Real patriarchy and ‘phantom’ patriarchy

Recently saw an article written on Facebook by an atheist from Kerala, India, probably in response to allegation of sexism in presentations in atheist meetings in my state. This is in form of an imaginary dialogue with his daughter who has been brought up in a liberal way. He starts this dialogue about real and phantom patriarchy while watching a veiled Muslim girl of his daughter’s age  passes by. He equates feminists to post modernists so that the attack is easier. He writes :

In that fantasy world of subtle conspiracies, the battle continues as patriarchy exists in all its subtle forms which occasionally find their expression in comments or jokes or speeches of even the ‘so-called’ liberals. For those imaginary crusaders, it is sexism everywhere trying to discipline the female body. Modernity and its institutions, for them, are nothing but another form of converting the woman’s body into  a ‘docile body’.

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Movie star condemned for choosing not to wear head scarf

“Hijab is a choice”.

We hear this claim from Muslims whenever freethinkers and feminists question the coercion in Islam with regard to female attire.

Now read this.

Fans of popular Malay actress Uqasha Senrose have turned on her and accused the 23-year-old of “deriding” Islam after she decided to stop wearing a headscarf.

After donning the headscarf over the last three years, her decision to go without one has been met with fierce criticism, mostly from her male followers, who took to her Facebook page and accused her of being “undignified” and a “hypocrite.”

“You’ve lost your dignity as a Muslim, so you will also lose your fans because your fans are looking to go to heaven and not to hell,” fan Ahmad Faisal Ahmad Ziad posted.

“I really pity you. Why is your heart so black. Until you’re willing to play with religion,” another social media user Akil Mustafa Madu said.

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Incredibly religious and misogynist India

Incredible India is the tag line used so often by many agencies to promote tourist attraction to India. If there was a tourist present in the legislative assembly hall of Haryana state of “secular” India yesterday, she might have felt “incredibly” disgusted.

They would have witnessed a completely naked man, sitting on the dais above the seats of Governor and Chief Minister of the state, and giving a lecture to the people’s representatives. That man’s name was Tarun Sagar, a famous monk of Digambara sect of Jainism, an ancient Indian religion. He said:

The control of dharma (morality) over politics is essential. Dharma is the husband and politics is the wife. It is the duty of every husband to protect his wife and it is the duty of every wife to accept the orders (discipline) of her husband,”  “if there is no control of dharma over politics, it will be like an elephant out of control,”

Image Credit - Indian Express

Image Credit – Indian Express

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South Asian version of patriarchy in Norway

One of the several telephonic conversations between mother of a prospective bride and parents looking for brides for their sons among a South Asian community in Norway.


Free trial before wedding

I saw your daughter’s Twitter account.


She seems too engaged and active.

Yes, she is interested in social justice issues.

My older son is married to a doctor. And we only let her work a few days a week so she is able to take care of us and run the household. I am a doctor and my two sons are doctors. Women in our family don’t need to worry about money.

I see?

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At least a rape victim get some justice

He was in some way a celebrity. As a co-director of a popular political satirical film from Bollywood he was regarded highly. Fortunately that did not prevent him from being convicted of raping a research scholar who came to him for help in her research.

A special fast track court on Saturday convicted filmmaker Mahmood Farooqui of raping a research scholar from the United States in Delhi last year. Additional Sessions Judge Sanjiv Jain found Farooqui — who had been on bail — guilty under IPC Section 376 (punishment for rape), and ordered that he be taken into judicial custody.
The court will hear arguments on sentencing on August 2. The offence of rape entails a minimum punishment of seven years’ rigorous imprisonment and a maximum punishment of imprisonment for life. As of Saturday evening, the detailed conviction order was still awaited.
Farooqui, co-director of the 2010 satirical comedy Peepli (Live), and an exponent of the centuries’ old art of Urdu storytelling called Dastangoi, was accused of raping the 30-year-old research scholar from Columbia University at his home in south Delhi’s Sukhdev Vihar on March 28, 2015.


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Honor killings and rape trivialisation are part of the same culture


A mother burnt alive her 18-year-old daughter Zeenat Rafiq on Wednesday for marrying a man of her own choice in an area near General Hospital on Ferozepur Road, Lahore, Pakistan.

Parveen Rafiq, who confessed to having murdered her daughter for “bringing shame to the family”, was arrested at her home in a low-income neighbourhood on Mast Iqbal Road.

Zeenat Rafiq - AFP

Zeenat Rafiq – AFP

Last week 19-year-old Maria Sadaqat was tortured then burned alive for refusing a marriage proposal from a school principal’s son in Murree.

In April a young woman was strangled and then her body set ablaze because she helped a friend elope in Abbottabad, another case that sparked revulsion.

Byra Reddy, a resident of Tamatampalli under Gownipalli police limits, Karnataka, India, allegedly strangled his daughter Priya Reddy (17). He was angry with her for her love affair with 20-year-old Harish, belonging to Ganiga (backward class), and suspected that they were planning to elope on Sunday.

Statistics indicate that about thousand people, almost always women, are killed both in Pakistan and India in a year in the name of protecting honour of the family.

Love and marriage are supposed to be happy events. But for vast sections of human society, even in this “enlightened” 21st century it is the cause of violence and sorrow, because of the culture of not respecting the autonomy of an individual, especially that of women.

From NYT website

From NYT website

Same lack of respect for autonomy of a woman and an undue respect for the athletic prowess of a rapist can be seen in this infamous court judgement in the Stanford rape case.

Both, the “honor” killings in Asia and trivialising of rape in USA, belong to two ends of the same universal misogynist cultural spectrum.  The troubling thing to my mind is most people are shocked by the former but few by the latter.

Now an 8th century Kerala mosque opens it doors to women

After the success of the struggle of Hindu women to enter the Lord Saturn temple in Maharashtra with the help of judiciary, a historical Sunni mosque has opened its doors to Muslim women.

The mosque at Tazhathangady in Kottayam town of Kerala is supposed to be as old as 8th century. It is famous for its beautiful architectural style and exquisite wood carvings.

Thazhathangadi Juma Masjid. Photo: Maya Menon... Read more at:

Thazhathangadi Juma Masjid. Photo: Maya Menon

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Institutionalised victim blaming

Under current policy, the university investigates students who report sexual assault for violations of the school’s strict honor code, which bans premarital sex, same-sex dating, alcohol consumption and being in the bedroom of someone of the opposite sex, among other things. This means a student who reports a sexual assault could end up being placed on probation, suspended or expelled if the university finds them to have been in violation of the honor code.

An honor code in a university? Must be in an Islamic country or a culturally conservative Asian or African country.

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