August 19, 2007

Missing Women and Missing Arguments

"Western" pundits regularly castigate something they understand to be Islam for "its" attitude towards women (and Hitchens is by no means the best example, I'm feeling particularly lazy).

Today, I revisited something that Amartya Sen (the fourth or fifth greatest Bangali after Mujib, Zia, Sher-e-Bangla and arguably Dr. Yunus) brought to light 17 long years ago: missing women. Revisited in the form of a BBC story on a family from the Other partitioned province.

Two partitioned provinces. Two "nations". Two religions. Same attitude towards women. Yet, "culture", poverty, education are never singled out by anyone as potential factors for discrimination against women, except of course geniuses like Dr. Sen.

Religion is. Islam to a greater extent because of its unique position at the intersection of the Western political zeitgeist and Hindutva propaganda. Hinduism also, but to a lesser extent due to the absence of a global media consensus on it, and India's own "secular" self-image.

A secularism that has done NOTHING for women.

Lesson of the piece: Say "Islam is detrimental to women" and feel all sexy inside as the applause trickles in. Real scholars challenge orthodoxies.

1 comment:

Rezwan said...

Well said. Discrimination of sexes and oppressions against women are parts of Western societies too. Its wrong to confine the psychological/cultural traits in perspectives of religions only.