The women’s movement today in India unfortunately is like an ingrown toenail. It is going in the wrong direction. For example, there are women arguing that sati [when a widow joins her husband on his burning funeral pyre] is not murder but cultural and religious way of women committing suicide, so we shouldn’t defame it; or that we should continue to allow Muslim men to legally have four wives. It is hurting itself. So mothers-in-law murder daughters-in-law; women strangle their own baby girls. When a group of women at a pub last year were molested and beaten up for “violating Indian tradition” the NCW (the National Commission on Women), the highest office protecting women’s rights, said the women had asked for it because they were drinking and inappropriately dressed.
The Feminist movement believed that a woman’s body and being is her personal domain. Freedom within and freedom without. But in India the women’s movement sees women just as suppressed citizens that have to be given rights. Do you see the difference? The only feminist movement we had has now died out completely. The women who started it were getting death threats and they just shut everything down. I wrote about it online.[ii]
Ms. Banerji maintains that what she refers to as gender-based genocide in India is the most massive in history and the violence is increasing. Young married women and baby girls are killed every few minutes, without evoking anywhere near the same response as killing a cow. The highest female death rates are in the middle and upper educated classes. In response, she sponsors an online petition called “The 50 Million Missing Campaign” that demands that laws against female infanticide, dowry, dowry murders, and honor killings be implemented.[iii] In an article titled “Why Kali Won’t Rage: A Critique of Indian Feminism,” Banerji charges that despite ongoing assaults on females, women don’t share and disapprove of “disapproval of western feminist anger” and emphasis on the harmful effects of patriarchy. Indians are raised to accept a gender hierarchy where women are expected to be “domestic,” meaning compliant, despite a countervailing tradition of female goddesses as powerful shakti forces. As in the battered women syndrome, women self-blame and try to please the abuser so that the murderers in bride burning are often female in-laws. The consequences of lack of feminist protest is women hold only 11% of political offices, it’s a low 112 out of 134 countries ranked on a Global Gender Gap report, has one of the lowest female literacy rates in the world and one-third of the child brides.