Monday, June 15, 2009
this is NOT a picture of some quaint ancient ritual being performed by indian women for the delectation of tourists. this is a picture of women learning to effectively wield weapons for self defense against any & all. & they damn well need to learn too.
when ann & i were in india, i noticed that there was a dearth of women ranging in age from, say, 8yo to 40yo. by dearth, i don't mean they were in the minority. i mean they weren't there. they weren't there at all. it was like they didn't exist. this was not so much the case in new delhi but in the state of bihar, it definitely was. bihar is one of the poorest, most corrupt, least educated states in the country of india. it's kind of like going to rural appalachia or north alabama or mid-mississippi. once i'd noticed the absence of women, i started really paying attention & it became even more apparent that women of certain ages were nowhere to be seen.
well, they exist.
this is a profoundly heartening story. what began as a self defense movement against abusive men has become, now, a movement against corruption. taking arms against a singular foe became a political act of defiance against a multitude of enemies. hopefully, by opposing the various levels of oppression en masse, they can end them. individual experience is subsumed into a larger social body w/similar individual experience & oppositional action ensues.
this is true & living politics.