Jan 062013

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, who stoked a controversy a few days ago saying that rapes do not take place in rural but urban India, has created a fresh row now with remarks that a woman is bound by contract to husband to look after him.

“A husband and wife are involved in a contract under which the husband has said that you should take care of my house and I will take care of all your needs. I will keep you safe.

“So, the husband follows the contract terms. Till the time, the wife follows the contract, the husband stays with her, if the wife violates the contract, he can disown her,” Bhagwat told a rally in Indore on Saturday.

Reacting sharply to Bhagwat’s comment, CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat said, “I don’ think it is really surprising because at the end of the day, this is what RSS is. That is why I think it is the retrogade ‘samiti’ of India. These were the regents who when BJP was in power wanted a new Constitution of India based on ‘manushriti’. So when he talks in this language, he only reflects his ideology.” The RSS chief had created a flutter last week when he had said in Silchar in Assam that rape is mainly prevalent in urban India due to western influence and that such crimes against women do not happen in rural areas of the country.

Protest against Bhagwat

Youth Congress activists burn an effigy of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat to protest against his remark on rapes in India, in Bhopal.

The remark that came against the backdrop of the Delhi gangrape incident was slammed by Congress, CPI-M and women’s bodies while BJP and RSS defended it saying the comment should be taken in proper perspective.

Bhagwat had claimed that the incidents of rape were the result of adoption of western culture in society as a whole and that erosion of traditional Indian values were more pronounced in urban areas.

“Crimes against women happening in urban India are shameful. It is a dangerous trend. But such crimes won’t happen in Bharat or the rural areas of the country. You go to villages and forests of the country and there will be no such incidents of gangrape or sex crimes,” he had said.

“Where ‘Bharat’ becomes ‘India’ with the influence of western culture, these type of incidents happen. The actual Indian values and culture should be established at every stratum of society where women are treated as ‘mother’,” Bhagwat had said, demanding that the government take appropriate action to stop rape incidents and RSS will support any government initiative to change existing laws.

On the RSS chief’s husband-wife contract remark, Karat said, “I don’t know if he knows this but in India on the basis of caste system, we have the worst kind of oppression of Dalit and adivasi women.

“When these people talk about ‘Hindu Rashtra’ and Hindutva, it is based on this highly casteist, partriarchal framework and that is why I think what RSS spokesmen are saying reflect their inner thoughts,” she said, adding, “Because they believe women are subordinate to men and women are appendages to men.” RSS spokesman Ram Madhav said the projection of Bhagwat’s views on the marriage system in the Indian context is “totally false”.

“It is totally falsifying his views. He said the western marriage system is contractual where a man and a woman consider marriage as a contract whereas he also went on to say that Indian marriage system is a very sacred institution.

“In this, the woman has a place of great respect and the man has certain obligations towards the family and the way the whole thing was projected was as though Bhagwat was calling Indian marriage contractual. This is total distortion of what he has said,” according to Madhav.

On Bhagwat’s comment on the rape issue, Karat had then said, “Bhagwat neither understands India nor Bharat.” She had said government statistics of atrocities on women and sexual assault showed that the maximum number of victims belong to the poor, Dalit and tribal communities.

National Commission of Women(NCW) Chief Mamta Sharma had said Bhagwat should stop differentiating in terms of geography.

“We are all Indians. We are all citizens of India…Go to grassroots level and see what is the condition of the women there,” she had said.

However, Madhav had said the RSS chief’s statement should be taken in proper perspective.

“He has condemned the heinous crime of assaulting women, rape against women and he said it is an utterly wrong thing and that people who indulge in such things must be punished,” he added.

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