In Search Of Roots

Political Economy of Rape

Debasish Paul

While man is a political animal and state is an institution of oppression by the ruling class, it is essential to explore the role of state polity in understanding the extensive incidence of rape now a days. It would be naive to consider rape as a law and order problem when every locality which is metropolitan, urban or semi-urban or rural, everywhere it is happening in a geometrical growth rate.

America, the leader in post-world war international economy is ruling the earth not by Pentagon but by Hollywood by cultural imperialism which commodifies women in high return entertainment industry despite the crisis emerged since 2008 for inter contradiction of finance capital which according to V I Lenin would dominate the world economy in modern times.

Now instead of Hollywood cinema which venerable Satyajit Ray described as death of big screen, the enormous development of electronic Very Large Scale Integration (VLSI) has covered the earth like spider-web by omnipresent internet led by American hardware and software media Mughal.

The question of emancipation of women is not one of singular dimension but both of enlightenment of mankind as a whole that means liberation of human mind 'Where the mind is without fear and the head is high' (Rabindranath Tagore).But history gives evidence that when people have been free of all kinds discrimination and get united, it has caused crisis of the national and international ruling class. Revolution that started in France leading revolution in Russia and China but Indian left failed to make any impact on Indian polity succumbing to parliamentary Euro-Communism despite an early involvement of truly dedicated intellectuals who declassed themselves and led the working class. But with gradual involvement in parliamentary politics which V I Lenin advocated as a tactical step, instead it brought vicious pitfalls of degeneration of the elite class dominated Parliamentary left into the opportunism basically for infiltration of the petty bourgeoisie i.e. middle class into membership of Communist party acquiring leadership sliding out the activists of working class origin.

Popularly called consumerism which is commodity fetishism is plaguing the middle class which has become easy prey of TV & internet induced consumerist culture. Steady decline of prices of electronic goods has percolated these goods to lower economic classes. Internet has nearly two hundred pornographic sites catering to sexist culture isolating human being driving to selfish vices. Oppression of weaker section as an inverted world view is opposed to all ideals of communism has an easy penetration for men who are vulnerable to technological progress. Long back the most celebrated song of 'Mahiner Ghorally' album said, 'How far stars are away by light years from us, you and me are going further away' commenting on impact of audio-visual electronic devices. Man being a social animal, as distance among men is widening, vices of men are growing of which sexual perversion is further enhanced by pornographic sites.

Long long ago, before arrival of modern audio-visual gadgets, reading habit imbibed good values in man. But taunting at materialist obsession of the business community, in the opening scene of the movie 'Nayak' Satyajit Ray put a dialogue in the hero's lip that is asking a non-Bengali film producer who came to sign a contract with advance payment 'Do you read anything in newspaper other than of share market?'

Now a days, this materialist obsession has been widespread with decline in study of social sciences in mainstream education which built up the moral values and instead a drastic shift has become viral in study of professional subjects even among students of low middle class origin with liberal study loan given by bank; and multiple opportunity to study professional subjects in nearly two hundred new private Engineering and Management colleges under WBUT for big balk salary prospect from campus recruitment. Everyone is eager to become foot soldier of MNCs from the campus.

Western culture is destroying aboriginal culture in teenagers who find all virtue in consumerist culture of sex and violence not aware of high rate of sexual crime in Western countries in form of blind dating. It is teen age student life when national cultural values should have taken deep root in young minds, they are getting swayed away by powerful impact of western culture through multi-functional smart phone offering easy access to the dirt and filth of alien culture.

In absence of any icon in good politics, good natured students find no interest in political movements. By nature there can not be any void in nature and so also politics, so it has become cesspool of worst elements of society. Criminalisation of politics has become order of the day. Student politics has become vicious in most institutions. There are only a few leading institutions where good elements are in student politics. The political leaders who are themselves criminals in money laundering, brutal torture of any opposition, are afraid of such good elements and misusing state power organs to crush good student organisations in institutions of centre and states.

Since both in peace and war, women are the worst victims, in such deliberate deterioration in political, social and economic order, plight of women is increasing. In a recent Times of India report, it is revealed that fifty percent of young women everyday face lewd comments to and fro on way to educational institutions and workplaces. In workplace they are equally vulnerable for bosses who exert their hire and fire power to oblige subordinate women employees to satisfy their sexual advances. Domestic violence is rampant as the housewives dare not lodge complaint against their husbands or their parents unless and until it reaches to an extreme. Neither there are CCTVs in average home to keep a vigil on such incidents though now law allows to lodge a FIR in police station without any such evidence in order to substantiate any such complaint by any woman.

Families are bricks of society, so marital rapes do not get reported and all male members learn that women are easy objects of instant gratification, victims of any domestic or on outdoor rape by local bullies enjoying patronage of the ruling party who are mercenaries of political violence in hours of need. In his novel 'Mother' Gorky said police is supposed to hold and capture a commoner when the ruler is milching. It is universally true even in case of rape and torture of women for the interest of patriarchal society on which political hierarchy is built. Police force in states are becoming juggernaut if a crime done by members of the ruling party instead of keeping law and order impartially.

When there is a political vendetta, in villages in show of prowess, residences are burnt, not finding male members who are absconding, the women are raped before killing irrespective of age. In such case, mass rape over the whole village has been happening. Women marked as witch locally called 'Daini' are ordered by 'Khap Panchayet' to be openly naked and raped. Old women living alone are targets of such witch hunt with the ulterior motive to capture her habitat and farm land.

When India was partitioned, in one night lacs of women were raped with ulterior motive to force out minority community to leave the landed property and immigrate to other part of India. It happened extensively in Bengal and Punjab. Usually the poorer family women suffered more for their families' reluctance and inability to leave behind the little possessions they do have. Losing both home and hearth is worst kind of human tragedy worsened by rape.

Trafficking of women is a related issue when women are procured under garb of marriage or allured good employment opportunity in other state. West Bengal has worst record of women trafficking. Once sold to brothel, it is daily rape. A vicious circle has developed among politicians, police personnel and women traffickers. So the gain is evenly shared so as to continue women trafficking unabated.

Incidence of indoor and outdoor rape and torture of women vary directly with political and economic opportunism of several kinds. V I Lenin stated that the level of quality of a civilisation is indicated by dignity of women in that society. After revolution he abolished prostitution in USSR. In contrast, in all capitalist countries, prostitution is legal innovating a term Sex Worker. But since abolition of slavery in all countries, willingness to work is voluntary while it is well known that most women are forced into prostitution by national and international trafficking of women. Thus right to work as a fundamental right is violated in case of prostitution which is nothing but an institution of rape as an organised service sector where women are forced to serve not by free will. A slave labourer is certainly not a worker in proper sense of the term.

According to a Supreme Court verdict given on 2nd March 2016, consensual sex is not a crime when both partners are adult. Actually judiciary gives all verdicts as per laws formed in Parliament where according to Hon'ble President Pranab Mukherjee, only 13 percent of MPs are female members of Parliament. So the laws of the land are formulated by Patriarchal order of society. 'Manusanhita' has categorised women as slave of men. This Brahmin tradition still rules the polity and socio-economic fabric of the Aryan legacy which grabbed Indus valley by brutal annihilation of aboriginal Indian tribal communities who gave women higher dignity not making them subservient to men folk.

It is presumably right to property is the villain of the piece. In primitive societies, property right belonged to the community, not to individuals. Even now still existing tribal societies give higher dignity to women as ironically compared to so-called civilised societies. So inequality between male and female was not so prominent. But with emergence of private right to property, naturally 'might is right' predominates modern society and even international relations across the globe. Economic predominance of male by superior muscle power and brutal attitude over female, earned patriarchal political order in social customs totems and taboos which are legislated in parliament and Assembly as law of the land.

India being a secular state has a great implication on dignity of women. Because considering recent state policy of revival of Hindu fundamentalism in India as equal and opposite reaction to Islamic fundamentalism through archaic customs and norms of Manusanhita which dictated that woman is in-born subordinate to father before marriage, to husband after marriage and to son in her old age.

But economic progress in age of high technology is countering the retrograde turn. Times of India of 6 March 2016 has reported that in the Information Technology sector, the fastest growing domain of well paying service sector in India is finding that 51 percent female candidates are successful in getting fresh appointment contending with male candidates.

Economics has ever dictated politics of state policy. So women dignity would be growing countering worst indignity of women which is rape sustained too long by patriarchal order denigrating women by religious fundamentalism and wide criminalisation of politics.

Vol. 48, No. 40, Apr 10 - 16, 2016