At Ramanujan College in the University of Delhi last weekend, international social activist Kamla Bhasin gave a powerful TEDx talk on patriarchy. Apart from harming women in myriad ways, she said, patriarchy has been, for 3,000 years, making for emotional castration of men. “You cannot cry, you cannot admit defeat, you cannot admit to being afraid – patriarchy takes away humanity from men,” said Bhasin, in a talk that was wry and poignant at the same time.
Young women in the city echo the views of Bhasin. “Boys as young as 5 years of age are asked to be the protectors, drivers, caretakers and stalkers of the girls in their family and neighbourhood. The patriarchal mind, when it influences a society, makes for small and weak men. These men will then take a lot of time to get educated enough to break out of the shell of misogyny, if they ever do,” says Pallavi Lembe, tech writer at startup STL Technologies.
Bhasin has worked for 27 years with the United Nations, and is now a prolific writer and a prominent activist and social worker. Her arguments on misogyny strike a chord with many across the globe, and of course in the city as well.
“I admire the way she is able to articulate the gist of the issues. Listening to her might open many a closed mind,” says Sreenidhi Laxman, a gender studies grad who works as a counsellor on women’s issues with NGO Akshaya.