From the past two days, the internet is flooded with the #BoysLockerRoom posts and people’s opinion on it but another more disturbing version of the locker room is streaming on twitter but the difference is that much fewer people are talking about it. I’m talking about the hate spreading against Safoora Zargar, a Ph.D. student and front line activist of the Anti CAA NRC protests. The participants of the ‘boys locker room’ are teenage boys, who can be given some concession on the account of their age (though we should not because what they have been doing is a crime and not a mistake, but let’s say we can) But the ones that have been violating a woman’s identity are not young boys who need guidance and can be tamed but fully grown individuals who have all the best abilities of a human being. But there is a link between these individuals and those teenage boys, which is that these individuals are the future of those youngsters. Those teenage boys of the locker room group will grow up to become like these who are outraging the modesty of Safoora Zargar and doing her character assassination because both the groups have one thing in common and that is “lack of respect for a woman”
Last month Safoora was charged with UAPA(Unlawful Activities Prevention Act) sedition and got arrested for the same. The witch-hunting of Delhi police which is there in the news since the early days of lockdown didn’t even spare a pregnant woman. Yes, you read it right, Safoora is 3-months pregnant. This isn’t the surprising part though because her pregnancy was transparent among the people and media but the hate propaganda of IT cells and WhatsApp universities have some different stories to tell.
Being a woman and an Indian this tweet disgusts me to my core as to how do we expect the safety of woman and hope for equal respect for them when a political figure who is at a certain position where the people of the country looks up to him, who is responsible for the welfare of the masses; is targetting a woman and her character just because she holds a different political ideology than him.
After a series of these hate tweets, the right-wing zealots flooded twitter against Safoora Zargar with disgusting, misogynistic, and communal tweets. They dared to do it all openly without hiding their names and identity. This is very rare, haters usually hide behind fake names but this time it’s different because well they have a powerful person who not just shares the ideology but is publicly vocal about it so they feel no fear. Then came her religious identity which gives these disgusting individuals one more reason to target her and her character. It’s all justified in their “Motherland”.
Twitter is full of hateful tweets and comments where they are speculating whether she is married or not, who is the father of the child, and being accused of purchased on Rs. 500 are the signs of nothing but a sick Indian society which has become pathetic, shameless, patriarchal, misogynistic, and xenophobic to its core. The other depressing thing about these hateful comments is that not only men are spreading hatred against a woman on baseless grounds but women are taking equal participation too. The only obvious crime of Safoora Zargar is that she is a Muslim and a woman who chose to stand out and speak out in the country where women and moreover Muslim women are supposed to be dumb and deaf. She chose to have her right to privacy and didn’t mention her marital status to protect her family but see what she got in return?
After the MeToo campaign, this is the first time when all the women have come out together and have spoken against these harassers and perverts of the Boys Locker Room. Students, Entertainers, Social media Influencers, women from all the spheres came together and spoke openly about it and stood together against the attackers.
George Orwell in his books, Animal Farm said, “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others”. This quote is evergreen because it is applied to us humans as well.
People are outraging against Boys Locker Room participants but the same outrage isn’t there with the attackers of Safoora. The selective outrage is nothing but hypocritical. On one hand, the choice of women and men both to outrage against the teenage boys is making us confident and strong as a community while on the other hand, their choice of sitting numb when a pregnant woman is lying in the jail for her dissent is making us vulnerable. It’s more vulnerable because they are choosing to be quiet while watching a Minister inciting violence and writing a misogynistic tweet. It is gruesome because it is not the first time such silence is maintained by the public, the same silence was kept when the girls were beaten by the police were hit in their private parts just because they were protesting peacefully against the government which is their constitutional right, or when a woman showed her dissent with a placard against article 370 in Mumbai, or when the nation went crazy to marry Kashmiri women on twitter after the abrogation of Article 370, and the list is long. It kills our hearts when we see that not many people came in support and showed their dissent against such acts in the same way they do to other wrong activities.
India is a MotherLand and to show the respect and love for our country we say “Bharat Mata ki Jai” or Victory for Mother India, ironically it is the same country where women aren’t safe, where there is the highest number of rape cases, where their modesty is questioned every now and then just because of their choice of dressing. Where the time of them being out of their homes to decide how much respect she deserves and now in this communal era another criterion is added to analyze the amount of respect to be given to a woman, her religion. Now her religion decides whether she deserves respect or not. This shows the grim reality and the hypocrisy of the Indian society.
Also, to those who are voicing against the Boys Locker Room incident and are calling themselves feminists need to see the meaning of feminism first. Keeping Zafoora Zargar’s case of her being unlawful or not aside, a woman’s marital status has nothing to do with the pregnancy. So, if you are not defending her for her act, you should be at least showing dissent for the character assassination that is being done to her. And if something stops you to show your outrage against that then I have no other option but to tell you that your outrage is selective and so is your feminism.
In this time when not just the country but the world is under a crisis and dealing with so many issues, there is a serious need to revisit our moral values and ethics. So that when this pandemic is over, we can come out clean and pure in every sense. So that we can have the power to see what is true and what is not. So that we spread love and harmony amongst each other and can be more compassionate, respectful, and empathetic towards all irrespective of any criteria and finally have the courage to stand beside those who have been wronged without showing any biasedness. If something bad happens to us, we expect and moreover wish people to stand by us, we should do the same to others first and then not wait for them to take the first step. Every time people show biasedness in supporting the right and showing dissent against the wrong, many people lose faith in humanity. Let’s pledge to end this and make a strong nation and community as a whole for everyone. Let’s stand with the right. We all are free to choose our own right but this time let’s take a pledge to choose the right correctly so that one day we don’t feel regretful and shameful of our actions.