Does our ‘sanskriti’ sanction regressive MCPs?

The journalist and author Sandipan Deb in Mint:

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said that rape happens in India, not Bharat. Let us be charitable. Let us assume that by Bharat-India he was not referring to the rural-urban divide that is now the media’s fashionable metaphor. Let us assume that by Bharat, he meant our ancient sanskriti, and by India, he is talking about all of us corrupted by Western culture. But this is so naïve an interpretation that it beggars belief.

Our puranas and epics are chock-a-block with tales of lusty gods and wildly libidinous heroes. Consider Indra, king of the gods. Overcome with lust (not an uncommon occurrence for him), he made love to Ahalya, wife of Rishi Gautama, pretending to be the rishi, and was trying to sneak off when the irate husband caught up with him and cursed him with a thousand vaginas on his body—sahasrayoni.

Later, after much pleading, he turned the vaginas into eyes. Ahalya, though innocent, received no such pardon. Gautama turned her into stone, and thus she remained till she was touched by the foot of the great god Rama, whose treatment of his wife was certainly rather dubious.

Krishna actively encouraged his friend Arjuna to kidnap Krishna’s sister Subhadra; in fact, in the days of the Mahabharata, kidnapping a woman seems to have been the norm for Kshatriya wooing: think of Bhishma abducting Amba, Ambika and Ambalika for his two step-brothers. And, of course, we fondly tell our children about the teenage Krishna hiding the clothes of the gopinis while they bathed, and returning them only when they came out of the lake, helpless and naked. But then gods are allowed these acts of venal sexual harassment.

Let’s face it, our popular culture even to this day is deeply influenced by regressive and chauvinistic attitudes that our sanskriti glorified. The men in our mythologies were certainly as recklessly randy—if not randier—than anyone thought up by the West.

And let’s not talk about the deification of the mother.

Kunti does not know what her sons have brought home, and asks them to share the booty equally. The five dutiful men then happily sleep with Draupadi, who had given her heart to Arjuna. And such is our ethical system that Draupadi dies early on the long trek to Heaven: her sin being that though she had five husbands, she loved Arjuna more than the others.

(Former managing editor of Outlook* magazine and founder-editor of Open, Sandipan Deb is the author of The Last War, a retelling of the Mahabharata set in the Mumbai underworld)

Read the full column: Fruits of a regressive culture

Also read: Ramayana, Upanishads and the Delhi gangrape

Vacuous media sleazeballs moralizing on Mohan Bhagwat

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38 Responses to “Does our ‘sanskriti’ sanction regressive MCPs?”

  1. Sapna Says:

    Everything is fair in the name of sanskriti!

  2. Deepak Says:

    Does mythology equal sanskriti? Does Hindu bashing equal liberal thought? When will these guys learn?

  3. FirstReality Says:

    It’s stupid and illogical to believe that people living in stone age somehow had much better morals than we do, even after considering how screwed up even today’s moral standards are.

  4. shiv Says:

    “It’s stupid and illogical to believe that people living in stone age somehow had much better morals than we do,- What a stunted mind you have.All our puranas and ithikasas propagated moral values because it was lacking at those times and those teachings still have relevance today more so because the hindus of India have become extremely greedy and money minded.Greed is the cause of all problems.Guys who write in MINt have limited vision / knowledge of our past.They should stick to money making and leave morals to the likes of Mogan Bhaghavat who walk what they talk.

  5. Goldstar Says:

    Fair and balancing act by Churumuri!! Some days back it posted an article by Devadutt Pattanaik which was in praise of Hinduism. So this balancing act to keep Churumuri’s patrons happy.

  6. pramod Says:

    @shiv, what is your argument against the quoted stories? If we believe that Krishna and Arjuna are great beings worthy of emulation then what message does it send when he has done the things he has done? These are clearly despicable acts.

    Listen, I’m not saying that Hinduism is worse than the other religions out there. All religions out there are full of sexist crap. But let’s also not romanticize our past. Instead of getting emotional about our culture, why don’t we focus on making the present better?

  7. asha Says:

    The Mint guy sandipan deb should read mahabharatha in the original before shooting off his mouth and cherry picking from the epic. Subhadra was being married off to Duryodhana by her brother balarama. Duryodhana was a disciple of balarama, who was very impressed with his pupil and promised to give subhadra’s hand in marriage. But subhadra wanted to marry arjuna and hence krishna arranged the kidnapping of subhadra by arjuna. As regards, krishna stealing clothes of gopis, firstly he was not a kid when he did that and secondly, sandipan deb is missing the context of this incident…the gopis were performing a vratha to have Krishna as their husband and would bathe early in the morning in the river yamuna and offer prayers to the goddess kathyanai (I am quoting from bhagavatha). S L Bhyrappa in his epic novel Parva, states that it was common for women to indulge in Polyandry in those days. what was accepted in those days may appear morally unacceptable at present. You libtards can accept 4 wives sanctioned by quran without a whimper but not hindu mythology. So before you write trash like this to sully hinduism do some reading first.

  8. Shalini Says:

    Dear Asha , I feel proud that we have equally knowledgable, vocal hindus to counter that trash which being dished out by the so called intellectuals like some Sandipan Deb .Hindu bashing seems to have become fashionable . when you the most horrible & regressive practices by the so called “Secular ” world but no one even dares to speak the truth fearing a backlash , a fatwa or worst..an announcement of reawrd for their head.

  9. shiv Says:

    pramod Says:
    11 January 2013 at 11:37 pm
    If we believe that Krishna and Arjuna are great beings worthy of emulation then what message does it send when he has done the things he has done?
    Krishna talked about Dharma and ones karma,Arjuna had many issues mentally which Krishna sorted it out.If you read these exchanges carefully, your brain will start functioning and you will find a way to remove the clog in your brain.Every religon talks about selfishness,greed,anger,negativity but in Hinduism you have excellent explanations to understand ones self and be a better human being.Good deeds leads to good health and good karma.If people understand and follow the right path, the world will be a better place.Be honest and let me know : – Are you convent educated or even english educated?If one of the two, I will not be surprised if you keep thinking that hinduism is regressive.

  10. Gaby Says:

    Hinduism has elements which are very regressive- and why not – it is after all a religion and like ALL religions is a patriarchal system and strives to maintain the status quo of those in power. If Krishna was so strongly in favour of Subhadra’s choice why didnt he openly protest his eleder brother’s choice. All he wanted was to strengthen his own party – the Pandavas and his siter was simply an instrument in this. He wasnt so different from his eleder brother. The nompi of the Gopis does not warrant their clothes being stolen- it does amount to harrasement.

    Any non-muslim who accepts the polygamy sanctioned by Islam is a regressive fool as is anybody who takes mythology so seriously that they wont tolerate any criticism of it.

  11. Omanakuttan Says:

    It seems at last churmuri has found the right recipe for getting high reader response: Just get some “asthana vidwan” to write against the docile majority community (aka Internet Hindus) and provoke them to get out of their inertia to at least comment online. Going by the lack of responses to previous articles, this is a wise ploy indeed, and seems to have worked.

  12. Goldstar Says:

    @Asha,

    Well written.

  13. Emptymind Says:

    It is the right time to stop all praising or criticizing the “Self”( personal gods/individual/religion/community..etc) which yields no solution for our existing problems. These kinds of dialogue always leads to confusion and hatredness between the two “Self”!

    “Great Minds Discuss Ideas; Average Minds Discuss Events; Small Minds Discuss People.”

    Bury all kinds of “Self” notions and start the Process of shifting the dialogue from people’s(or their god) centric=> Event centric => Idea(No self) centric => finally to Emptiness. and thus we can attain the correct balanced approach.

    Above proverb also applies to Mint guy.

  14. pramod Says:

    Asha, there is a problem even in your story with the context added in. Balarama, who is supposed to be a moral guy, thinks that he can give his sister’s hand to anybody he likes regardless of what she actually likes. And he would have succeeded in this if the kidnapping didn’t happen.

    In an ideal world, all that was needed to stop this marriage would have been Subhadra saying that she didn’t want to marry Duryodhana. If women were respected and treated as equals to men, Subhadra’s statement should have been enough and that should’ve been that.

    And if Krishna were a moral person he would have been honest about this to Balarama and told him that it is incorrect to force anyone to marry someone against their will. Instead he arranged these kidnapping shenanigans which don’t reflect well on anybody.

    And, if you really believe that Krishna is an all-powerful avatar of Vishnu, then it should have been easy for him to convince Balarama to do the right thing here. The fact that all this drama happened instead just proves one thing. There are no gods here and these are all just midly interesting stories written by our bored forefathers.

  15. pramod Says:

    Shiv, so I understand your argument is that I must be wrong because you speculate that I am convent-educated and/or english educated. Very good. I am convinced now.

  16. asha Says:

    Gaby,

    If subhadra wants to marry Arujuna and krishna helps his sister in this how does subhadra become a pawn in the political chess being played by krishna/balarama. Hypothetically if subhadra had married duryodhana as per balarama’s wishes do you think that would be kosher/halal and if so how? You are not seeing where this whole argument is going…the delhi gang rape is being projected as if hindusim is the root cause for it, And of course no libtard wants to talk about the religion of the only “Juvenile” rapist who is going to walk free. Why this double standard. When will we stop seeing rapes thro a religious prism. Also if a wife cannot be naked in presence of her husband, where and in whose presence do you think she should be naked? Can you please enlighten us? Thanks in advance.

  17. Raghunandan Says:

    I came across a similar topic in http://evolvingnewindia.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/empowering-women-with-firearms/ which I want to share with other readers of Churumuri.

  18. Gaby Says:

    Asha, the object of my argument was the lack of transparency in the issue which became Subadra apaharana- an abduction, suggesting that Krishna was helping his pal rather than his sister. Hadn’t he also painted his pal’s good looks etc that the girl had developed a crush without even seeing the man. Krishna had better talking skills than his broth but was just as amoral.
    Methinks you are getting too prickly …..all that sensible people are saying is that patriarchal values are one root cause of all violence against women. Hinduism has plenty of those values, as has all mainstream religions. These values need evaluation. In any case this preoccupation with mythology misses the main point of how life should be lived in the current day.
    A wife should be naked where and when she wants within purview of the law. If she wants that to be her husband’s presence so be it. But at her pleasure and not that of “her lord and master”. My aim is to not make you guys think. Like Santayana says a fanatic is one who merely doubles efforts having lost sight of objective. Have fun.

  19. Anonymous Guy Says:

    In other news, the RSS government in Karnataka is going to allow astrologers to ‘register’ with them:

    http://m.timesofindia.com/india/Under-scanner-Karnataka-plans-to-monitor-astrologers/articleshow/18017441.cms

    The problem is not Hindu or any other mythology, it is like any other mythology. The problem is the sanskriti and neeyat of power-hungry fanatics like the controllers of RSS and VHP.

  20. asha Says:

    Gaby,

    Agreed, misogyny/patriarchy is one of the causes of rape..but how fair is it single out Hinduism and try to link it to Delhi Rape. Your argument that Krishna was a better talker and painted a rosy picture of Arjuna to Subhadra is amusing to say the least. Unfortunately, they did not have match.com in those days..or else..

    Nobody is preoccupied with mythology in leading their day to day life, it is the MSM morons who are trying to link everything with religions/mythology esp. Hinduism. There was this other MSM moron who said Sita was the first single mom..and also note the spit and run tactic being practiced by MSM. They quote mohan bhagwat out of context and when they are proved wrong they tender an apology but the damage has already been done. My aim IS TO MAKE YOU THINK

    ***

    Pramod,

    Dwaapara yuga was not ideal by any stretch of imagination and so is kaliyuga. Hence, I don’t think Balarama would have listened to Subhdra if she had told him about her love for Arjuna. Maybe Krishna did not want to go against the wishes of his elder brother openly and used tact to arrange for a kidnapping of subhadra by Arjuna. Eventually, Krishna comes across as a person who respected the wishes of his sister than balarama. We can keep on arguing about the method chosen by Krishna to achieve the ends. Like I said in my comment earlier, the morality of those days were quite different from what it is today and we cannot judge the actions and choices of people then by morality and standards of today.

  21. Gaby Says:

    Mohan Bhagwat, Abu Azmi, Asaram, are all bone headed old MEN who represent patriarchy and therefore can never be quoted out of context. You want me make me think since you know I can. I have no such hopes of people stuck in their ways. Therefore I can only hope you have fun in your shrill protests.

  22. balu prasad Says:

    kind notice to mr cherumuri & other followers thanq for comments. What about stories in Bible and quron ..Can u comment on bible and quron ?

  23. asha Says:

    Gaby,

    >>Mohan Bhagwat, Abu Azmi, Asaram, are all bone headed old MEN who represent patriarchy and therefore can never be quoted out of context. >>

    Is the “can never be quoted out of context” a fact or you are just pulling it out of thin air as usual…contrary to what is happening…check out the timelines on twitter of certain ELM TV anchors who twisted what MB said and then have tendered a apology for it later…I am not holding any brief for Abu Azmi and Asaram though. After reading your response I am reminded of an old saying..”you can wake a person who is sleeping but you cannot wake a person who is pretending to sleep”

  24. Gaby Says:

    Asha akka ( I am presumimg your akkahood), Mohan Bhagawat ( for whom you might carry a brief ) as well as Abu Azmi, Asaram and indeed the entire body religious and politics reeks of patrairchy. Mr Bhagawat for whom you carry a torch is merely an old man who makes a usual rant on a romanticised notion of nationhood and then ( probably misquoted by a doltish TV medium) claims to have been misquited. The fact is that he( not as an individual- I dont know the individual at all) as a office bearer is full of patrarchal crap as are men talking of dented and painted women, lakshman rekhas and the sycophants of the Italian sphinx,Todd Akin……. Look at the statements of most defence counsels including the one in the current case- all of them come from Bharat- even the American ex-Congressman!Thank goodness I dont have to defend the nonsense that anyone of these speak.

    Balu Prasad,
    Deuteronomy 22: 29 of the Bible and verses 24(33), 4(24) indicate that these books have anything but Holy intentions towards women. The women of the Banu Mustaliq and the women of Khairlanji have much in common.

  25. Doddi Buddi Says:

    Gaby, good to see you! Mohan Bhagwat and Gadkari are like Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Mohan B is a bramhachari and has prolly no knowledge on worldly matters. He spouting some arrant nonsense on Bharat and India and shit on TV. This clown was supported by another famous judge Rama Jois in Daily Pioneer where the learned judge took pains to clarify the essence of Mohan’s speech and how wonderful is ‘Manu Smriti’ and how glorious Bharat was and what veneration women received and so on. Long and short of the matter is: many idiots in this country quoting their learning based on ‘Amar Chitra Katha’ books.

  26. asha Says:

    Gaby Akka,

    You keep repeating same thing Ad nauseam without providing any proof. This is a very old libtard tactic…”truth by repeated assertion”…you cannot come up with one single instance of when MB has said anything you claim he has said…Also you are needlessly enlarging the scope of this discussion..we were talking about a specific instance of MB saying something (which he did not) and the media twisted what he said. Here is what NDTV twisted and reported

    “Women meant to do household chores’: another shocker from RSS chief…right-wing Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat has done it again…”

    This is a loose transation in english by Newslaundry website. This website also has a video clipping of MBs speech.

    [Mohan Bhagwat] was commenting on the Western model of modernity. And in that context, he was articulating his view of their view. Get it? He said in the “modern” interpretation of marriage (not his), women are bound by contract to serve their husbands. He also said that husbands were bound to look after their wives. Much like women are supposed to look after household chores and keep their husbands satisfied, men are expected to provide for their wives and look after them, as per the modern version of the marriage contract. And if either the wife or husband didn’t manage to do so, the dissatisfied party breaks the contract and contracts a second or third, as per the modern version of the marriage contract. Get it?

    Here is the link to the original hindi speech by MB.

    http://hn.newsbharati.com/Ency. Please search this website for the hindi original transcript of MBs speech that was distorted and reported by ELM.

    Again you are also pulling unwanted elements who are out of scope as far as this discussion goes and I do not support what they have and have not said.

    It is known that Libtards have this peculiar way of arguing..and rest of us mortals have to accept whatever they say as if it is “Mahaprasada”…for the one and only reason it is being said by a libtard..

  27. asha Says:

    Gaby,

    Here is the weblink for the Newslaundry article http://www.newslaundry.com/2013/01/snide-and-prejudiced/

    Gaby Akka,

    Here is the Diva apologizing for her mistake

  28. Anonymous Guy Says:

    Gaby,

    The more interesting question here is: Is Asha really an akka like Sushma Swaraj? Or a a cloaked anna like Baba Ramdev in his famous saree disguise?

    ***

    DB,

    All valid things what you said.

    But you may want to be wary while saying things like: “Mohan B is a bramhachari and has prolly no knowledge on worldly matters”.

    Yaarig goththu, It may be some hidden form of paternalism! Yen anthira Gaby?

  29. Doddi Buddi Says:

    Asha,

    Why don’t you post Mohan B’s transcription in English so that there is no more misunderstanding? BTW the link you provided does not work.

    ***

    Asha
    What is this fascination and veneration for Mohan B? He speaks with the erudition of a village idiot and props up real-life morons like Gadkari on BJP! As a Bramhachari what does he know about women? Even you have to agree that he prolly only knows ‘Lady Palm and her five daughters’ and this being the case why is Mohan B raging as a Western marriage law expert? Why are seemingly intelligent women like yourselves jumping to his defence? Is there any limit to idiotic behavior from RSS stalwarts? How is Mohan different from AssRam Bapu?

  30. asha Says:

    DB,

    Which link are you talking about. Be specific. I will try and post the english transcript of MBs speech. I thought most Churmuri readers could understand Hindi…maybe I am wrong.

    It is not fascination or veneration for MB…it is just that how facts are twisted and people are assigned motives when none exists that bothers me. This has been happening on churmuri for quite some time now and of course there are people who swallow this hook line and sinker. You may not like what MB stands for and that is OK, but atleast keep the discussion factual instead of spinning it and distorting it is all I am asking. Is that too much to ask for :)

  31. asha Says:

    DB,

    Here is a poor girl who was brutally raped and murdered and these libtards are doing everything they can to change the narrative by bringing in hindu mythology as if those rapists went out to rape after reading ramayana/mahabharata that day. Now issue is no more the rape and murder of that poor girl but it is HINDU MYTHOLOGY that is the culprit.

  32. Gaby Says:

    Asha ( I am still presumimg your akkahood), I never raised the instance of the supposed misinterpretation of your Bhagawatji- In the first place I said, when these old dinosaurs speak they stray from any area of expertise they might have and end up make asses of themselves. I give a damn as to what a TV personality interpreted or apologised for. The MSM as you call it are foolish gaurdians of patriarchy along with your your Bhagawat and the others I mentioned. It will be very amusing to listen your expositions- if you have any, on the locatedness of rape in India vis-a-vis Bharat. Also quit calling people libtards- I suppose you could find something appropriately based in Bharat. I would like to call Mohan Bhagwat, AssRam Bapu ( thanks for this DB) and Botsa Satyanarayana as Haula (dumass) in Hyderabadi style.

    DB, thanks for the warm welcome. Because MB has not experienced married life it does not mean he cant speak on wordly matters. it would be good if an influential person like him spoke sense instead of spouting some dangerously romanticised stuff and stereotype entire cultures. I find your charming articulations, a form of benign patriarchy – similar to calling rape victims as “our sisters” rather than victimised women.

    AG, I will keep presuming Asha akka’s akkahood.

  33. Anonymous Guy Says:

    asha, You are quite right there. There is no need to drag Hindu or any other unrelated mythology into this discussion. Looks like the original author in Mint was hellbent on somehow linking Mohan B’s words with mythology instead of discussing the merits of the thoughts. Which is good to kick up some dust, but useless otherwise. The way he jumps from Bharat to sanskriti to puranas with a series of assumptions is moronic.

    Now for us Karnataka bigots who refuse to read and write hindi (ishtu dinaa Churumuri odhi idhu artha aaglilva?!), post a good english or kannada translation of MB’s speech so we can judge it ourselves. Preferably along with the hindi version, so we can ask some Laloo Prasad Yadav to convene if you got some words wrong. Direct from the horse’s mouth as they say, not a transliteration from some third rate MSM journo.

    Gaby, Why are you presuming asha’s akkahood? Isnt that a, umm what to say maternalistic attitude?

  34. asha Says:

    Gaby,

    This is hilarious…you dont know MB personally yet you presume he said something and always says something to make an ass of himself. You do not care for what media misreports about MB yet you some how get to know what MB says. Wow that is only possible for a libtard. Yes I will continue to call people libtards as long as they continue to heap abuses on the rest of us…respect begets respect..and of course libtards never understand this and think they can get away with anything. Like I said in my earlier post, I have no interest in what you think about others like asaram bapu, botsa whoever and the entire lot as this is not relevant to the discussion..As i said in my post, I wish people treat this rape as human tragedy instead of looking at it through religious glasses…

  35. Doddi Buddi Says:

    Gaby Thangi,

    I would rather call these victims as “our sisters” than victimized women in as much they don’t stay ‘victimized’ forever. Accept your perceptive comment on ‘charming articulation’ though… I sincerely believe any one who hasn’t flown on a jet airplane commenting on the power of jet engines, would of course be floating on his own warm jet emissions:) So that is MB for you!

    Asha Thangi,

    Libtards can be idiotic too but RSS knickers went beyond the pale of reasoning and here is why:

    Happy Rapist: “Hey wassup just got back from India after a raping a woman.”
    MB-like patriarch: “Glad to have you back with us in Bharath where we don’t have such things like rape!”

    Happy Rapish: “Jai Ho”
    MB-like patriarch: “Jai ho to you too!”

    Happy Rapist: ” This parallel universe is amazing! Love to switch between India and Bharath”

    MB-like patriarch: “All thanks to our ancestors! We can exist in two worlds the way we are. Let’s accept rapes in India while we deny such instances in Bharath? I know the village headman’s son just coerced his bonded labourer’s wife in the fields. But he was just teaching her dairy farming, you know bulls and cows and bullshit kind of stuff.”

    Happy Rapist: “Nice! Our Bharath life is great! We can simply have a go at our women and no body is wiser.”

    Happy Rapist: “You know you could be a rapper in India, you know you old rogue!”
    MB-like patriarch: “Thank you. I know you mean well.”

  36. Gaby Says:

    Asha, There is at least one thing we agree upon- this was a terible human tragedy and should be treated as such. Who asked these dinosaurs to come wading in with their half baked ideas of stereotyping people and cultures. Agreed that your man was not talking in response to this particular incident. The ideas were half baked tho.
    The only thing that all sensible women are asking for is at least a relaxation of patriarchal and misogynistic views- in all religous practices.I dont know why you feel that Hinduism is targetted. I am sure you will agree that Hindu mythology offers the most diverse of narratives and it is easy for silly editors to pick up the kind of stories that the article in questions chooses to publish. If they dont publish either stories from other religious traditions or even stories such as those of Chinna Masta from hinduism they are fools.
    I wouldnt mind being called names- I felt your epithet of libtard was funny from two angles. First why have a lazy useage of a lazy American term? Second in my personal views I am rather a Libertarian rather than a bleeding-heart liberal.

    DB, would you have the same attitude towards men bocoming midwives/obstetricians:)

    AG, my presumption is based on Asha’s sentiments reflecting so many of my male ( NRI) cousins and even a few exes!

  37. Anonymous Guy Says:

    DB,

    Tamasheaagithu sambhashane. Kannadadhalli iddhare, inu maja barthithu….

    Miss the witty kannada back and forth conversation folks like you and dr. ramesh used to have on this forum…

  38. Doddi Buddi Says:

    Gaby,
    On …”DB, would you have the same attitude towards men becoming midwives/obstetricians:)…” you know I have dropped enough hints in my posts. They do a service and are therefore OK. However I doubt we have many males doing this any more. I thought the whole focus was on “Obstructitians like MB” :)

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