Warning: You are hereby warned that the following article deals with abuses. So if it in any way violates your right to ‘morality’, then do not proceed. PARENTAL AND ‘CULTURAL’/’MORAL’ ADVICE IS SUGGESTED.
With the release of the movie “3 idiots”, the meaning of the word “idiot” has changed. It is no longer offensive. Infact, there is now a certain sense of pride associated with it. The new definition for an idiot is one who is not stereotypical or ‘does not go with the flow’. It has, in a way, challenged the very essence of the society – to live under predefined boundaries and follow a predefined set of rules. It has proved that like everything else, abuses are also a societal construct. Whatever the society condemns becomes an abuse.
Incest relations are forbidden in our society. This is the origin for our all-time favourite BC-MC. Prostitutes are considered the ‘filth’ of the society. So the best way to abuse a woman is to call her randi, vaishyaa, kultta etc. Prostitutes are women who use their bodies as instruments, rather than as ornaments. They dare to become financially independent, thus altering the norm of the society. Ironically, these abuses are used when a woman goes beyond her ‘limits’- when she argues back (a prostitute can demand) or comes home late (after 9’o clock). She then automatically becomes a prostitute. Another irony is that a prostitute is a highly-talented woman. Yet she is the one who lives ‘off the social ladder’. And there should be no doubt that there exists no abusive word for her clients. There is another women-centric group of abuses designed especially for bahu rani(s). These consists of the 3 Ks- Karamjali, Kulakshini and Kalmoohi. Kalmoohi also has a racist side to it. Kalmoohi means dark-skinned. The famous ‘bhootnike’ is also believed to have a similar connotation. Here again, it is bhootni not bhoot! Beauty is the women’s department. And in India, beauty and fairness go hand in hand. So it is the ‘duty’ of the woman to acquire and maintain a fair skin even though the Indian climate does not support it. A very common house-hold phrase is “kaali kalooti baingan looti!”. For the men, there is the mills n boons concept of ‘tall, dark and handsome’!
Now comes the issue of illegitimate children. Our society holds the institution of marriage very high- so high that it sometimes becomes impossible to fall off! Illegitimate love unions are therefore considered to be haraam and the children- haraamzaada. The next group highlights the class division in the society. This group consists of abuses like chura, chamaar, bhangi etc. Chura, chamaar and Bhangi are listed under the list of scheduled castes and scheduled tribes. Another abuse – Badzaad also means ‘of low or bad birth’. Gonad-related abused: References to mother’s or sister’s vagina is again to undermine the role of women in creating the humankind. The vagina is seen to be inferior to penis. This is again ironical as how can something which helps in creating and sustaining life be inferior. And again there should be no room for doubt that there is no abusive word for penis. Hijra, gays and lesbians: The homosexuals and transsexuals are without a doubt an integral part of the institution of abuses. Transsexuals commonly known as hijras are used for abusing more commonly as the society if not accept, atleast recognises them. The gay and lesbian community is ‘still struggling’ for an identity. People still think that they are not born as homosexuals but are made to be one!
The institution of abuses is also the representation of the very nature of the society which is patriarchal. Abuses are meant to use only by men. They even claim copyright issues. A woman’s dictionary, on the other hand, is supposed to be ‘pink’ and to smell of roses. She is supposed to talk in a very sweet tone. Therefore, her birth makes her ineligible to abuse. This is the reason why we have no male versions for BC-MC. Unlike in west, in India, people say kutte ka bachcha. Here again, we may see the male dominance in relationships. Infact, the word “Aurat” itself is, very often, used as an abuse. Not just vagina, but even ma-ki-aankh is supposed to be offensive! The way she dresses, the way she talks, walks is supposed to be derogatory in some respect. Phrases like “tune kya choodiya pehen rakhi hai” ya “tune kya mehendi laga rakhi hai” are used by men to challenge each other. The phrase “apne baap ki aulaad hai toh saamne aa” again emphasis on the superiority of masculinity. The role of the women ends with giving birth and breast-feeding. It is not her but her milk which is used to challenge masculinity!
Abuses are a way to vent out your frustrations, sometimes even against the society. But as we see here, even when you abuse the society, you do it by ascribing to its norms!