Chup- Book Review

This is one of the best books about Indian society and the values it propagates, that I have read. It lays bare our attitudes towards women in the starkest possible words. I think it is a must-read for women and men both, because we may just realise what we are doing to our women.

Conditioning has little to do with being urban or rural, poor or rich, educated or otherwise. Treating women badly or as a lesser human is all-pervasive, if this author's research is any indication. And her research is disturbing, to say the least. The very high percentage of women who are molested in their homes or outside it (the commute on public transport being one regular place for it) is shameful. And we are not even talking of the godman-rapist here.

But even worse is their being asked to shut up and not speak up (the title of the book, in Hindi). Not existing (virtually), not recognising their bodies, being ashamed of their opinions/desires, are some things women are trained for, apart from always pleasing others-men included, but ma-in-laws and others too. Of course, there would be exceptions, but these are a small percentage.

Devastating stuff that forces you to think, about where we are headed as a society. Ancient India with its Khajuraho and Kamasutra is a far cry from the mentality that we have now grown into, where even basic education about bodily functions and drives is not discussed. Women feel like unwanted beings (from the foetal stage onwards) or insignificant and unacknowledged workers in many homes, and carry that inferiority complex throughout their lives in many cases. Including the workplace, where they are often not asked for an opinion, or taken seriously when they express one.

Hopefully, we will change one day. An important book, I would say.

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