HerStory

yet the task is only half-done
pricey is freedom of expression.
until the working class women,
who still are waiting to be heard,
let alone seen, in this
fermenting revolution;
when they get to win
the means of communication,
them that are not on twitters
weary, exhausted workers,
marching, one may day, at a time
to end all exploitations;
#themtoo will be seen
rise in solidarity
and march in unison;

Our Rape, Their Rape

By Saswat Pattanayak The need is to change the entire language of rape. Not to just call it a rape, but as rape by men. Not simply that a Dalit woman was raped, but a Dalit woman was raped by a Hindu upper-caste man. Not just a woman was gang-raped, but six men raped a woman one by one by one by one by one by one. Not just Violence Against Women (VAW), but Violence Against Women By Men (VAWBM). Not just laws around gender discrimination or sexism, but specifically around men discriminating against women or laws to hold male…

Rape Culture and Capitalism: What is living and what is dead

By Saswat Pattanayak I understand many of us, Indians, are ashamed these days. And it is true that protests and placards do not educate the rapists. And that the students came out on the streets only because it is New Delhi. But we should not miss an important aspect of it all – most protesters clearly defying governmental bans are demonstrating an important tactic in the struggle for women’s rights anywhere in the world. This is a strategy that should not be discouraged, rather used everywhere – be it in Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Orissa or Manipur. Or for that matter, in…

Rape Culture, Capitalism and India

By Saswat Pattanayak Looks like, rape still continues to shock virtuous people in India. Or was it just this latest one? The one that took place in Delhi? Was it because the “izzat” of India’s capital city has now become the new concern? The honorable India has to be reclaimed in all “her” full glory where the goddesses are worshipped and women assaulted? Or is it that the unprecedented outrage in Indian society today owes to the fact that this rape was of the “more brutal” variety? Since most of us don’t do that kind of “iron rod” rapes. We…

David Letterman: Privileges produce Consensus

By Saswat Pattanayak (Written for publication in Women’s Rights NY) Contrary to mainstream media depictions, David Letterman did not have any affairs with his staff members. And contrary to liberal media apprehensions, the world does not need to be bothered about whether the incidents took place before or after his marriage. Letterman’s apologies to his wife on air are ridiculously unnecessary, and his failure to step down from his job after admission of guilt is soaked in implicit privileges. What Letterman has done is sheer abuse of his economic power and gender privilege. His unabashed claim that any disclosure of…

Roman Polanski and Euro-American Privileges

By Saswat Pattanayak It’s a deceitful media circulation which suggests that the American judiciary is going after Roman Polanski. The truth is it never has. Polanski is a filthy criminal who had raped a child and yet was allowed to let go by the American justice system for over three decades. And this time, he is merely a bone which Switzerland threw at the United States over its UBS catastrophe. As for Polanski, who has visited Zurich several times and never been arrested before, its going to be few wordplays around extradition treaties that will ensure his freedom while, corporate…