The Broad Mind | A Modest Proposal

(Regarding the problem with the female species in India)

At present the Preamble to the Constitution of India begins with “WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens…” It goes on to mention terms such as Justice (social, economic and political) Liberty (of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship), Equality (of status and of opportunity) and Fraternity (assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation)

In recent days, many population pockets, (especially the female specie) seem to feel that the terms justice, liberty, equality and fraternity are applicable to the entire Indian population, including them. Apart from statistically proven, high rates of crimes against women (sexual and domestic violence, female foeticide, dowry harassment etc.) simple and daily acts by the citizens ensure that women are discriminated against at a regular pace. A policeman slaps a young girl; another beats up a middle-aged woman. They face social and moral policing, discrimination at work and in even the most evolved of families, the pressures to sign legal contracts between spouses, participate in legal cohabitation and thereof joyful procreation. Despite these regular and intentioned acts of discrimination by most citizens, the female species in India are often in a conundrum, wondering what the problem is, especially given the capital letters in the Preamble to our Constitution, (not to mention every Act of the Constitution) which promises equality, liberty, fraternity etc. to all and serves as the foundation to independent India.

A modest proposal by the author is to include a new term into the Preamble to the Constitution of India, which would ensure that the entire Indian population (including the female specie) understands the country and its guiding principles, as they stand at present. This amendment would solve two problems. One, it would ensure that the female species in the country stop questioning why they are treated in a certain way and formally understand the social principles guiding our society. (It could also maybe ensure the decline in the recent hysterical female rage.) Two, it would formally allow the country to accept its contemporary reality and therefore abandon the schizophrenic attitude (or the exhaustive pretension towards its women) along with narratives on the lines of “women are equal to men” etc. My modest proposal is to insert the term ‘Patriarchy’ into the preamble to the constitution.

The Preamble to the Constitution should then read- “WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC PATRIARCHY and to secure to all its citizens…”

Recently Andhra Pradesh, barred women from clubs, pubs and bars after 10 at night. It also banned those under 21 from such places at any hour. The state Government also issued a notification telling clubs, pubs and bars to ask women customers to leave after 10 PM or face cancellation of their liquor licenses. This move was made after several incidents of drunken women quarreling with auto drivers outside bars and clubs at night.

Because our Constitution at present allows the female species to think that they belong to an equal and free society, many may start to question this move made for the good of the citizens (euphemism for the male specie in India). Many may even argue that since most crimes at night, are committed by men, such stringent deadlines should be made for men and not the female species. Many may even go further and ask for an equal deadline or ban for both the genders. Many may say that men get involved in drunken brawls too; hence they too should be banned from pubs and bars. Some may even question the legality of such a move, posing problems for the state. And if such a move is proven to be undemocratic (which in the present circumstances it is), then the state may be labeled, illogical, irrational, discriminatory, delusional, moronic, misguided, inebriated or worse, guided by imbecile loons.

If the Preamble is amended suitably to insert the term ‘Patriarchy’ then by the Wikipedia definition of patriarchy, the female species will have to accept that India is an “institution of male rule and privilege, and entails female subordination.” The state could then very simply respond to those citizens who feel that such a move is undemocratic and challenges their equality, liberty and fraternity. If we officially declare India a Patriarchy, then special acts and amendments could later be worked upon, to ensure that India formally adopts all the norms of a patriarchal society and keeps the women as the second citizen, (or just another specie in the diverse Indian animal kingdom) they actually are but refuse to accept at present.

Sarah Farooqui is the Assistant Editor of Pragati- The Indian National Interest Review