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Wednesday, Dec 08, 2021
Outlook.com
the dark side

Devil In Short Sleeves

The Male Marauder lives on in India, says Soma Wadhwa. The brutalisation of women continues in both public and private spaces.

Devil In Short Sleeves
Prashant Panjiar
Devil In Short Sleeves
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

In faraway Jaipur, fourteen-year-old Shakun still shuts her eyes tight as her sister Munni's whimpers ring in her ears. Munni's agonised groans, mingled with her father's heavy grunting as he raped her night after night, echo routinely in Shakun's nightmares. She'd been petrified witness to these incestuous assaults for six endless months: "Munni didi and I shared a bed in our Ajmer home. Father would come to our bed, take off her salwar, her underwear, and force himself into her and slap hard if she protested." So the sisters suffered silently like they'd seen their mother, Shanti Devi, suffer. Shanti was always being thrashed, kicked around until finally she was thrown out of their home by the father. On one of their mother's rare visits a year ago, the girls blurted out their pain. A guilt-ridden Shanti now weeps: "I didn't believe the girls initially. I still can't, how can a father rape his own daughter?"

Yes, they are our fathers, husbands, brothers, our men. The very same who kill infant girls because they prefer sons, sexually abuse children, turn stalkers, rapists, wife-beaters, bride-burners, vicious aggressors when tempted by ugly opportunities and uglier urges. Gratifying their darkest impulses, pandering to their grisly masculinity, they default on the civilisational contract they have made with women. A contract etched over ages, the pact to be partner, provider, even protector to her. They flout these crucial clauses ruthlessly, with alarming intensity—harassing, humiliating women in spaces private and public. Failing civilisation itself, almost each critical time it is put to test vis-a-vis the sensitive relationship that has been forged between man and woman. Butchering centuries of nuanced evolution, of good faith between genders, with a primordial, predatory ruthlessness, they keep the Male Marauder in them alive and kicking...

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