A few days ago Bollywood actress Swara Bhasker took social media by storm for her open letter to Sanjay Leela Bhansali talking about his recently released film Padmaavat. Notwithstanding the various references she gave on how ‘tolerant’ Bharat has become, the actress highlighted the conclusion she drew from the film.
As a viewer, Swara felt – “like a vagina. I felt reduced to a vagina–only. I felt like all the ‘minor’ achievements that women and women’s movements have made over the years – like the right to vote, the right to own property, the right to education, equal pay for equal work, maternity leave, the Vishakha judgement, the right to adopt children…… all of it was pointless; because we were back to basics.”
How exactly did Swara manage to come to this conclusion when the Karni Sena (which she terms as terrorists) was happy with the film? Here are her reasons: “It would be nice if the vaginas are respected; but in the unfortunate case that they are not, a woman can continue to live. In general there is more to life than the vagina. Your film, it felt, had brought us back to that question from the Dark Ages – do women – widowed, raped, young, old, pregnant, pre-pubescent… do they have the right to live? A mentality that believes that the worth of women lies in their vaginas, that female lives are worthless if the women are no longer controlled by male owners or if their bodies have been ‘desecrated’ by the touch of; or even the gaze of a male who doesn’t by social sanction ‘own’ or ‘control’ the female.”
Firstly, some of the practices that Swara has spoken about don’t exist today, while some are still lurking around and are in fact glorified in the present times more than ever. While Sati and Jauhar are obviously a thing of the past in Bharat, the hijab system is still followed not just in Bharat, but across various nations globally amongst the Muslim population and others are also following suit. Why did Swara not talk of something that is followed and enforced even today?
It is hard to understand Swara’s selective criticism ideology. That she completely dismisses the fact that various fashion brands are glorifying hijab and that she also doesn’t talk of triple talaq is something that doesn’t really make sense. Moreover, she sarcastically dismisses the portrayal of 13 century Muslim invaders – “Muslims were beasts who devoured meat and women alike, and honourable Hindu women happily jumped into their husbands funeral pyre, and if they couldn’t make it to the funeral, they built a pyre and rushed into it — in fact, they liked the idea of collective suicide so much that they gleefully discussed it over their daily beautification rituals.”
If being a woman Swara can write such incomprehensible statements, a man stooping to any lower level is definitely understood. That is exactly what ‘celebrated Indian cultural and religious writer’ Devdutt Pattanaik opted for.
The tweet below by Pattanaik was made at a time when the controversy over the Padmaavat movie was at its peak. So even though he makes no direct mention of Jauhar, the timing and derogatory reference to Rajputana make it clear what his target is.
If Meera-bai had listened to male trolls & female trolls of Rajputana she would have committed Sati for sake of 'honour'. But she chose Krishna and danced and sang in Vrindavan. She chose divine life, rather than glamorous death. pic.twitter.com/odIFKNTZgc
— Devdutt Pattanaik (@devduttmyth) November 19, 2017
Pattanaik speaks of trolls of Rajputana who he says drove women to Sati at the time when Meera-bai lived. He claims that Sati/Jauhar was considered a ‘glamorous’ death. Mr. Pattanaik, I would recommend you read the book Sati – Evangelicals, Baptist Missionaries, and the Changing Colonial Discourse by Prof Meenakshi Jain. Or if going through such rigorous academic work is not your cup of tea, just read this review of the book which explains how Sati has always been an uncommon occurrence in Bharat and not widely prevalent as the colonial-era atrocity literature made it out to be. No widow was forced to commit Sati or asked to commit it for ‘honor’ – on the contrary priests and family would try to dissuade the widow who decided to voluntarily commit Sati.
The Quint, the liberal website known for its bizarre take on some of the most important and sensitive subjects, stooped to another level of yellow journalism.
Through this video, the website is asking people to not consider rape/sexual crime as a life altering experience and hence Jauhar shouldn’t be glorified. ‘It is 2017 and women are still told that rape is as good as the end of their life. A woman without her izzat will belong to no man – the horror! – and therefore, she must fade into oblivion,’ states The Quint video write-up.
The Quint seems to be oblivious to the reality even in 2017. Ditto for Swara, who claims to be a ‘Twitter Warrior’. We can get a glimpse of what Hindu women captured by despots like Khilji faced, in the way ISIS captured many Yazidi women in Syria as sex slaves – there are tonnes of stories about the atrocities that they had to face from the Islamic State terrorists.
The treatment of captured women by Islamists, of any era, is brutal and soul-destroying – it is not just rape/sexual crime, but something far worse and unimaginable for ordinary humans. Also, back in the 13th century, many Hindu women & children captured by the Islamic invaders were also forced to march in harsh conditions to the slave markets of Central Asia.
But Swara, for some reason, thinks she is morally superior for deciding that being such a sexual slave is better than dying. “I felt very uncomfortable watching your climax, watching that pregnant woman and little girl walk into the fire. I felt my existence was illegitimate because God forbid anything untoward happened to me, I would do everything in my power to sneak out of that fiery pit– even if that meant being enslaved to a monster like Khilji forever” is what she wrote in her letter to Bhansali. What Swara fails to understand is that the mother of the little girl (in the film) didn’t want her daughter to suffer barbaric treatment at such a young age and instead choose death for her. Imagine her plight in carrying her daughter into the fire!
In today’s age, there are several Yazidi young girls who have suffered the horrors of being an Islamic sex slave and stated that they would have preferred death over being serially sexually abused. Should we judge these Yazidi girls for choosing ‘glamorous’ death over life under ISIS captivity?
Our liberal media considers Jauhar as an atrocity against women, even when the women themselves preferred death, over a life of non-stop brutality. The Rajput men, too, performed what is called Shaka – knowing that defeat is inevitable, the Rajput men vowed to kill as many enemies before they died in battle. Running away from defeat was never an option for the men, so should we now mock their indomitable spirit or criticise them for seeking such ‘glamorous’ deaths?
But notwithstanding the obvious atrocities women have to face as sex slaves and the psychological/physical implications it has, the libtards want us to believe that a woman who decides not to put up with serial rape and abuse is somehow mentally disturbed or deluded. But in reality Jauhar, to the one who did it, was definitely not about glamour or reducing herself to her genitals. It was about empowering women to live a life which they had the liberty to end in the way they seemed fit for themselves. But alas, being a libtard seems to be a one way street.
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