As the International Women’s day draws near I was asked by an activist what are your comments on domestic violence against women?
Here is my view. Domestic violence by man against woman is not so much a gender issue as it is a power issue. An unbiased study of history will demonstrate that often when one group is powerful enough to control another group and profit from that domination, they will do so regardless of gender. Woman also when she has had power, for example in matriarchal societies, has dominated men. Plus in male-male marriages also violence is common.
Man is physically more powerful than woman and he has been able to dominate her in yesteryears because in the society might was more important than justice. With the coming in of laws and agencies like the state and the police the physical disadvantage which the women suffered from has got minimized. Justice is becoming more important than might and this is a very favourable development. So woman is rising in the power equation. Plus she is becoming economically independent as well.
She is becoming really equal to man and also seeking equal status. Conventional men will fight this. If you have held a position of advantage you don’t let it go without a fight.
Woman should indeed continue with her crusade. But she should also take care that in her fight against man she doesn’t lose her femininity. Several philosophers and social scientists have said that the world would be a better place if it were ruled by women. I agree. Why? Because man is ordinarily more aggressive, self- serving and hard line and woman is ordinarily more kind and humane (perhaps hormonal and neurological differences and child bearing has something to do with it). No wonder then that all the welfare states of the world are ruled by women. The prime ministers of these countries have been called mothers of the world. Having said that I would like to add that men like Barack Obama or Atal Bihari Bajpayee also have a well developed feminine polarity in them, which is the source of their compassionate world-view.
It is this compassionate streak which should not become a casualty as the woman fights with the man for her place under the Sun; as when you engage for too long with an enemy you become like him. This hardening of women has already started happening in the West and is making the woman there very masculine (not only in demeanor but in appearance as well- some studies have pointed out that the propensity and fashion towards flat breasts among the western woman is an outcome of her wanting to be like man).
This hardening of her nature is adding too much conflict and stress to the family and society. Woman kind should be aware and watchful of it.
One of my favourite couplets by Neeraj says:
Aadmi ko aadmi banane ke liye, chotti si ek prem kahani chahiyen
Kagaz pe likhne wali rosnai nahi aankhon mein thoda sa paani chahiyen
(For a man to be complete he needs love and a shadow of compassion in his eyes)
Woman is born with this shadow of compassion in her eyes. Child birth deepens this shadow. In her quest for equality she should not lose this shade in her personality. Rather than saying equal- she should say- equal yet different.