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The Place Where No Woman Walked

September 26, 2010

© Dilip Muralidaran. All Rights Reserved

There are communities in Northern India, that were known as the “kuri-mar,” or “daughter killers.”  During the British census of India, in the late 1800s, it was discovered that not one of the 2000 families surveyed of the Bedi community had a single girl! These were land-owning, upper-caste communities, and they would openly boast of killing their daughters soon after birth.  It was a cultural expression of machismo, as well as another indication of their socially superior status.  Even now there are villages, for e.g. in Rajasthan, where there is no  official record of the birth of girls in decades. What could have possibly driven a culture towards a practice of this kind of female annihilation?

The following paragraph is an extract from the book  Riven Rock by T.C. Boyle.  It provides an interesting paradigm for reflecting on the female genocide in India.

For twenty years Stanley McCormick never laid eyes on a woman. [He lived in] the place where no woman walked or breathed. It wasn’t a matter of choice.  In all that time he lived in the company of one sex and one sex only – men, with their hairy wrists and bludgeoning eyes, their nagging phlegm voices and fetid breath. It was like joining a fraternity, entering a monastery, marching with the French Foreign Legion  over vast dunes [with] not an oasis in sight.

And how did Stanley feel about that? No one had bothered to ask. But if he were to think about it, think about the strangeness and deprivation of it, even for a minute, he would feel as if a black and roiling gulf were opening inside him, as if he were being split in two like a Siamese twin cut away from its other self. He was a husband without a wife, a son without a mother, a brother without sisters.

But why? Why did it have to be like this? Because he was sick, he was very sick, he knew that. And he knew why he was sick. It was because of them, because of the bitches, because of women. They were the ones. And if he ever saw his wife again, if he saw his mother, he knew what he would do as sure as the sun rises. He would go right up to them [and] show them what a real man was for, and he would make them pay for it too.


Cited from Riven Rock by T. C. Boyle (1999), Penguin Books, U.S.A.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. October 4, 2010 3:21 am

    Kenton rocks!?!


  2. August 26, 2014 3:29 pm

    It tells very much about psychology…
    Les hommes qui ne se sentent pas “plus forts que…” se sentent faibles…
    (Ça prouve jusqu’au quel point ceux-là le sont effectivement).
    La réaction est très primitive: “Faut exterminer ce que nous appréhendons”…

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