The incident at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) must not be seen in isolation as they are ‘mainstream’ in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. As reported at many places the Lanka market eve teasing is famously known as ‘Lanketing’. BHU is not an oasis like JNU which is an island widely different from the culture of Delhi and Varanasi as a city is not Delhi where ‘no culture’ exists. Actually some time this no culture is much better than the ‘culture’. We all claim Varanasi is the óldest’ çivilisation and hence what we witness in Varanasi is the culture of the region where eve teasing is normal and girls are not supposed to speak and respond.
BHU is a highly casteist institution. Ofcourse the brahmanical intellectual elite that emerged from this institution would not accept or will speak lightly about it as they will speak about every other things from Lohia to Jai Prakash and their role except the rampant caste prejudices that exists inside this campus which can put shame to any civilised institution as the teachers rarely speak and behave in the absolutely feudal brahmanical way. The norm is the glorification of the Brahmanical Social Order and hence the attempt was to shun the protest. Good girls dont protest but since the majority of girls hail from the same social order, it became a problem.
I can bet as why BHU was not called anti national as JNU because it is the den of the brahmanical hegemonists and if this too is gone to the mad sad bad people who challenge it then it would be difficult to control. BHU impact the politics in eastern Uttar Pradesh like Allahabad University or Gorakhpur University. Politics in Uttar Pradesh have been influenced by the student leadership in the past too. You can see that in none of these universities, you will find girls contesting, not even the Upper caste girls. As far as the leadership is concern, in many places the dominant OBCs are now challenging but in BHU that too is difficult. Basically, these are den of Brahmin,Thakur-Bhumihar power elite. So, all of a sudden the media which kept quiet on these issues over the years is now crying and projecting as if it is too bothered about the issue.
The issue is not merely BHU. Issue is how feudalism is way of life in Uttar Pradesh particularly in Poorvanchal where a Manoj Tiwari singing the filthy Bhojpuri song will make people dance and political party can make him the president of a state which has nothing to do with his political work but purely on his appeal to the immigrant ‘men’ widely ignoring the sentiments of women. It is because women’s choice does not matter in these feudal structure where men enjoy women’s dirty dancing in the mohalla but then same time the same ‘çivilised’ people won’t allow their girls to go to cinema or to the market on their own or even watch that dance along with them. This is a contradiction. Watch Bhojpuri cinema or channels and you can understand what ails our society. Women are just meant to fulfill the sexual desire of men or dance at their tones or do the household core, wait for husbands to come home. In each of these places from Gorakhpur, Deoria, Mau, Azamgarh, Ghazipur, Varanasi and Allahabad girls-women face daily harassment from eve teasers as well as commoners who pass lucid comments.
BHU just reflect that education for us means to get a job or become éxpert’ in our subject but at the same point of time develop ‘ intellectuals’ who just glorify the ‘traditional’ values quoting copiously to those ‘greats’ as our ‘role model’ who never wanted women to be in education and regretted having done so.
The Vice Chancellor hails from Sangh Parivar school of thought and has been appointed because of his links. He would just do things which focus on ‘parampara’ and ‘sanskriti’ according to the wisdom of Deenanath Batra. He is not alone as there are hundreds of such íntellectuals’ who are ready to take a lead. Some of the big names of the ‘Hindi’ literature who once hailed as ‘leftists’ have not spoken a word since the incident. This is what you call typical brahmanical methodology which means the only ‘ideology’ that we have is the self serving ‘interests’.
The girls are demanding justice but definitely the crisis which we face today is not merely installation of a closed circuit TV or plain clothes policemen at every nook and corner or suspension of a few but it is time we look beyond it. Right now it is merely the issue of women which is cleverly painted as without any caste or religious identities by many of the ‘progressive’ and that is why we find many of them in the protests but the fact the administration and those in power in these institutions are using their caste prejudices and creating hurdles for making India a casteless society. Investigate impartially any of these institutions and the behaviour towards the Dalit and other backward community students and we will get a fact check. The war to change mindset has to begin now and it is not possible as long as we harp on those values which justify discrimination and degrade people on the basis of their identity.
Vidya Bhushan Rawat is a social and human rights activist. He blogs at www.manukhsi.blogspot.com twitter @freetohumanity Email: firstname.lastname@example.org