Dr. Kakar concludes by writing that the Western sexual excesses of television channels, video films and the Internet websites which ‘we’ are in the process of aping are perversions of individualism, not its essence.
The article is very well written and is a must read for those who are puzzled by the excesses and aggressiveness towards ordinary Indian women. But this is true in microscopic sense and ignores the macroscopic realities. In particular, it ignores distributions and statistics. Sure, Indians are aping the Western culture but then what is the alternative? The most important point for Indians and even for many others is the socio-economic-political stability of India.
India matters not only for South Asians but for Asia and beyond. Up to average urban middle classes, India is practically a free society in Asian sense and even rural India may want to imitate the urban ones if the time and context is appropriate. Indians do not have much inhibition for imports and that is their strongest point. Till date, Indians have not developed any major theory other than the caste system. Therefore, in this increasingly competitive and selfish world, imports and aping may be right defense mechanism for a huge mass of 1.2 billion people.
If Indians as people and India as state do not ape the West then they may loose grand opportunity. They will be lagging behind in this ever increasingly connected world. This is not true from only economic point of view but also from social and psychological point of view. It is very difficult for Indians to lower down the rate of procreation as many in even Indian government believe in demographic dividends. This is free for all irrespective of his or her identity. In increasing populated society which is largely based on inputs from others, if one bans imports then not only it takes away economic opportunities but also dreams, fantasies and even hopes.
Hopes, dreams and fantasies are as important as tangible economic variables and parameters. This is true that a woman’s individuality should be respected and her dress, language and behavior should be accepted by majority of urban people but then desire is a two way thing. Females also get attracted by males and sex, unless and until it satisfies both, is a kind of repression. There is nothing wrong in objectification of females as males are also objectified. Only thing is that females do not have equal buying power. Once females have ‘equal’ buying power or close to that, the more males would become object of desires and even middle class independent females would like them objectified.
The equal world is the best world though it exists only in fiction and in one’s imagination. But equal world on earth, particularly in India, would be as aggressive sexually as an unequal world is. Only thing is that crimes against women would decrease and those against men would increase. As far as females being objects of desires outside relational context is concerned one should look again at statistics. At many places India is very liberal and very just society. Sure, this is truer for privileged people than for unprivileged or underprivileged people. But then all societies have their own time to mature. Economic upliftment would increase liberalism in sexual matters too. In absence of any dominant theories and ideologies it is but natural for part-Caucasian Indians to adopt the Western theories externally without understanding their essence and it may be majorly responsible for violence against women in India. But the bright day would come one day.
It needs to emphasized that this is the Age of Light; Satyuga, and not the Age of Darkness; Kaliyuga as claimed by pundits. India has since its inception adopted adult universal suffrage. It provides affirmative actions and subsidies to weaker sections and provides everyone an opportunity to excel. Therefore, it is progressing towards the right path and age-old biases and prejudices are beginning to melt down though statistically this may not be very encouraging.
But one thing needs to be remembered that Indians are not Western nor will they ever be. Neither psychology is universal. Freudian theory of psychology may not be fit to explain and analyze behavior of all humans on globe. Once again there is nothing wrong in fantasizing or objectifying females, what is wrong is losing control over temporal hormonal impulses. Even in the West many males view females outside their relational contexts as objects of desire though the sex is very much liberal there and violence against females is very low.
Males in India as well as females need to be provided with psycho-therapies but in their respective social contexts. Males need to learn to foreplay and afterplay and females need to learn to enjoy them. Both genders need to learn to caress each other in all of their situations. Discrimination against females should first end inside homes. Females need to be fed well and they should get appropriate education and job opportunities. Dr. Kakar is wrong when he puts a question whether an Indian woman is a person. She is on many occasions but she is not on many too.
To shift the balance towards healthier social relations people like Dr. Kakar need to write a local theory, not influenced much by Western thinking. Even Dr. Kakar and his likes would take time so would Indian society. To be fair to Indian men, females are as much responsible for discrimination against females. Moreover, Indian females are hardly lesbians. The society should never be divided in a binary manner.