“Civilised debate”

Kalpana Sharma writes in the Hindu of how “the vicious anger of a group of men who feel women have wronged them seems to be out of proportion with the reality“, and of how it’s important to have a civilised debate if you want to maintain perspective.

A day or two before I read that, I had a conversation with a friend on the LYV about professional ethics and personal eithics and whether they can ever be divorced from one another.

And, spread over this same period of two-three days, I’ve been bombarded with emails advising me to abandon my feminist crusade because ‘the way things are’ is a product of natural selection. By someone who would be proud of never having read Darwin before expressing that opinion.

The connection? Well, the dichotomy of personal and professional ethics is a false one to me, because my politics inform my life and my work. I’m fortunate, in that sense, because I have a job in which this isn’t impossible. In fact, the freedom to think and believe is the single most important factor in success for the kind of work I do. Which means I can crusade quite passionately for my political choices, in this case, feminism. In fact, the work I have to do for my crusade feeds into and upon the work I have to do to keep my job. That’s as cushy as it gets, isn’t it? Except that when I am so immersed in what I am so passionate about (we’re still talking about feminism, in case you’re lost), I wonder if I lose perspective. Is it possible to have a civilised debate on feminism with someone who believes she is feminist but advocates dressing conservatively to avoid getting groped on a bus? Or with someone who thinks that the fact that my feminism is personal to me is a reflection of negativity?

Kalpana Sharma has an answer of sorts, when she draws the distinction between the debate on climate change and that on domestic violence.

When the first alarm bells were rung by thousands of scientists who suspected that human actions were resulting in a rise in the earth’s temperature that could have devastating consequences, the media tended to pit this large body of scientific evidence against individual scientists who expressed doubts about global warming. The two were given equal weightage in an effort at “balanced” reporting. How wrong such equivalence was is now evident as global warming becomes a reality that cannot be ignored.

The issue of violence against women is similar in some ways. Women of all ages, races, classes, religions around the world experience violence …

But even as there are exceptions to any rule, the overwhelming evidence indicates that by far the largest number of victims of gender-related violence is women.

Against this background, the vicious anger of a group of men who feel women have wronged them seems to be out of proportion with the reality. It also appears to be part of a larger campaign aimed to bring about changes in Indian society.

So, when you have an opinion based on information and knowledge, you take a side by making an informed choice, not as a matter of chance, a reaction that is “out of proportion with reality” is likely to be part of a “larger campaign“.

I wonder if there’s a larger campaign to stop me blogging.


5 Responses

  1. Is there an apparent loathing of opinions which are purportedly unsubstantiated by adequate amount of reading? Terms like ‘crusade’ are strong and for such to be engendered, there has to be an equally strong cause! Reading alone hardly makes for providing that! Meeting a couple of downtrodden women won’t add much either, when all you may be looking for are their wounds, without an eye for anything else of importance in and around your own life and that of the society you depend on.

    There are far more important issues that bright minds, who proclaim welfare of the masses, male or female, should be engaged in, even if such should always come after one’s own welfare. Still, if you insist, it is always wiser to work with the natural traits instead of against them.

    It’s rather vainglorious to feel as though there are campaigns to stop your campaigns. Certain matters come under the purview of private friendships. Concerns regarding your borrowed unhappiness about issues which are expected to turn out insignificant in the larger picture of your own life can hardly be termed ‘campaigns’. By drawing my comment into the public sphere, you perhaps just gave it the first appearance of a campaign, but be assured that it will be the last as well.

    It is a bit sad that you seem to be attempting to feed on the public opinion against a concerned private advice. It is hardly important as to how much of you I truly understand, for me to give friendly advice. The hope though is that a bright mind will not take a few decades to realize the true meaning of concern or the difference between the private and the public.

    The following link though, is merely for the reading of that same public, whose collective intelligence or the lack of it will become apparent not too far from today:

  2. Hey,

    Are feminists civilised?

    I do not think so. Kalpana Sharma writes radical and provocative stuff in the name of women’s welfare where as the laws that she promotes jail innocent mothers and pregnant sisters in India.

    If feminists are balanced, then why the hell NCW is saying,”Adulterous women are not victims where as adulterous men are criminals”?

    Why feminists have lied in India and International media that 70% of Indian women face domestic violence where as the real figures are less than 10% per year.

    Would you like to say, the feminists who burnt bras are civilised and balanced?

    Why feminists broke chairs in Delhi HIgh Court when justice JD Kapoor said, Dowry law is being misused and innocent (including minors) must not be put in jail without evidence?

    Do you think breaking chairs in a high court symbolise balanced civilised behaviour?

    Practice before you preach. Unfortunately, Kalpana Sharma will never understand such simple principles.

    It really hurts when someone puts your medicine on you?


  3. Kalpana Sharma is lying.

    The suicide rate of married males and females in India are 63:37.

    So who is driving whom to suicide? and who is facing more abuse?

    Her claims that only women face miserable condition compared to men in India has no statistical evidence.

  4. Sumanth, can you tell me where you got the figures you’ve quoted? Unless (as seems likely) they came out of your imagination.

    As for the rest of your comment, I don’t think it’s worth replying to!

  5. Hi! I wish more people felt this way and took the time to express themselves. Visit: [url=][/url]

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