Delhi: While Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh supremo Mohan Bhagwat is being criticised for his comment that rapes occur only in cities, not in rural India, prominent public intellectual and social scientist Ashis Nandy has come out in his support. Speaking to Tehelka, Nandy says there is a connection between modernisation, urbanisation and rape.
“It is not only in India but in most of the world. So I don’t think Bhagwat was wrong because in India there are many instances, even in rural India there are many instances of rape. I must tell you that the future is loaded in favour, if I may put it that way, of urban India and modern India. In other words you will hear more instances of rape in cities and metropolitans,” he says.
Bhagwat sparked off a controversy on Friday 4 January with his remark that rapes occurred only in cities and not in rural India. “Such crimes hardly take place in Bharat, but they frequently occur inIndia,” he said while addressing a citizens’ meet in Silchar, Assam.
Bhagwat criticised the “western” lifestyle adopted by people in urban areas and blamed it for the increase in crime against women in cities. “You go to villages and forests of the country and there will be no such incidents of gangrape or sex crimes. They are prevalent in some urban belts. Besides new legislations, Indian ethos and attitude towards women should be revisited in the context of ancient Indian values,” he said.
Defending Bhagwat’s remarks, RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav on said, “The statement of RSS chief should be taken in proper perspective. He (Bhagwat) has already demanded strict punishment for rapists and even called for death penalty if required,” Madhav said.
“All that he said is that in Indian tradition we have great respect for women and we should learn to uphold this tradition. If one goes away from this tradition it will result in rise of crime against women,” he added in the RSS chief’s defence.
Nandy further added that the reason why he sees a rising incidence of rape is “because the kinds of rapes that we hear of now are mostly violent”.
“You can almost call it anomic rape. These are typical characteristic of anonymous cities. Highly individualised, personally thin cultures and it is so not only inIndia, I repeat, but perhaps all over the world from which we have data. So in one sense, Bhagwat is not wrong, but he has absolutised this difference to make a different kind of point to protect India perhaps, its so called pristine purity as it survives outside urban India. In anonymous societies kinship dies and community ties weaken and become superficial. It is in these circumstances that you see the kind of rape that you are seeing today,” Nandy says.
Mohan bhagwat is clearly out of touch with reality if he thinks rapes don’t happen in bharat. Dalits, tribals and rural women don’t count?
— Shoma Chaudhury (@ShomaChaudhury) January 4, 2013
Sociologist Ashis Nandy expands on RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat’s comment blaming rapes on increasing western values