Women empowerment — Indian media style!

Written by RATI HEGDE

The fourth pillar of democracy is the Press. Such a pillar should have very lofty ideals then, right? They should be the carriers of truth, of justice, of opinions, of public perceptions and more. But what is happening is something very strange. The fourth pillar of democracy in Bharat is the carrier of select news, of twisted facts, of agenda driven opinions, of selfish narratives and more. While this is an open secret, as a woman I always had that hope against hope that in the case of women at least, this pillar will not crumble. Let’s see how the Media has managed to earn the bones thrown by some with an agenda, by marketing women’s issues, especially at the cost of Hindus and BJP …

Menstruation: This has to be the one issue raised every time money runs short. Hindus are regressive and don’t allow women to worship in Temples because they are ashamed of menstruation, because they are a patriarchy. Seriously? Muslim women don’t fast during Ramzan, during their periods, because they are proud of menstruation? If anything, people in Sanatan Dharma are the first ones to accept any “faults” in their rituals and make amends in them. But to blame only them for not using sanitary napkins (Padman) is too much, no? And the temple thing – why would any woman want to do puja, go to a Temple, do a fast, only during her Menses – the time when she is most uncomfortable – is a real mystery to me? If anyone can prove to me that it is because of Patriarchy, I’d change my name. Show me one sentence in any of my scriptures that says that men should not allow women to do any of these things because if women do so, the men will become powerless. As a religious and spiritual woman I can definitively say that praying to God in a ritualistic way, during periods, is the most uncomfortable thing to do & I am happier off not doing it.

BTW, those who want to fight for women’s right via menstruation probably do not respect Sanatan Dharma or its rituals at all & must have never gone to any temple with their spouses during their periods. But when money speaks, a lot of wrongs become right ….

Temple Entry: In the whole of Bharat there must be a handful of Temples where women are not allowed entry. But just in case you didn’t know, this is because of the Patriarchal society we have, as per our ‘intellectuals’ and ‘journalists’. Muslims don’t allow women in Masjids and Mosques because they are a Matriarchy. In my opinion, there is a very valid reason why the purity of our Temples are sought to be played with. Those in the know, know that our Temples are not just Prayer Halls – they are deep and strong Energy Centers. They are areas where some of our ancients have meditated with deep devotion and have left their meditative energies in those places and also in the Vigrahas (Murtis) that exist there. It is because of these energy centers that Sanatan Dharma still thrives. A very good example would be of places where the idols were stolen – these places lost their energies – but when the stolen Vigrahas were found and returned to the temple with proper Praan-prathishtha, the regions throbbed with positive energies again.

The latest game of forcing entry of women into Temples by pretending that they are correcting a wrong meted out to women or by saying that it is a Constitutional Right, is all bunkum. The idea, in my opinion, is to vitiate the strong energies of that place. That is why the devout Hindus are protesting such moves.

Sexual Harassment/molestation: This issue is one which should have been taken seriously by the Media if they really wanted to empower women. But alas, even this is taken up as per their ‘agenda’ or as per who pays more, I guess. Why else will the Media whip up a storm when Zaira Wasim cries but not when a Congress worker accuses Congress MPs or party colleagues for sexual molestation? Or when AAP MLAs are accused of eliciting sexual favours from women for getting their ration cards made? Obviously, some women are more important that the others.

When women accused top business men like Phaneesh Murthy or Rajendra Pachauri of TERI, everyone looked beyond; when small girls are molested in Schools (especially in States where BJP does not rule or in Convent schools), everyone turns blind … but if a BJP Minister is accused, every single Channel & Journalist knows the minutest details of the case and will hound him forever. The recent #MeToo trend on Twitter was an eye-opener – so many people in the Media and the entertainment industry have molested or sexually harassed young women, but despite complaints, this fraternity itself brushed up all such complaints under the carpet. Wow!!!! So much for fighting for Women’s Rights! Top Media bosses and Channels have no Vishaka Guidelines in place. And they are going to fight for the commoner’s rights? I would love to see even one case of a Media boss being hounded till the logical conclusion of putting the person in prison. But then again, show me the money ….

Rape: The most brutal of all, the one which strips women of their dignity to the very core, is the most abused crime in the Media. Unless there is an Election round the corner, unless the victim is a Muslim, unless the whole Hindu community can be accused of this crime, the Media, esp. the TV Channels are blind. Look at the Nirbhaya case before the Delhi elections, or the mysterious case of torn clothes found in a Haryana field next to the highway, before elections there – these cases got maximum attention … but other equally horrific gang rape cases did not deserve even a mention. I am not saying that the Nirbhaya case should not have been highlighted – it was horrific and people needed to be woken up … but what about the others? Or look at the difference between the treatments given to the Kathua rape case victim and Geeta – the 11 year old victim of gang rape in a Madrassa. The stark difference in the way the cases are highlighted makes one wonder whether it is about rape, whether it is about women’s safety or whether it is about ‘The Agenda’ and the Narrative that is sought to be set. Shameful use of intelligence to paint one community black, is all that I can say.

Just when I thought that only Hindus were targeted, came the Nun rape case … and guess who won here – yes, the powerful Church lobby. The Nuns were shamed and not one Media house decided to help them. But the Bishop’s face and his ‘reported’ innocence was till recently shown on TV. So basically, it doesn’t matter which religion you belong to; as long as news can be twisted for the correct amount, I’m guessing.

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But full marks for Tanushree Dutta and those media heads who put themselves on the chopping block, so that the News channels, Press and Social Media (Twitter, Instagram & Facebook) can be turned to a #MeToo campaign – this is obviously being done to shadow the massive peaceful protests against the Sabarimala Judgment and the Nun rape case. Guess which women deserve more attention? And why? And now guess which women are really powerful?

About the author

RATI HEGDE

A Home-maker with 3 children, Rati Hegde loves reading and writing about Spirituality & Hindu religion, Humour and everyday life. She also actively supports the cause of Protection and Conservation of the Indian breed of Cows.

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