In early August 2021, the hashtag #arrestlucknowgirl was trending in India. In a viral video dated July 30, one can see a girl in a white t-shirt and denims thrashing a cab driver on the Kesari Kheda site visitors crossing in Lucknow’s Krishna Nagar. A First Data Report (FIR) was registered in opposition to this lady as outrage sparked on social media. Whereas the lady mentioned the cab driver was at fault, the motive force threatened suicide urging the police to take motion. Feminists won’t deny the apparent violence within the video. Violence is just not okay and the lady is clearly at fault. However I ponder if this righteous on-line rage in opposition to the “Lucknow lady” functioned from a deep-seated misogynist urge for food of punishing ladies. The place is that this outrage when ladies/women are gang-raped, killed in broad daylight, and forcefully cremated? The place are such so-called calls for of justice realizing that a minimum of ten Dalit ladies are raped day by day? Such a line of questioning is just not whataboutism. Consideration should be known as to misguided requires justice.
For instance, within the case of Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s dying final 12 months, cries of “justice for SSR” have been acted out by means of brazen misogyny in opposition to Sushant’s girlfriend, Rhea Chakraborty. In identify of justice, ladies have been labeled pretty much as good and evil. Sushant’s ex-girlfriend was solid because the prior whereas Chakraborty was the latter. This in flip gave rise to shameless on-line abuses hurled at her and her household.
Inside this fictional world of fine versus evil, anybody sympathizing with Rhea Chakraborty was thought of a nasty lady, dangerous individual, dangerous Hindu, and in extension a nasty Indian. Reality and fiction merged as masculine-nationalist calls for for justice started normalizing violence and imprisonment as correctional instruments. The sample continued within the Lucknow case. Violence and state-sanctioned controlling of ladies seem fascinating with a purpose to restore digressing ladies to the so-called ideally suited of right-wing Hindu goodness. That’s the reason imprisoned feminine Indian activists don’t discover public assist. Their imprisonment is seen as one thing they deserve since they protested the Hindu state. Of their need to hunt equity, these misguided calls of justice find yourself demanding extra violence, extra gendered state management.
In postcolonial India, ladies have been a potent website to assemble distinctive Indian nationalism and ideally suited femininity. Nationalist masculine violence and state-sanctioned repression have traditionally been the specified method to restore digressing ladies to the tenets of ideally suited femininity. Gender theorists and historians like Urvashi Butalia, Ania Loomba, and plenty of extra have prolifically engaged with the intersection of nationalism and native patriarchy in creating beliefs of Indian womanhood. As a substitute of benefitting India and its ladies, such intersections solely strengthened conventional casteist Hindu gender codes. These students have additionally illuminated the function violence performs in developing beliefs of Hindu womanhood in post-partition India.
For instance, After partition, Hindu ladies have been forcibly retrieved from Pakistan in India’s determined try and solidify its nationwide id; consent didn’t matter. The Indian state recruited its ladies to hold out such pressured retrieval. Households separated. Lovers died by suicide. Through the Sati period, many Hindu women and men argued that self-immolation was a widow’s selection. They needed to limit colonial state interference of their affairs. Within the ideological battles of colonizer vs native, overseas vs Indian, ladies confronted repercussions, typically violent, and at all times epistemological. With hashtags like #arrestlucknowgirl, one can see residues of anxious nationalist masculinity performing out. These anxieties are extra inclined on penalizing ladies.
One should not overlook that the Lucknow case was additionally a class-based assault. It’s not merely a girl beating a person, however a girl with extra class privilege assaulting a person who she considers much less human than her. Such violence mimics patriarchy and emerges from numerous intersections. Historic and cultural subjugation of ladies has left ladies with unresolved trauma and frustration. A tradition the place gender-based violence turns into as regular because the day leaves survivors of such violence with no different selection than to search out recourse in additional violence. In different phrases, the abused turns abuser.
Violence is seen because the seductive crucial to feeling highly effective in a closely capitalist-patriarchal society. Inept police system has left annoyed, traumatized individuals throughout. The girl within the Lucknow case has claimed that she was being harassed for the previous 12 months and had gone to the police for a similar, however no motion had been taken but. Authorized lethargy frustrates ladies attempting to hunt justice in a patriarchal society. Therefore, violent outbursts turn out to be a method to make sense of a repeatedly mindless actuality. This doesn’t imply that the “Lucknow lady” is just not improper. It solely implies that the problem is just not so simple as we would favor it to be.
Moreover, rising world capitalist ideology renders sure individuals just like the cab driver on this case weak to violence from many sides. He’s as weak to a person’s assault as a girl’s assault as police brutality. Sadly, when these frustrations collide, chaos takes an enormous kind, and penalizing ladies seem a straightforward resolution. The girl within the Lucknow case deserves authorized motion for her outright dehumanizing conduct. However would punishing her remedy deeper cultural issues? Did vicious assaults on Rhea Chakraborty remedy the problems of psychological well being, pandemic melancholy, and drug abuse? No.
Hashtags calling to punish ladies are momentary reliefs. Performative holier than thou attitudes on social media usually are not options. The foundation causes of such points are gender insensitivity, class disparity, systemic casteism, and structural patriarchy to call just a few. We’re on this collectively and calls to punish some ladies are by no means going to make the world safer for all ladies. Neither such calls are going to profit defenseless males. They’re merely going to widen the chasm between women and men, giving rise to uncontrolled brutalism. We must always start participating with postcolonial Indian feminist consciousness by denouncing violence strongly with out universalizing a stand-alone problem.
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