The yearly celebration of women’s day and the ritualistic glorification and worship of women notwithstanding, there is an urgent need for a critical appraisal of the status of women in India. Such an appraisal as a mere academic exercise will not generate much value unless it is politically charged to fight for women’s emancipation.
When the chief executive officer of Twitter, Jack Dorsey, held up a placard that read “Smash Brahminical Patriarchy” while meeting a group of feminists during a visit to India in November 2018, it created a huge uproar in the media, forcing him to apologise. Brahminical/ Brahminism has been narrowly equated with the Brahmin caste, and even so-called “liberals” began to attack the Twitter CEO for being party to this casteist slogan that targeted one particular community, excluding all others.
Other than the small academic circle, the words “Brahminism” and “Brahminical” are widely used in political circles while fighting for the rights of marginalised communities. The usage clearly signifies the attitude of dominant sections that obstruct the rights of marginalised communities rather than indicate/target any particular caste. Understanding the real meaning of Brahminical patriarchy, which cannot be narrowly confined to a particular caste, can offer a holistic perspective in understanding the status of women in India.
Patriarchy generally refers to the hierarchical power relation in which men are dominant and women are subordinate. The subordination of women is explicit in many ways, in both private and public spheres, where women are denied rights and access to many things that are easily available to men. Patriarchy as a concept/tool helps in the critical understanding of the status of women in any society. According to the eminent gender historian Gerda Lerner, patriarchy manifests and institutionalises the domination of men over women and children within the family, and extends its influence over the public sphere in a society. In spite of patriarchy having common features across societies, it acts differently in every society, combining with other dominant structures. In India, this nexus between patriarchy and the caste system has been found to be historically exploitative and mutually feeding off each other.
CASTE IN INDIA
Caste divisions in India dictate one’s occupation, dietary habits, rituals, marriage and other interactions with members of other castes. Members of the upper castes enjoy more wealth and opportunities, while those of the lower castes perform menial jobs. According to a recent study jointly conducted by Savitribai Phule Pune University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and the Indian Institute of Dalit Studies, 41 per cent of the country’s total wealth is owned by upper-caste Hindus. The “untouchables” are in a permanent state of “impurity” and forced to do menial jobs such as toilet cleaning and garbage removal.
Caste, being an ascriptive status without any possibility for social mobility, has four defining features, namely, hereditary specialisation, hierarchical relations, repulsion with other castes to avoid any alliances, and endogamy.
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How Not To Handle An Epidemic
The lockdowns were meant to buy time to put in place appropriate health measures and contain the coronavirus’ spread, but they have failed to achieve the objective and heaped immense misery on the marginalised sections of society. India is still in the exponential phase of the COVID-19 infection and community transmission is a reality that the government refuses to accept.
Tragedy on foot
As the COVID-19-induced lockdown cuts the ground beneath their feet in Tamil Nadu, thousands of migrant workers are trudging along the highway to the relative safety of their upcountry homes.
Sarpanchs as game changers
Odisha manages to keep COVID-19 well under control because of the strong participation of panchayati raj institutions and the community at the grass-roots level under the leadership of Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.
As the COVID-19 death rate spikes and the economy tanks in the United States, Donald Trump and his advisers target China and the World Health Organisation with an eye to winning the forthcoming presidential election.
Kerala’s measured approach to the pandemic and lockdown has yielded results. But it still has to grapple with their huge economic impact on its economy, which it feels the Centre’s special financial relief package does little to alleviate.
No love lost for labour
Taking advantage of the lockdown and the inability of workers to organise protests, many State governments introduce sweeping changes to labour laws to the detriment of workers on the pretext of reviving production and boosting the economy.
Capital's Malthusian moment
In a world that needs substantial reorienting of production and distribution, Indian capital is resorting to a militant form of moribund neoliberalism to overcome its current crisis. In this pursuit of profit, it is ready and willing to throw into mortal peril millions whom it adjudicates as not worth their means—an admixture of social Darwinism born of capital’s avarice and brutalism spawned by Hindutva. .
When governments and their plans are found to be blatantly wanting in addressing reverse migration, exercises such as the Ekta Parishad’s survey of migrant workers throughout India can be useful to work out creative long-lasting solutions.
Waiting for Jabalpur moment
The Supreme Court’s role in ensuring executive accountability during the ongoing lockdown leaves much to be desired. Standing in shining contrast is the record of some High Courts.
An empty package
The Modi regime, which has been unable to control the COVID-19 infection, restore economic activity and provide relief to millions exposed to starvation, trains its sights on Indian democracy, making use of the panic generated by fear and a lockdown that forecloses paths of resistance.
ELON MUSK ASKED TO TESTIFY ON TWITTER BY UK PARLIAMENT
A British parliamentary committee scrutinizing draft online safety legislation has invited Elon Musk to discuss his plans to buy Twitter and the changes he’s proposing for the social media platform.
MUSK GETS $7B BACKING FOR TWITTER BID FROM TECH HEAVYWEIGHTS
Billionaire Elon Musk has strengthened the equity stake of his offer to buy Twitter with commitments of more than $7 billion from a range of investors, including Silicon Valley heavy hitters like Oracle co-founder Larry Ellison.
ELON MUSK'S BIG PLANS FOR TWITTER: WHAT WE KNOW SO FAR
Tesla CEO Elon Musk has laid out some bold, if still vague, plans for transforming Twitter into a place of “maximum fun” once he buys the social media platform for $44 billion and takes it private.
IS SHAWN OK?
I just wanna communicate with you guys in a real honest way," Shawn wrote in a follow-up tweet.
What Elon Wants...
The world's richest man spent $44 billion on Twitter but says he doesn't "care about the economics at all"
TRUMP SAYS HE HAS NO PLANS TO REJOIN TWITTER AFTER MUSK DEAL
Former President Donald Trump said that he has no intention of rejoining Twitter even if his account is reinstated following Elon Musk’s agreement to buy the social media giant for roughly $44 billion.
WHAT'S NEXT NOW THAT TWITTER AGREED TO MUSK BID?
Twitter’s acceptance of Elon Musk’s roughly $44 billion takeover bid brings the billionaire Tesla CEO one step closer to owning the social media platform.
ELON MUSK BUYS TWITTER FOR $44B AND WILL TAKE IT PRIVATE
Elon Musk reached an agreement to buy Twitter for roughly $44 billion on Monday, promising a more lenient touch to policing content on the social media platform where he — the world’s richest person — promotes his interests, attacks critics and opines on a wide range of issues to more than 83 million followers.
Amy Accused of Stealing Jokes
Fighting back! "I'm funny enough. I don't need to steal s--" Amy said during a recent appearance on Watch What Happens Live.
FOR RUSSIAN DIPLOMATS, DISINFORMATION IS PART OF THE JOB
As governments and social media companies have moved to suppress Russia’s state media and the disinformation it spreads about the war in Ukraine, the Kremlin’s diplomats are stepping up to do the dirty work.