It is with a heavy heart that I read about another brutal gang rape by 6 or 7 men of a 29 year-old woman, this time in Punjab. Not much is yet known about the circumstances other than she is believed to have been travelling on a bus back to her village on Friday night. The driver and conductor allegedly refused to stop at her village, instead taking her to a desolate location not far from the city of Amritsar.
It is unimaginable cruelty that such men unleash on a woman, it is a crude and sick self-importance that makes them think they can just abuse and torture a woman as if it were their birth right.
Men have shown inconceivable disrespect of women down the ages. They have murdered millions of women by forcing them to be burned alive on their husbands’ funeral pyre. Have they forgotten that a woman gave birth to their miserable life? Have they forgotten that it is a woman who gives birth to their all important sons? This is widespread chauvinist oppression of women who are being used like cattle, many beaten by their husbands on a regular basis.
The BBC reported recently, that “with more than 24,000 reported cases in 2011 [in India], rape registered a 9.2% rise over the previous year. More than half (54.7%) of the victims were aged between 18 and 30. Most disturbingly, according to police records, the offenders were known to their victims in more than 94% of the cases. Neighbours accounted for a third of the offenders, while parents and other relatives were also involved. Delhi accounted for over 17% of the total number of rape cases in the country.”
Punishment is not a solution to combat this violence which will just fester deeper and deeper until there is another vicious outburst out of terrible unawareness. Demonstrations won’t change the bigoted male attitude, women’s liberation movement won’t change the sexist mind. What is needed is for the society to change.
A sannyasin asks if Osho is against the Women’s Liberation movement:
Shakti, I am not against women, I am all for them. But the liberation movement is something ugly – and I know the responsibility is on the male chauvinists. They have been doing so much harm to women down the ages that now the woman wants to take revenge. But whenever you start taking revenge you become destructive. The movement is still in a destructive phase; it has not become creative. And I am against destructiveness.
It is of no use to go on looking at past wounds. It is of no use to take revenge because of the past. One should learn to forgive and forget. Yes, it was wrong – accept it. Whatsoever has been done to women down the ages was absolutely wrong. Man HAS exploited them. Man has been very brutal, very animalistic. Man has reduced women to slaves; even more than that, he has reduced them to things, to possessions. But what is the point of taking revenge? Then you become the pursuer and man becomes the pursued. Then another kind of chauvinism begins to take form and shape. Then the female chauvinist is born. And this is not going to put things right. Then the women will start doing harm to men, and sooner or later they will take revenge. Where is this going to stop? It is a vicious circle.
And my feeling is that instead of men stopping it, it is far easier for women to stop it, to come out of the vicious circle – because they are more loving, more compassionate. Man is more aggressive, more violent. I don’t have much hope from men, I hope much from women. Hence I am not in favor of the aggressive attitude and approach of the Women’s Lib movement.
Don’t be worried, Shakti. There are many women here who have belonged to the Women’s Lib movement. But as they have come closer to me, their attitudes have changed, their approach has changed. Life’s problems can only be solved by love, they cannot be solved by any violent approach.
Men and women are different worlds; hence it is difficult to understand each other. And the past has been full of misunderstandings, but that is not necessarily to be so in the future. We can learn a lesson from the past, and the only lesson is that man and woman have to become more understanding of each other and more accepting of each other’s differences. Those differences are valuable, they need not create any conflict; in fact, they are the causes of attraction between them. If all the differences between men and women disappear, if they have the same kind of psychology, love will also disappear because the polarity will not be there. Man and woman are like negative and positive poles of electricity: they are pulled towards each other magnetically; they are opposite poles. Hence, conflict is natural. But through understanding, through compassion, through love, through looking into the other’s world and trying to be sympathetic to it, all the problems can be solved. There is no need to create more conflict – enough is enough.
Man needs as much liberation as woman. Both need liberation – liberation from the mind. They should cooperate with each other and help each other to be liberated from the mind. That will be a true liberation movement.
That’s what sannyas is all about.
Osho, The Dhammapada: The Way of the Buddha, Vol. 10, Ch 2, Q 5
Related article: We need Change not Revenge