Saturday, August 29, 2015

Humiliation as Political, Politicizing Humiliation: when caste bodies are sexually violated

Rukmini Sen

“Humiliation is not so much a physical or corporeal injury; in fact, it is more a mental/ psychological injury that leaves a permanent scar on the heart” (Guru, 2010). The need for this paper (rather, thoughts elaborated somewhat coherently) arises from recent reportings on sexual violence on lower caste women in UP and Haryana and the felt need for politicizing humiliation because it is about time to engage with the question whether rape is only an act of violent sex or sexual violence? As ‘events’ these rapes occupied much less journalistic, academic or even activist interrogation than the other event—16th December Delhi gang rape. Of course Bhagana and Badaun were actually othered by not managing to capture the imagination of the nation. Who is titled Nirbhaya [1]by the media (not that this author is supporting the title), and why does it get unnoticed when four gang raped girls camp in the streets of Delhi (with their families and other people from the Bhagana village) with their bare bodies (bare in the sexually violated sense)? It is indeed necessary to reflect why movement(s)[2] do not take adequate cognizance of bare humiliated bodies of two Badaun OBC women murdered and hung from trees on brazen display in full public view as if to show that the act was intended meant to be a chilling spectacle of higher caste dominance, and not just an act of violent sex? Of course there is a certain process that of the criminal justice system that any of these ‘crimes’ go through. A local Hisar court through fast track has acquitted the four accused in abduction and gang raping the Bhagana girls last week.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

SECC Shows Shocking Picture of Poverty in Rural India


Partial findings of the Socio-Economic & Caste Census (SECC) conducted by the government of India during 2011-12 were released in July this year by the Modi government. The urban component and the caste component has not been released yet – only the rural data is available. There has been much confusion about the data because it seems to be contradictory. ‘Deprivation’ (a euphemism for poverty) appears to be lower than what other disaggregated data on income of employment shows. The SECC was the biggest ever exercise of its kind, equivalent to the Census because it covered the whole population. But it went where Census has hitherto not gone: incomes, more details of employment, and so on. And its results are revealing.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Women’s Paid and Unpaid Work: Some Reflections

Sona Mitra

It is generally and quite correctly argued that within an economy, women’s work participation is determined by several factors such as age, education level, skill levels, wages, household income level, marital status and several other economic, socio-political and cultural factors. However, while these do determine the necessary conditions for women to enter the workforce, that is mostly the supply side factors of women’s employment, the issue of whether women workers are able to participate in ‘gainful economic activities’ depends greatly on the degree of women’s access to the labour markets.