The danger in calling anyone greater than the rest is the power of manipulation that we provide them with. The greatest power to wield inIndia, far more unquestionable than prestige or wealth, is faith. People seek out the final answers to their journey and often approach people claiming to have a closer connection to God.
The threat to rationality and society that option can have has become apparent again with Asaram Bapu’s statements about the rape victim.
To quote him verbatim, “The girl should have taken God’s name and could have held the hand of one of the men and said, ‘I consider you my brother’ and to the other two, she should have said, ‘Brothers, I am helpless. You are my brothers, my religious brothers’. Then the misconduct wouldn’t have happened.”
While not accusing the man of a malicious intention, it is the line of thought with which we take issue. Keeping in mind the well-publicized scenario in which the incident took place, and the utterly brutal and violent domination of the woman that took place, it’s dangerous, when however inherently, we obliquely try to blame a victim.
As soon as the victim is blamed in a crime, especially one that is sexually violating, we are simply accepting a situation where it is almost acceptable to treat females as objects. For all the caustic comments that have been issued by religious leaders until now, what is astonishing is a lack of discourse about empathy. A complete vacuum exists when it comes to talking about respecting women, be it based on simple ethics or scriptures.
We’re listening to voices today that are often opinionated in the absence of information, but more importantly, voices that have been hardened by a complete disconnection from reality. Where do we draw the line between letting remarks go just because they are cloaked in spirituality? If this is our best understanding of morality, we seem to be propagating a directionless society.
Hatred against women has become an apathetically acceptable part of society. Be it from godmen, ministers or pop stars. Maybe that’s what we need to start changing for a beginning.