Sunday, May 8, 2016

Before and after a rape
Malini Nair of the Times Group, in an Op-ed article, Story Behind the Rape in ToI on 6th May, 2016 contends that the traditional “adakkavum othukkavum” (which she conveniently, “loosely” translates as control and docility ) introduced to the girlhood by the family patriarchs in Kerala society as acceptable behavior pattern for women, is responsible for Kerala women’s basic tendency to acquiesce, accept and not to rebel or question.

The ridiculous part of the argument is that she cites her discovery as the reason for the innumerable cases of rapes, assaults against the women, sexual harassment, and cruelty by husbands that she quotes from the NCRB statistics of the past one decade! I have lived a major part of my life in Kerala and raised a daughter there; so have my brothers and sisters. “Adakkavum othukkavum” in the familial parlance was never what Malini Nair understands.  I am sure, she knows what it is, but fakes the understanding to get a point of view validated: that patriarchal families forced girl children to imbibe certain traditional values she opposes for whatever reasons, and alleges that those values wanted a “polite society” she finds hateful, being an argumentative and spirited woman herself or is the category she represents.)  

“Adakkavum othukkavum’ is a phrase meaning modesty, forebearance, self-control, humility, fortitude and stoicism” in a society that protected women “like the eyeball”. If one goes by Ms.Nair’s contention, the girls belonging to the new generation of “spirited” women, in the State considered also"gender empowered"(that is equal to men in areas of  political participation and decision making, economic participation and decision making, and power over economic resources) would not have suffered the fate enumerated by her! Jisha was an MA, and was doing her LLB. The only problem was that her family had no money, and no male members to keep a watch over her to see that no harm comes. Poor women have always been targeted, unless they had some other power to compensate for the lack of money: family, associations, employment, or direct political backing.  

A decade ago I had written a long blog (‘Sex and Keralites’) about the unacceptable sexual behavior of the Malayalee males. I had written in there that “Kerala’s major contribution in social life seems to be in giving the go to the element of consent and dragging innocent girls and women in vulnerable plights into the sordid world of sexual exploitation.” And also “People seem to flaunt their affection for not only the other sex, but for one’s own these days”....“Now incest is not the rarest phenomenon it was in Kerala. In fact no relationship seems to have any sanctity. Boys openly crack sexual jokes about their teachers’ wives. Sisters-in-law who used to be equivalent to mothers in olden times have also become desirable sexual objects these days. Friends’ mothers are no different.”

Ms.Nair is silent about what make boys and men behave as they do, and concentrates on why the women have to undergo the horrible experience all their lives. Why is it that any female between the age of six and sixty is unsafe on Kerala’s thoroughfares even in broad daylight, as late M.P.Narayana Pillai bemoaned? I believe, it is not because of the “adakkavum othukkavum” instilled in the girls from childhood, but on account of the breakdown of traditional mores, values, also of the fundamental moral views which were replaced by a modern one: “men and women are like he-goats and she goats; every normally constituted man wants to pop into bed with every normally constituted woman; and vice versa!”I am quoting from memory a character with a nickname ‘Subanovsky’ in a K A Abbas novel. Those who conducted ‘Chumban Samaram”(‘Kiss of Love’) were drawing other people’s sisters to join them in a fake protest, as an initiation process into a form of physical relationship starting from lips! And it was proven so, with some kingpin later being found to operate an online sex racket! The disgusting saga doesn’t end there...

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