An article that appeared in the Marathi magazine Chitralekha, took a note of Hindi songs from the golden era to the present time, and commented on their treatment of women. The high point was ‘Tu haan kar yaa naa kar’ — simply meaning that ‘whether you say yes or no, you are mine’. In other words, the lady’s preferences for her partner do not count. In fact, if you try a simple memory recall, you would find a long tradition of Hindi songs from black and white era to the present time — the boy chases the girl, the girl is annoyed; she keeps running and tries to escape, is chased by the boy, and within 3 stanzas gives in. So, according to them, it is a time-tested formula that if you keep chasing and harassing a girl, you would definitely win her over. If you draw a frequency distribution chart, you would find the median over this theory. Incapable of making a distinction between real and virtual world, crazy youth strive to follow the behaviour shown by their favourite stars (See: Has Cinema Made Us More Insensitive?). In so many cases, a girl was unrelenting, so the boy physically assaulted her, threw acid on her, or even killed her. It had to be so as a follow-up of that theory.
Why then this double-talk — on one side glorifying eve-teasing, and on the other hand making laws and legislation against it, holding candle marches and so on? The basic fact — which is so often ignored — is that they are also human beings and must be treated as such. Holding seminars, writing poetry, extending reservation in jobs, allotting seats in buses — all these gestures put us on a high pedestal where the whole society looks us as kind and noble. But what about the general perspective towards them — that they are created as an object for fun, happiness, entertainment, and no preference, likes and dislikes of their own? I do not claim that I understand a woman’s mind all too well, but as a human being, I do doubt whether all these ‘gifts’ of bus seats, job reservation, poetry, seminar would appeal to her if her identity as a human being itself is ignored. But then, I do not know; it is thus that I think it to be.
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