Friday, March 29, 2013

My recent encounter with Stockholm syndrome...

Recently there was series of comments on my post "Chanakya and his views about women", there were few commentators from both genders were there to criticize my post and defend Chanakya's views about women on which I commented in my post. Their major objection was how come a trivial person like me can have a audacity to criticize great Chanakya. I was not at all surprised by their language (calling me stupid or dirty or any other name, offering me so many advises) but was little surprised to see some educated women defending Chanakya's description about women in general. I reproduce some of the quotes below which I used in my post, 

One should not place trust in rivers, animals with horns, armed ones, women or in ruling families.

Women are fickle minded. He also says 'Only women could speak falsehood'

Untruthfulness, rashness, guile, stupidity, avarice, uncleanliness and cruelty are women's seven natural flaws.

Fire, water, women, fool, snake and the royal family, beware of all these, they can prove fatal.

Courtesy should be learned from princes, the art of conversation from pundits, lying from gamblers and deceitful ways from women. 

So these people were there trying to tell me that how all these above sentences actually describe qualities of women in general and so called good women who don't have above characteristics are exceptions (as every rule has some exceptions) and so on (read those comments if you have time, they are interesting and clearly show strong prejudice against women all over the world). The whole discussion continued for long time (and still going one) and some people even posted some links about couple of TV serials which were based on Chanakya's life (which I already watched before) but their whole point was Chanakya was a genius, he was greatest teacher India ever produced therefore "nothing" which he said can be wrong and everything should be accepted as it is. Some person even said that there is some logic behind why Vedas (but never bothered to explain what logic) and Chanakya are against women independence, below is the actual comment, reproduced as it is, please gnore the minor typos or English (even my English is not that great)..

""Again you don't understand it. Its not the Women, Its the woman in the position as MOTHER you can trust. Same woman which can be trusted as mother always cannot be trusted as any other role may be( like wife). May be c is untruthful wife but always loving mother.
Man you need a brain to understand what he really wants to say. Vedic Culture not only Chanakys is against Women independence. You know why ? Precious things are not kept independent. When they have it they become cheap. What is happening to women is the Side effect of women liberation. Women are precious to us. Hence respected. But when they Show characteristics of a women not a slut. As its said Nariyal chahe kitna bhi bada ho uski jagah dali ke niche hai." 

(translation of last line which is in Hindi is, "No matter how big coconut is, its place is always below the branch")

One can clearly see what is the mindset of people who are trying to defend these views, look at the sentences which I highlighted, too much emphasis on women's sexual conduct, address them as "precious things" which can not be left independent and finally the conclusion that no matter how big they become they will be always bellow men (that proverb mentioned in comment and many other proverbs like that are still used regularly to convey this disgusting message to women). These people still like to live in medieval period of male superiority and believe me there are millions who think like this, not only in India but all over the world, what we see in comments section of this post is just a small subset of educated people, who even after learning so much (academically), experiencing outside world have such views then just imagine about other people who don't even get this chance (but sometimes they are better than so called educated class). 

The strange but not that surprising was few women who overwhelmingly defended these comments and theories, very ideal example of Stockholm syndrome (defined as a psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and sympathy, they have positive feelings toward their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them). My friend Anila explained to me very nicely why some women are defending such statements by comparing it with Stockholm syndrome, I quote her comment from my Facebook wall "in this case the kidnapper is a crippling ideology, and it is so well indoctrinated that the very subjects of abuse (or suppression) become the most powerful voices in favor of it". I totally agree with her, the effect of this ideology is so strong on people that they don't see anything wrong in it, just because some famous personality like Chanakya said these things they think that it has to be right, for centuries this was hammered on people's mind and now it has become a belief system. Chanakya was genius of his time in various fields like politics, governance or economics, so they all think how can he be wrong about women? People just just believe him blindly and many other so called famous people's all statements and propagate such backward views just because they were made by some famous personality. Most of these people's major complaint or objection is who am I to object great genius Chanakya's views? He was great so a common man like me can not even question him, this mindset is very prevalent in Indian society and after reading some of the comments I can see that other countries are also not far behind. They don't like to see some one questioning their idols which they worship and adore. If someone points out a small dark spot on sun then these people accuse that person of calling sun useless, that's the logic they use but I don't agree with these. Questioning and healthy debate are most important pillars of human civilization and many people are dam against them specially when their own faith and belief are questioned.

Women liberation or real feminist movement started very recently (many be in late 19th century in western world) and in such a short time (considering thousands of years they lived under male dominated society) they have achieved tremendous progress in every field where they got opportunity, but it seems this is not enough for some people they want woman Chanakya, Vyas, Newton or something like that to believe that women are equal to men, I want to tell these people that just give them some time this will also come. Some people always read and see what they want to read and see, no matter how successful women are in every field they will always point to women who are still struggling to come out of years of suppression and abuse and try to prove their point that they can't compete with men, it's so sad and pathetic.

I hope these people who are thinking like this open their eyes (or someone helps them in this process) and see the real world outside where women are excelling in each and every field, they are achieving new heights, setting up high standards wherever they get the opportunity. I hope that some of these women who believe in very stereotyped description of women also learn to believe in their own capabilities and they should stop considering themselves as weaker sex and also stop believing that they are inferior to men in any apsect (which was hammered on their minds for centuries). I know that it's very difficult to change peoples opinion but still I tried because we need to confront these people wherever we meet them because these are the people who give shelter to such ideologies, harvest them, propagate them and practice them and we should try our best to stop this.

Thanks for reading and please share your views on this topic.

(Copyright : Vinay Thakur. Please contact the author for re-posting or publishing)

2. When the bird starts loving its cage


  1. I admire the simplicity with which you present your ideas. I was introduced to your blog by Snehal and I have read through many of the articles and watched some of your videos. One of the things I found quite different in your writings is that, you do away with the technical/political jargons which are very common in the writings of most o the intellectuals, esp. academicians, so it sounds very fresh. However, at some places I felt that your analysis is more on a philosophical level and you are doing away with a more political economy based analysis. But, overall it was quite interesting. I assume you are still at Yale. I live in Rocky Hill, CT. If things permit, maybe we can meet sometime. My e-mail address is

    1. Thanks Gunjan for your comment, I really appreciate your kind words. I wrote my blog to convey my thoughts and ideas to common people like me who understand very simple English and that's why don't use much technical or any other jargons, the blog is not about nay language so the beauty of language is not an issue here but the topics and social issues are important and I hope after reading my blog readers at least think about thee issues seriously.

      Please feel free to comment wherever you feel I am going too much into philosophy and we can discuss, your comments and suggestions will definitely add more value to blog and also will help to improve myself.

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