Thursday, December 8, 2011

Enough tears shed- Fight Violence, in your own way .

Women have been my muse for several of my works, these very women have suffered injustice over the ages. I have expressed my views on ways in which justice may be brought about.

They are typified, objectified, stereotyped and suppressed  in most cultures around the world. Women's suffrage in the modern world was granted earliest in 1881 and is yet to be granted in extremist countries like Saudi Arabia and Vatican City.
Who shall we put the blame upon?
Man? The misogynistic, chauvinistic and  hypocritical prude? After all, it is he who is responsible for disgracing the very gender that gives him life. He who rapes and abuses her.
As easy as it is to put the blame on the big bad wolf, blame games seldom help in bringing about a change. Gandhi preached standing up against injustice, to allow oneself to be oppressed is a greater crime than oppression itself. It's easy to be a victim of society's brutality and atrocity. Courage however is needed to break free. Men need to be sensitized; more importantly though the women need to stand up, raise their voice and hold their ground.

Having said that, Woman having been beaten black and blue, physically as well as emotionally, reflect these very colours on their metaphoric palette. Men can change this, by painting vibrant hues of vermilion, yellows, and pinks on their canvases.

Charity begins at home . My experiences have shown me , that we as individuals are big time hypocrites when it comes to bringing about a change in practice. All parents are liberal about LGBT rights , issues etc but if their daughter/son announces that she/he is Queer , then suddenly , it becomes a crime , all liberalness disappears . Same with the issues concerning women , put one step out of line , and there goes the “Gender Equality”. Argue and be silenced by a slap! Why is the “line of control “ drawn a few inches closer for women than for men?
The following incident, hopefully, shows some light on this very issue.  A friend of mine who happens to be the son of an IAS Officer  witnessed  the scene of a man beating his wife black and blue  ( an Indian Foreign Services officer at that). Moreover his poor mother , in an attempt to protect her daughter-in-law, was pushed and thrown on  the floor.  My friend, called me later that day to narrate the incident as he saw it , I asked him to do a simple thing - ring the bell ( ghanti bajao ). And  yes ,  the next day , when a similar thing happened , it worked . The bell stopped the violence. And even though  it was I who suggested ringing a bell at the time,  I don’t consider  it as a permanent or the best solution .
Ringing the bell  made the man aware of people listening and watching him commit these acts. It didn’t make him realise that the acts are wrong , only that society is watching him, judging him.
So what do we do? How do we protect women?

The question “how do we protect women ?” is the bigger  problem .
A better question, wherein lies the answer is, “How do women protect themselves ? “
Women need to be empowered. In every way , only then can they stand up for themselves . Unless you respect yourself , you cannot expect others to respect you .
As far as urban areas go , an attitude  and  the right body language can speak volumes. Women , especially working women capable of supporting themselves , need to let their men know. “Respect me as much as I respect you or simply FORGET IT”.
As far as rural women go , financial support is an issue , not because they don’t work , but because they don’t respect themselves enough to consider their work -labour- as work .
Moreover, a mafia of sorts can work wonders , women looking out for each other . No matter how bad the conditions in rural India , a large group ( like Bollywood dances ) works wonders . Urban societies can have a similar arrangement .
One of the major obstacles in the working of  such a group is not its effectiveness or  formation. The problem is that most women hold their personal and family lives very close to their heart , and would rather suffer than speak out about  domestic violence (brining us back to the need  for self-respect) .
To arm oneself is equally important. Kick-boxing , karate , kung-fu, pepper sprays are essential not only to protect oneself from domestic violence, but also from dangerous strangers/stalkers/attackers etc .
A rolling pin ( “belan” ) is more than sufficient to disfigure a man’s features, facial and otherwise( other utensils work the same ) .
The solution , is not in the weapon, but in the attitude .
Just like with paintings , there are plenty of tools. I work with one , another works with the other. What matters is the expression. The song sung by a baritone or a nightingale is sweet, when the melody strikes a chord :P , when the words make sense .

This Blog is part of the Men Say No Blogathon, encouraging men to take up action against the violence faced by women. 
More entries to the Blogathon can be read at Join further conversation on &
P.P.S-The painting below is symbolic of many things , but it is also symbolic of the condition of women today , their lives , their troubles . There is darkness , pitch darkness in crevices ,corners , doors and windows  where injustice breeds , where screams are silenced and the bruised are bruised again . 
 At the same time there is light , so much light .If only this light could enter those corners all such acts would end and give way to a better society . How this light shall enter ? . Well its  not a difficult answer to come up with .  ( especially if you have read the post above ;) ) 


Kim said...

Karan thank you so much for the deep wisdom and personal understanding of this piece. Your commitment to social justice and your insight into what makes us internally strong are transforming. We all need to embrace your words in order to change our world, and ourselves.

Your painting expresses your ideas so beautifully, both in composition and in symbol, that I hope you will submit the two of them together to your college magazine and to other venues where people can appreciate them.

Thanks again for your great contributions here.

Karan Leo Vohra said...

Kim - I am honored . Yes I am beginning to understand things , on a journey , on a quest , its circular , no beginning , no end

Incognita said...

It is a circle, no a spiral. It is our chakra :)

zubina said...

Nice blog. I work for TIMES NOW Channel and we are doing a show called Gillette-salutes the soldier in you. The vision of the show is to inspire young Indian men to awaken the spirit of the ‘Soldier in you’ by imbibing the values of an ideal man- Courage, Camaraderie, Discipline and Integrity. As per you blog, would you like to be one of speakers talking about how men should stand up for women. The show is mainly about encouraging men to take up action against the violence faced by women. Can you provide me with your contact details too for this.

Karan Leo Vohra said...

Hey Zubina,
I would be definitely interested In the same.
You can call me at 919968398154.
You may email me directly at