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Video: Meet the Face of Misogyny Behind India’s Female Gendercide

July 25, 2012

We present here a recently released, powerful television documentary by journalist Neha Dixit titled “The Misogynists of Mewar.”   The film gives us an insiders look at the politics, the ideologies,  and the social, power dynamics between men and women in the region of Mewar in Rajasthan.

It UNCOVERS IN A CLEAR LIGHT the ONE FUNDAMENTAL factor behind India’s female gendercide: the mass annihilation of girls and women in India?

AND THAT IS MISOGYNY!!

Misogyny is technically defined as A hatred of women, or considering them to be less than men – or even less than human.”  Sociologist Alan Johnson explains that:  “Misogyny is a central part of sexist prejudice and ideology and, as such, is an important basis for the oppression of females in male-dominated societies.”  Hence, misogyny is a tool that is used by a patriarchal system to oppress women.

NGOs and international organizations often offer education as the panacea — the solution to ‘gender inequality’ and violence against women.

But Neha through her film shows that villagers, men and women, understand perfectly well that education is empowering. 

  • So what is the real reason that women are prevented from getting an education? The women in this video tell how the village community enforces massive fines on women who get an education and inflicts all kinds of violence against them, because they feel if the women become educated, they will be strong, and the men can’t use them to work their fields or abuse them.
  • Who prevents girls and women from getting an education? Listen to how the women are oppressed by their husbands, families and the village judiciary if they get an education.  They have all other rules of controlling women, like women cannot even use mobile phones, and widows have to marry their dead husband’s brother etc.
  • What is the real reason that women are prevented from working? The women say, that then they will be economically independent, they can protect themselves, fight for their rights, and that the men in the village know this and use physical force to keep them suppressed.
  • What is the real reason that parents of girls are forced to use their money to pay dowry instead of educating their girls? The village community forces them to pay specified amounts of dowry to grooms in kilograms of silver and gold, even if it means taking the money on loan or selling their farm to pay the dowry.
  • What are the consequences to women and their parents when they refuse to pay dowry? They are excommunicated, and face further fines. The village court (panchayat) won’t let them file police cases. They say if they do, they will beat them up and throw acid on their daughters. 
  • What happens when women go to the police and courts to file complaints about violence and dowry extortion? They are harassed further.  No one in the village will do business with them or associate with them.  It makes life nonviable if you can’t buy things, go places etc.

WATCH THIS VIDEO TO THE END.  Because that is when Neha informs us of the REAL REASON WHY despite the horrendous things we witness in this video, through the testimonies of women and their families, the government does not take any action to ensure the protection of girls and women, or the implementation of laws.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. Sharra R. permalink
    July 25, 2012 8:50 pm

    According to my Indian friend, dowry is illegal in India now. Why is this not being prosecuted as the crime that it is?

    • July 26, 2012 5:26 am

      Sharra — Yes it is illegal, and the kind of battering and extortion and various dictatorial social norms like widows have to remarry their husbands brothers that we see being paraded in this video are also illegal. But as Neha explains right at the end of this video, the government knows that this is a society for men, and by men. And that men control the votes of the women in their family and community. So they keep men happy by deliberately looking away.

  2. Lizzie L. permalink
    July 26, 2012 10:48 am

    Why don’t the women’s groups in India demand the government enforce its laws?

    • July 26, 2012 11:01 am

      Unfortunately, that is something that women’s groups don’t yet realize in full. Their approach is still largely to ‘make the police and system understand.’ The system understand well, and women’s groups all over the world have had to fight the male dominated system to enforce laws meant to protect them. Right now there is no such think as a ‘women’s caucus’ in India. The only vote bank politicians have to cater to is men’s. Women vote generally for whoeveer the men in their family tells them to vote for. Women in India have to recognize that a male-dominated system like this likes its control over women and they have to fight for equality through the legal system and hold it accountable.

  3. Habeeba permalink
    July 26, 2012 11:44 am

    But. These is a total brutality againts women.Does any NGOs make an effort to stop all these violence agains women?what are the government response regarding these issue.

    • August 2, 2012 6:28 am

      Habeeba — The women’s movement in India does need to be more unified and demand the implementation of laws for the protection of women, and accountability from the police and courts. Unfortunately we do have women in very high positions in politics. Like Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, we chief ministers who women, but they say nothing on the issue. Nothing!!

  4. July 30, 2012 8:45 pm

    Thanks for sharing the video. Very powerful. We’ll pass on this video as well. Would you say the stories in this video are representative of most of rural India?

    • August 1, 2012 6:41 am

      Yes, the whole set up around the “khap” or the self-appointed village judiciary is the social set up for much of rural India, and these “khaps” are instrumental in many rulings that increase the gender-based violence against women, and actually intend to dis-empower them — like most “honor” killings have the khaps sanction. Same with “revenge” rapes — where if a man from a family is to be punished, the wife or mother or sister is raped. See the case of Bhanwari Devi, which was made into a movie “Bawandar” (available on DVD with English subtitles) — except that in her case even the official judiciary at the state level came up the same sort of statements like we see from the khaps here!!

  5. August 3, 2012 7:47 am

    There are many big NGOs who work in Rajasthan, especially Udaipur. I wish the report had explored what there role is. When political systems fail to challenge cultural and systemic violence, and law enforcement chooses to remain in denial, that’s where activism – borne out of anger of injustice comes into fore. With the NGO-isation and corporatisation of the development sector, activism has taken a beating – but surely, these women who have chosen to challenge the norms of the community, and have had their fathers and families also taking on the system head on, are ready for that.

    • August 4, 2012 12:41 pm

      You are right Roop. The fact that these women are speaking out as are their families, and to media — is a cry for help. For most women and their families often don’t even speak out. But as Bhanwari Devi’s case shows when NGOs come up against village clan style “khap” power — there’s very little they can do because they have the support of the police and politicians. That why the point the reporter makes in the end is very important. A system where the law and order and government are completely complicit — the ngos have no scope for movement. They are dealing with a system that’s completely anarchical. In the end the ngo’s scope is limited by the larger system it tries to function within. We have seen that in cases we’ve dealt with, like Roopa’s and Karishma’s.

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