Naturally, there are sexual relationships between men and women within activist spaces and organisations, but male entitlement combined with a privileged position, and a significant follower/comrade base provides a sense of dangerous impunity to these men. As a result of this, there are various cases of asymmetrical power relations between men and women, which translates into sexual harrassment at work and intimate partner abuse or both.
Letter by a minor girl, who was gang raped in Mawryngkneng, East Khasi Hills reveals the shocking patriarchal realities at the heart of so called ‘democratic’ and ‘traditional’ local village administration in Matrilineal Meghalaya.
‘However hard they try to deny that this issue isn’t about reservation and try to divert the issue to taxation and interpretation of Constitution, the truth is they can’t stand to see a woman holding political power. Patriarchy is deeply rooted in our Naga society. Things got to change. Our women need some freedom.’ (A Naga fellow via digital forum)
Within Nagaland, especially among young people, there is a quiet groundswell of support for women reservation. When the protest against reservation begun, I had been following the discussion on social media and whatsapp. Of course, there are those young men, with their regressive views, who are the loudest even here. Their opposition to the reservation is usually because, in their views, women are premature to partake in decision making, or that it is an open field where both women and men should fight equally. But there are other voices, both men and women, who believe that the existing social structure is highly discriminatory, and that without reservation it is almost impossible for women to take part in decision making. Yet these voices are seldom heard, primarily because of the draconian directives passed by the tribal bodies.
Given that Naga men and their tribal bodies have complete control over both the definition and exercise of what constitutes Naga customary laws, there is no room left for any debate or conversation with other concerned persons. It has now come to a point where customary laws are being used to reinforce patriarchy and legitimize violence, to subject and silence women and to shut down any space for gender justice.
Last Tango in Paris director Bernardo Bertolucci has admitted in a 2013 video that has resurfaced, to conspiring with actor Marlon Brando against the 19-year old Maria Schneider while filming a graphic rape scene in the film.
In the video, Bertolucci admits that he did not tell her that the rape was part of the script, so she was caught unawares.
I think Shankaracharya Swaroopanand was quoting from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad when he was issuing rape threats. No wonder there is a culture of rape in India, when one’s religious texts sanction it, and when one’s religious leaders encourage it, what else do you expect in a a very religious nation.
“Kaba i jakhlia khamtam kam dei ki dur jong kine ki thei hynrei ka ktien jong kine ki nong post ba ki da pyndonkam shisha da ka ktien kaba khlemakor, ka ktien ka ba i ma, haduh ba ki da byrngem ban batbor bad pynthombor ia kine ki kynthei. Ka dei shisha mo kum kane ka jaitbynriew kaba ong ba pdiang ia ki kynthei kum ki ‘equals’?”
Essay presents the critique of perspective on gender and patriarchy of the revolutionary movement in India that comprises numerous mass organizations and movements across the country that follow Marxist-Leninist-Maoist ideology.
Roney Lyndem engages with Presbyterian Church patriarchy