Imrana, Rape, Feminity et al

Top story for several days now the Imrana Case has now been analysed enough and more. Of all the interesting fallouts of the case one that particularly piqued my interest and irked me more was the picture of BJP leader LK Advani talking about the reform of Shariyat Laws for Indian Muslims. He is right of course when he insists that Muslim law has been modified in prominently progressive and prominently Muslim nations like Malaysia for example.

The sad part is the appendage of the self-righteous Hindu who says that such a crime would never take place in Hinduism. Every version of the Vedas for example categorically suggest ‘hot lead’ or ‘boiling oil’ be poured into the ears of a man of the Shudra caste (untouchables) who happens to overhear the sacred Hindu scriptures. Sati for example, still exists and it was only last year that a middle-class family burnt alive their daughter in-law for failing to pay dowry in the uptown Lajpat Nagar marketplace in one of the most posh parts of south Delhi.

The truth is that any religious scripture is ambiguous enough to be interpreted as anything. If you looked hard enough in either religion and their texts you could find murder, genocide and perhaps even nuclear weapons! The Imrana case leaves a lot of uncomfortable questions. Questions about the validity and worse still the acceptance of law. The blurring boundaries of religion, morality and human rights. More fundamentally it asks: Does and ought society to enforce, interfere and impose conducts and confer rights or even bring about dignity to those who don’t (or cannot) want it in the first place?

What does being female imply? And what are women’s rights all about? Is feminity only about asserting yourself as woman when you find yourself left behind in a swirl of progressive women? Is it not about taking a first step away from the cloistered comforts of a social community, a comfort zone that will slowly choke any ideas of freedom you might as woman- No! A human being posses. Where can that courage come from?