Hush it up – stoic silence is our ‘culture’
An Indian diplomat in Britain punched his diplomat wife in the face with such force that she bled like a pig and almost fell down the stairs. What do you think was the reaction of the Indian High Commissioner to this? The usual Indian reaction to ‘home trouble’. Hush it up. Sweep it under the carpet. Don’t make a scene. Forgive and forget. Married couples always make up. These things happen.
Yes, basically he told his employee Paromita Verma not to make a fuss about her husband’s human rights violation on her person, to remain quiet or quietly leave the country. ‘Poor’ Anil Verma, the ‘victim’ of his awful wife’s tales was given the courage to tell this bleeding woman ( “can you believe she objected to her pati dev beating her??? Tut tut, whatever is the world coming to? Modern women will do just anything…”) that he, as a diplomat had diplomatic immunity from the British police. The British police would have locked up any other man for beating his wife to pulp – but since Anil Verma is a gentleman of a higher order ( a diplomat, no less) he must be protected.
The behaviour of Paromita Verma’s husband Anil and her boss the High Commissioner, alarmed her to such an extent that she is seeking asylum in Britain. I don’t blame her at all. Her own country will certainly not support her. Even as enlightened and educated a being as a High Commissioner advised her to sweep the matter under the carpet. She fears for her life. And she is not being paranoid. That is the reality of the situation.
The incident is a telling comment on the state of affairs behind the closed doors of many marriages. I’m surprised that there is such a public outcry about it because this is a very commonplace incident.
We have been pretending to ourselves that ‘these things’ happen only in slums and villages. Thank you Paromita for making it crystal clear to the whole world that these things happen everywhere in India. Even in educated and upper class homes, where nobody who hears it is surprised, there is even a whole system that swings into place with avuncular older men stepping in to ‘persuade’ the woman to swallow.
And why do they happen? Because women are ‘encouraged’ (browbeaten, arm twisted, threatened) not to ruin a man’s career with something as small and unimportant as wife beating. What are a few slaps in the face of a man’s career? Honestly, how selfish can you get?
Well hats off to you Paromita for being ‘selfish’. I for one am immensely proud of you. And I hope many other women come forward, like you, to shout out their abuse from the roof tops. Thank you Paromita Verma for giving these women a voice. And the louder women shout, the less courage those louts and cowards will have to raise their fists and voices against us.