Mr. advocate has reasons to feel agitated. After all a girl of her community has offended the collective feelings by offering to strip in front of the Indian cricket team. He also thinks that her act goes against the tenets of the great Indian culture. It’s the job of westerners to become professional strippers and probably he also holds the influence of modern culture accountable for such perverse behavioural patterns. The girl in question has become a widely known name mainly because of the remarkable support she has received from one of the leading newspaper of our country. Majority still does not recognise her by face. As expected she calls herself ‘the new generation girl’ and the people who have shown their support by posting comments on cyberspace ‘the boys of new generation’.And that’s exactly the point where I sit up and take notice.
New generational! Seriously? Well let’s dwell on this point a little. Through the larger part of human history women had no control over vital resources and were not required or rather allowed to cultivate any significant skills. Thus a woman had either one of the two options to felicitate men of success – cook food or get naked- with the exception of older women and those related by blood though not necessarily yet women always remained the source of gastronomic delights. It may sound derogatory however the fate of women in male dominated societies had not been significantly different.Men returning victorious from a war were often treated with the sight of voluptuous women followed by orgies, dance shows etc. This was done to keep the men motivated and to fire up the the primitive instincts that will cause them to draw the blood of their enemies with greater ferocity in future battles. There are also innumerable stories where women have offered their bodies to show their gratitude towards the accomplishments of men. Such acts were only the reflections of the way societies were designed. Women were treated as commodities that can be traded, acquired, stolen and gifted. And that’s how women also perceived themselves and their lot.The fate of the members of the downtrodden sections of the society was also not very different only that the women had the distinction of being treated as ‘sexual commodities’ .Getting back to the point it is rather a very old practice to reward men with consenting sexual playthings for their achievements.Even today when we look around and find women redefining their roles, breaking down the old customs and values, shattering through the glass ceilings and making a mark in territories earlier treated as prerogative of men it only goes on to tell us that there is some continuance along with some changes that we still find women desperate to get naked.
Neither my intentions are to get into any value judgement nor I hold anything against this girl. I believe when somebody so persistently proclaims to be something of a new makeup one expects to come across a break from the past or an act of which no close parallels can be seen at least in recent history.You are no radical when your acts are conformist and specially the ones which presumably are the basis of your claims to modernism.An instance of new generational shift would have been a presentation of some game strategy based on the statistics of the game analysed in the light of the competencies of the player by the girl in question to the cricketers. Or any other where the girl’s gender didn’t have to play a critical role, only because it would have been something not done earlier in general by women and not because of the concerns of right and wrong. More generally I have come to the conclusion that as a group the intra- conflicts that exist among women are far more complex and intractable than the ones with the other sex. If sexual commodification is to considered perverse and undesirable logically consensus among women should be a prerequisite. If they are the victims they should lead the charge against the practice. Yet some of most vociferous and passionate advocates of the practice are women themselves may seem perplexing at first. However given the long unbroken history of discrimination against women sourced from almost all quarters- be it religious rituals and beliefs, social customs, norms and expectations or even intellectual enterprises – such paradoxes are only bound to arise. Despite the idea of gender equality gaining greater acceptance across diverse societies sexism still exists and among the peripherally educated high strata group it exists with a hard to overcome resistance disguised within the layers of verbosity and pseudo arguments. That we come across advertisement where women are portrayed and journalists or sportswomen unable to achieve success until they become insanely fair are not the products of modern ideas but the continuance of old ones. The virus has mutated yet the disease is the same.
The much maligned modern culture which is consistently held responsible for any malaise detected particularly amongst the youth is often a victim of mistaken identity. Youth and modernism are not synonyms. They do co-exist but not necessarily. Modernism is not made solely of clothes, music, dance or festivals. It is not reflected entirely in the mannerisms and of the young people. Such instances are only fractions of modern culture for it has its origins in the ideas which heralded its arrival. Modern culture recognised and held to non negotiable value the dignity of the individual. While a modern society will not find any problem in a girl’s desire to show her appreciation in her peculiar way it remains indisputable that such a desire is a mere expression of an age old practice. On a practical note it is improbable that she is ever going to be able to achieve her motive. Our politically correct cricketers are neither going to agree to her proposal nor condemn it.
Key Words Indian Modern Culture