IASbhai Daily Editorial Hunt | 4th Jan
“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” —Winston Churchill
EDITORIAL HUNT #298 :“Sexual violence in rural India : Land,Caste,Patriarchy | UPSC”
Sexual violence in rural India : Land,Caste,Patriarchy | UPSC
Sexual violence in rural India draws on hierarchies of land, caste, patriarchy
Hierarchies of caste, class, and gender intersect to form a cocktail of horrors for the women of rural India — we must understand these nuances in order to form any policy that meaningfully tackles gender-based violence in India.
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 1 : Social Issues
. Comment -(GS 1)
- Caste ladders in India
- Land and Caste System
- Patriarchal Society
- Due process of law
- Way Forward
CASTE LADDERS IN INDIA
- Hierarchies of caste, class, and gender intersect to form a cocktail of horrors for the women of rural India.
- We must understand these nuances in order to form any policy that meaningfully tackles gender-based violence in India.
- A lot of that has changed now, due, in part, to an increased police presence and a steady urbanisation of people’s aspirations.
- But what has remained constant is rural India’s obsession with the caste order.
LAND AND CASTE SYSTEM
- OCCUPATION : This is how society has functioned for millennia: The lower castes have served the upper castes as potters, labourers, masons and cleaners.
- LAND MEANS CURRENCY : In the political economy of post-Independence India, land is the currency that reigns supreme in the hinterlands. Land is class, power and honour.
- OWNERSHIP RIGHTS : Its exclusive ownership is the basis of maintaining the caste order.
- DOMINATION : The dominant castes in a particular region have traditionally been the largest landowners.
- LAND IS A FLASHPOINT OF CONFLICT : In the Khairlanji rape and massacre, the upper castes retaliated brutally and bestially against the Bhotmanges, a Scheduled Caste family in the village.
- BENEFITS OF GREEN REVOLUTION : The benefits of the Green Revolution and the neo-liberal economic order have disproportionately benefited them and seldom the landless labourers who belong overwhelmingly to the lower castes.
- RESERVATION AND EMPOWERMENT : The reservation guaranteed by Babasaheb Ambedkar witnessed an emergence of a politically and economically influential sub-caste of Dalits in each state of the country.
- POWER EQUATIONS : With the advent of Bahujan politics in Uttar Pradesh, oppressed castes found themselves represented in positions of power.
- WOMEN VS HONOUR : In traditionally patriarchal societies, women are the currency of honour.
- SEXUAL VIOLENCE : Sexual violence operates on the nexus of land, caste, and patriarchy.
- MAINTAINING THE STATUS QUO : It becomes a tool to maintain the status quo of land and caste.
- STATUS OF INDIVIDUAL WOMEN : Sexual violence against women from lower caste communities is seldom about the individual woman; more often than not, it is about robbing the honour of a community, a caste, a family.
- DIFFERENTIAL POWER AND INFLUENCE : During land disputes between two caste groups with a large differential of power and influence, women’s bodies become collateral damage.
MODESTY VS CONFLICTS IN RURAL INDIA
- WOMEN AS SHIELD : When strongmen from one group pay a threatening visit to the property of another group, the defending group will bring their women out of the home, making them stand with the men.
- INITIAL APPROACH : That police officials often fall in favour with the dominant caste groups has been much discussed.
- ADMINISTRATIVE LAPSES : SHOs and SPs are under pressure from the administration to not register sexual crimes under their jurisdiction, since these cases make them targets for transfers and dismissals.
- INVESTIGATION TONE : This fear of bureaucratic reprisal sets the apathetic tone for investigations as well.
- DUE PROCEDURE OF LAW : The retaliatory cases of violence against women that are registered after land conflicts make it harder for genuine cases of sexual assault to get their due process.
- INTERSECTIONAL APPROACH : We must take an intersectional approach that targets all of the issues.
- LAND REFORMS : Land ownership reform must tackle the irregularities of demarcation and the lack of proper records.
- MAMMOTH EFFORTS NEEDED : The goal of annihilating caste cannot be achieved without mammoth efforts in educational, professional, and social integration of lower castes into every field, be it healthcare, judiciary, education, entertainment, or sports.
- TACKLING PATRIARCHY : In tandem with land and caste reforms, we must tackle the persistence of patriarchy in our society.
- UNDER-UTILISATION OF FUNDS : In the last few central budgets, the Ministry of Women & Child Development has under-utilised its funds for multiple programmes aimed at women’s empowerment.
- EQUAL REPRESENTATION : We must demand more representation of women in positions of power — be it through reserved seats in MP, MLA, and MLC elections, or the judiciary and corporate boards.
- GENDER EQUITY : We must work for quality sexual education and consent training for our youth, with the aim of not just preventing sexual assault but also equalising and normalising healthy relations among members of different genders and sexes.
And lastly, we must bridge the gender divide in access to the transformative and emancipatory power of consumer technology.