break religious laws is not spared even by women. Hindu caste women are inclined to punish Dalit women who break religious rules through gang rape. They know that the domination of castes and men is the root of Hinduism. If every man and woman in the family operates under the SSR ideology, how can violence not happen? Culture is not something that operates in domination and slavery, not something that degenerates into violence. Rather, it is about promoting equality and fraternity. Indians should understand this.
(Translated from Tamil by Kavitha Muralidharan. The writer is a prominent Tamil journalist)