Sunday, 3 September 2017

Reparations - Can the Indian men do it?

What a brilliant speech by Shashi Tharoor. Taking a leaf out of his speech, here is one on behalf of women who have been subjected to exploitation by their own men.

Mr.Tharoor, Indian women do not feel like Henry the VIII's wife because we keep doing the dowry business differently each time. If it is the gold one season, it is the car the next, until diamonds are called in to trend the next! While the economic condition of the brides' parents decreased, any lifeless numbers in the name of statistics, would not help in bringing the dead back to life. And this simply because men assumed that their potential fathers-in-law were employed to benefit their economic cause. The rise in financial status of the men has been largely funded by parents of brides.
Most girls in independent India are seeing their parents weave, beautiful homes, painstakingly, sacrificing even their basic needs, only to see all of it drained away in the name of marriage. The word loot originally belonged to India and the habit mastered by their men in the holy name of weddings. After paying hefty sums as dowry, all that the brides get to enjoy is the role of unpaid servants, with further demands that only seem to escalate with years. In fact, they literally pay for their own oppression!

Half of today's wealthy Indian population owe their status to this dowry economy. Dowry, on paper, has been abolished, but not a single rupee has been paid as compensation - neither as reparations for those who lost their lives nor to those who lost a good share of their earnings. Families educated the boys, fed them better, used the daughters to serve their sons, diverted family resources to give expensive education to the boys, for, the thus gotten education serves in getting higher dowries!
Every marital relationship begins in darkness, thereafter there is no sunshine for the brides. Since it is Indian men who are at the helm of the dowry affairs, no numbers would reveal the brutality of the ground reality!

A lot has been said to justify the acceptance of the dowry, including the exhibition of parental love for their daughter, though the same was achieved even without doling out wealth in the name of dowry. Dowry was given to serve the man's interests rather than the girl's. The men made all the profits, controlled the bride's life after marriage and benefited hugely through this established institution.

The feeble voice of the Indian government fails to reach the noisy marketplace where deals are struck based on the purchasing power of the bride's parents. But, unfortunately, the rule of this game has been weird. The purchaser is not allowed to take home what he had purchased. Instead, the deal only ensures that he gives away all forms of wealth, including his hard earned money and the daughter that he had so lovingly brought up.

Maybe today's young men have changed and are not responsible for the actions of the earlier generations, but is it not in keeping with the same principles of reparations for the wrongs that have been done that they pay a token amount? Here again, there is a moral debt that needs to be paid, much like the one that Mr.Tharoor is demanding from the Britishers.

Can the women of India demand reparations from their men? But surely Mr.Tharoor, this will open up a nasty Pandora's box!

Let me say with even greater respect, that democracy and the rule of law that has been in existence on Indian soil have done no better under the rule of Indians! The Indian democracy is only functioning because it is based on women slavery. The fact is, very simply, sir, that we are not talking about reparations as a tool to empower the women, but for the men to atone for the wrongdoings. The women understand that it is impossible to put a value by way of a monetary sum to the horrors that the women have suffered. Certainly, no amount of money can expiate the loss of a loved one as we all know without needing to be pointed out!

It is most definitely the principle that matters. While setting an innocent girl on fire, the husband could sustain injuries, but by no means can it counted as collateral damage. The truth is that we are not arguing that a huge sum of money be paid. The proposition before this great (?) nation is the principle of owing reparations, not the fine points of how much is to be paid. The question, here too, is, 'Is there a debt?' Do the men of India owe reparations? As far as the women are concerned, the ability to acknowledge the wrong that has been done, to simply say 'sorry', will go a longer way than establishing few NGO's and care homes in the form of aid. Here again, reparations, given by way of a token sum given by the groom's father to the bride's parents for the next 70 years, for the last 70 years of dowry practised in independent India, should make the women happy.