Delhi gangrape, liberalisation & Godwin’s Law

Dozens of reasons have been ascribed to the gangrape of the Delhi paramedic: from the bestial nature of men in the nation’s lawless capital to the base instincts aroused by Bollywood item numbers, ads and songs, and everything else in between.

As if to prove Godwin’s Law, two commentators on the Al Jazeera website have invoked the ‘L’ word—liberalisation—blaming the economic reforms in the country and arguing that there could be a connection “between the growth of violent, undemocratically imposed, unjust and unfair economic policies and the growth of crimes against women”:

The activist and ecofeminist Vandana Shiva:

“The economic model focusing myopically on “growth” begins with violence against women by discounting their contribution to the economy….

“A model of capitalist patriarchy which excludes women’s work and wealth creation in the mind deepens the violence by displacing women from their livelihoods and alienating them from the natural resources on which their livelihoods depend….

“The economic model shaped by capitalist patriarchy is based on the commodification of everything, including women.”

The author Dinesh Sharma argues:

“The new paradigm says “profit is better than poverty”, “greed is good” and “chasing after material wealth” is not antithetical to the traditional Indian values, which preach that “one should do one’s duty, not worry about the fruits of one’s labour”.

“As a result, women have rightly acquired more power because they are working outside the home, earning more money and raising children in the modern nuclear families. The traditional family has broken down, to some degree, as “the couple” or “the jodi” in a marriage has assumed more importance over the joint family.

“Women feel empowered at home and may be at the workplace, but are they safe? Has the rapid pace of change in women’s lives left men bereft to idle mischief? Has the men’s inner world matured with the changing current of the times?”