Mangaluru: Right-wing ideology responsible for most violence against women - Indira Jaising

Daijiworld Media Network - Mangaluru

Mangaluru, Dec 18: Distinguished senior Supreme Court advocate Indira Jaising on Monday December 17 said that right-wing ideology was responsible for a large amount of the violence committed against women today, and stressed that true gender justice lay in giving women an agency to live their life on their own terms. She also lashed out at the central government over its 'hypocrisy' on the implementation of the Sabarimala judgement.

She was delivering the B V Kakkilaya Inspired Oration-2018 at Ravindra Kala Bhavan, University College here on the theme "Gender Justice in India". The programme was organized by Hosatu weekly, Bengaluru, M S Krishnan Memorial Trust, Bengaluru, Samadarshi Vedike, Mangaluru, in association with University College and University Evening College.

"I see myself as a person supporting people's movements inside the courtroom, but I also believe that you cannot support people's movements inside the courtroom unless you are yourself connected to people's movements outside the courtroom. Throughtout my career I have tried to live by those connections, make connection with people's movements, and then carried their issues and problems to the courtroom and argue for them, in accordance with constitutional principles," she said.

Speaking on the debate over 'constitutional morality' especially in light of the recent statements by Attorney General K K Venugopal, Jaising said, "Everything that happens in the legislature, the judiciary and the executive must be governed by constitutional morality. As far as our understanding goes, it (constitutional morality) is the principles contained in the preamble of the Constitution of India - liberty, equality, fraternity, dignity; it is the freedoms contained in the fundamental rights of the Constitution; and it is the guidance given to all the states under the directive principles of state policy. Very often it is thought that the directive principles of state policy are only meant for the judiciary and the lawyers. This is not true. The state includes the executive and legislature as well, so we have clear set principles based on which the provisions of the Constitution are interpreted."

Elaborating on the meaning of the term 'gender', she said while 'sex' is biological, 'gender' is a sociological construct. "While constructing gender, you will find patriarchy and misogyny as deeply essential elements, the determinants, of what is considered to be gender. In public domain as well as inside the courtroom, there is a construct of what is considered a 'good woman' and a 'bad woman', a 'good victim' and a 'bad victim', and it is only the 'good victim' who is deserving the protection of the state. And so it is important to say a few things about the role of misogyny and patriarchy in the construction of what is considered a good woman. The world over, there has been a shift of politics towards the right, whether it is in India, or the United States or in the Middle East. We have experienced this right-wing shift in India in the last four-and-a-half years. We all know that we are heading towards the general elections which will bring to an end the right-wing politics of five years, hopefully."

She also said that the combination of 'hypernationalism' seen in the last few years and 'religious conservatism' has been a big worry for women in India. "What this combination does is that it takes away the agency of women. We are no longer able to make our own choices - what kind of food we wish to eat, what kind of clothes we wish to wear - all this is traceable to a particular concept of what is considered a good woman. The question is, where is this coming from? As a practising lawyer who is obliged to read texts, as far as I can see, this is coming from Manusmriti... which is deeply anti-women," she said, adding that there is a statue of Manu in the Rajasthan high court, and women's demand for its removal has been met with hostility bordering on violence. She also said that even according to the texts by RSS ideologues like M S Gowalkar and the political party BJP, the role of the woman was confined to the household and as producer of children. "If this is vision of women that is put into action by ruling parties, what protection can we expect for women?" she said.

Referring to the Supreme Court's landmark judgement on Sabarimala issue, Jaising said, "The judges placed on record that they were basing their judgement on constitutional morality. It is unacceptable to our Consitutition to say that women cannot enter a temple. As someone who argued the case, I can tell you that some of the men who were arguing for the temple were hesitating even to say the word 'menstruation'. I argued that only women menstruate and men do not; it was a straightforward biological function that they were objecting to, so it was a discrimination based on sex. And the Constitution says there shall be no discrimination based on sex."

She further pointed out that the entire argument that the celibacy of the Sabarimala deity would be disturbed in the presence of a woman effectually consructs the gender perception of a woman as a 'seducer'. "It is extensively recorded in the judgement that this kind of argument is unconstitutional because it is based on the stereotyped understanding of a woman as a 'seducer' without actually treating a woman as a full citizen," she said.

Hitting out at the 'rule of the mob' that 'prevents women from living the kind of life they wish', she said, "All this is coming from an ideological approach towards women which is misogynistic, and from patriarchal notions of religion. We are supposed to behave like good Hindu women, that's it. What this approach does is, it denies the woman any agency of her own." She said during 2004 and 2014, several schemes like MNREGA and Food Security Act were passed which guaranteed employment and food to women and families, and also acts against domestic violence and sexual harassment. "Of course, this does not mean there is no violence. According to the latest UN report, over 80 percent of the women who died did so in their homes. This raises the question whether women are safe in their homes anymore," she said, quoting from the UN report, adding that most women were victims of violence committed by intimate partners or close family members who are conditioned to widely accepted societal norms of men's authority, where men who hold on to rigid rules are more likely to resort to violence.

"Right-wing ideology is responsible for a large amount of violence against women - if they (women) dare to step out of the role assigned to them by that ideology," she added. She also lamented that a large part of the Nirbhaya fund which is reserved for women's security had remained unspent, and that the Beti Bachao campaign had failed to improve the sex ratio in states like Haryana despite changes being introduced.

She also spoke briefly on the Supreme Court judgement on the issue of triple Talaq, stating that healthy developments in gender justice in the last four years has come largely from the court rather than the government. "I would also like to point out the hypocrisy of governments in the implementation of Sabarimala and triple Talaq judgements. Our goverment at the centre lost no time in claiming that they were the guardians of the Muslim women, that they had abolished triple Talaq. They introduced a law criminalising triple Talaq. It was unanimously rejected by the women's movements, because what we wanted was triple Talaq to be declared unconstitutional, we did not want it to be declared as a crime, as once declared unconstitutional, it cannot exist. Now look at their (central government's) approach in Sabarimala case. We all know there is a huge physical protest going on at the site of the temple. We also know that the BJP leaders have gone on record urging policemen at the temple site to act according to their conscience rather than the judgement of the Supreme Court. It is the first time I am seeing a ruling party urging people not to implement a ruling of the Supreme Court. It came to be as a big shock, but I have no doubt that such active disobedience of the order of the Supreme Court will be a subject of discussion before the Court," she said.

"True gender justice means giving agency to women to take all decisions about how they wish to live their life. Liberation also has to come by empowering women especially economically. The right to earn a livelihood is the right of every woman, married or unmarried, and not be economically dependent on anyone. They must be able to walk out of a bad marriage without feeling economic stress. There are many who stay in a bad marriage because they cannot afford to walk out of it. One approach is where you give women the agency to live their own life, and the other approach is the Hindutva approach which sees women as nothing but procreators of sons. I love my country and my entire career has been devoted to gender justice. I believe the Constitution of India is in danger of being hijacked, and I believer it is my duty to defend the Constitution," she said.

She also lauded the #MeToo movement, stating that it was a proud moment in Indian history, as for the first time, women have found their voice and been brave enough to call out men who sexually harassed them.

Dr Srinivas Kakkilaya introduced Indira Jaising and welcomed the gathering. Principal of University College Uday Kumar also spoke on the occasion. Nagesh proposed the vote of thanks. Jaising was honoured with a memento as a token of gratitude.


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Comment on this article

  • Rajesh, Udupi

    Tue, Dec 18 2018

    Those who are real hindus know that one has to fall on the feet of mother and say mathr devo bhav. Do nari pooja of women seeing goddess saraswati, laksmi parwati in them, call erth as mother and say ‘excuse me’ before stepping on the first foot on ground from bed in the morning. .anyways, no amount of good things can cleanse the mind of eternal hindu haters.. may they life all along with hatred only.. LOL

    DisAgree [2] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • abdul, udupi

    Tue, Dec 18 2018

    Yes. very nice preaching. Is this followed by HIndus?
    If so why there are so many rapes? Why women are not allowed inside temples? why there are no female priests in temples? what is the representation of women in politics?
    Do you know the condition of Hindu women in the villages of north and western India and also some villages of our state? Believe me the cows are treated better than them.
    First try to come out of the casteism in your religion and gender inequality and then preach the world of ideology
    Now do not ask whether there is equality in Muslims? I am not glorifying my religion like you or the females in our community.

    DisAgree [13] Agree [10] Reply Report Abuse

  • Don, Mangalore

    Tue, Dec 18 2018

    Whether Right or Left both sides resort to violence to get themselves heard.

    DisAgree Agree [8] Reply Report Abuse

  • Prashant Karkera, Hejamady/Mumbai

    Tue, Dec 18 2018

    Urban Naxalites are suffocated in Modi reign ....
    Hinduism is the most liberal religion for women to enjoy freedom ....

    DisAgree [14] Agree [24] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rajesh, Udupi

    Tue, Dec 18 2018

    Gajapati: In a bizarre incident, a man was mercilessly beaten up by his wife and mother-in-law in front of Govindpur Tehsil Office in Odisha for refusing to convert to chirisitinity

    which wing is this, viloence against men?

    DisAgree [9] Agree [23] Reply Report Abuse

  • Sanjay, Hebri

    Tue, Dec 18 2018

    Hinduism gives the most freedom to women than any other religion. Least freedom from peaceful religion of the world.

    DisAgree [28] Agree [28] Reply Report Abuse

  • Jossey Saldanha, Mumbai

    Tue, Dec 18 2018

    Right Wing was supposed to be Banned after Mahatma Gandhi's Murder ...

    DisAgree [28] Agree [39] Reply Report Abuse

  • Ruben Pinto, Mangalore/Australia

    Tue, Dec 18 2018

    I was surprised that this was allowed to happen in a right wing strong hold of DK. One brave woman. Her views were totally enlightening. Clap, clap.

    DisAgree [19] Agree [34] Reply Report Abuse

  • mehsan, mangalore

    Tue, Dec 18 2018

    yes, if right wing ideology is so violent then they could have protest against this program. but they respect women that is the reason they allowed to speak. in the present society hindu religion give more freedom to women. if not, then they wont give a chance to this kind of speech.

    DisAgree [1] Agree [6] Reply Report Abuse

  • Charan, Mangaluru

    Tue, Dec 18 2018

    We will continue to fight against Urban naxalites who are talking against Sangh Parivar, nationalism and provoking women against Modi government ,

    DisAgree [26] Agree [24] Reply Report Abuse

  • Santan Mascarenhas, Kinnigoli/Mumbai

    Tue, Dec 18 2018

    RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat said a husband and a wife are bound by a social contract and if the woman fails to deliver her duties, she can be abandoned. He said women should be just housewives and husbands should be the breadwinners. This is right wing ideology. But " women right is a human right", that is what we want.

    DisAgree [15] Agree [18] Reply Report Abuse

  • Observer, Mangaluru

    Tue, Dec 18 2018

    Certainly its a serious issue of concern for indians if a senior advacates of SC raise the matter in pubilc domain while recently four senior SC judges also expose the irregularities of the functions in office.
    She dared to speak against the intolerents inspite several activits earlier were lost thier lives speaking against them. May God protect this lady.
    In 2016, India’s National Crime Records Bureau produced a report showing that, as well as crimes against Dalits and Scheduled Tribes (STs) increasing in general since the 2014 election, over 2016 BJP-majority states had much higher rates of such crimes.
    For example, Madhya Pradesh had a crime rate against Dalits that was double the national average, and the crime rate of rape committed against Dalits and STs was significantly higher than the national average in most BJP states.
    The example of the recent child gang rape case in Kathua, Kashmir, is illustrative. The body of 8-year-old Asifa Bano was found on January 17, 2018. She had been gang-raped by eight men, including government officers and figures with links to the BJP.

    DisAgree [12] Agree [17] Reply Report Abuse

  • Mallar, Mallar

    Tue, Dec 18 2018

    Please don't get carried away.
    Before mentioning the crime rates of MP, UP and Kashmir, which are more of hearsay news from the media,
    Please talk to those victims, whose husbands are killed by Kerala Police in cold blood.
    Please talk to those girls with left ideology, who are being molested by their leaders (P K Sasi)
    Please talk to those girls like Rehna Fatima and few others, who were promised to be taken to Sabarimala and then were victims of Political rivalry.
    Please talk to those families, who are forced to be atheist by their Leftist husbands.

    We Indians are much better than any other country in Gender justice and equality.

    It's in India that people are free to express their concerns and frustrations against the administration.

    Long live democracy.

    DisAgree [8] Agree [9] Reply Report Abuse

  • Hariprasad, Bajpe - Mangalore

    Tue, Dec 18 2018

    Well - said Honorable Justice Indira Jaising! Historically Indian women have denied equality. They're
    hardly recognized either in public or private.
    Indian men must take full responsibility for this Historical crime against women.

    Indira Gandhi along with her Aunt opened a very intelligent dialogue - that died along with those two
    brave women!!
    The BJP Modi does not only encourage this grave discrimination, Modi down-plays the role women have played throughout Indian history even ignoring tremendous contribution and sacrifice they have made so willingly during India' s struggle for Independence - What was he doing? Supporting the British!!!
    This BJP mantra plays heavily even today -after decades of Independence! Modiji! Quit putting down WOMEN BharatMATAS - You're so much into GHOMATAS???????? Change YOUR WAYS and RESPECT OUR MOTHERS and SISTERS!

    DisAgree [17] Agree [25] Reply Report Abuse

  • Rajesh, Udupi

    Tue, Dec 18 2018

    historical problem
    But Mod is responsible

    DisAgree [1] Agree [7] Reply Report Abuse

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Title: Mangaluru: Right-wing ideology responsible for most violence against women - Indira Jaising

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