Millennium Post

On the rape tool

There is little to say about Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Pal’s clarion call to his cadre to go and rape rival party’s women except to condemn it unequivocally. Pal, a TMC Member of Parliament from Krishnanagar, betrayed the same old misogyny that Indian politics has not yet grown tired of, repeating the same old trope of using rape as a political and institutional tool to extract vendetta, break opposition and dissent and ensure the deeper status quo of men’s uncontested power over women. That the previous Left Front government in Bengal had ritually resorted to rape tactics of course does not dilute the enormity and depravity of the utterance that Pal blurted out in public two weeks back at a rally to enthuse party workers. His written apology to CM Mamata Banerjee would fall woefully short of the standards that the nation-builders had set for our parliamentarians, which was, to begin with, non-sexist, non-prejudiced and non-violent.

Though we understand that TMC supremo and the state CM Banerjee does not endorse either Pal’s warped worldview or his inciting of violence and condoning rape culture, the fact of the matter is Pal is hardly the black sheep in this herd. In this wolf pack, rapists and rape endorsers unfortunately throng the legislative houses of this country. Some say ‘boys will be boys’, some romanticise stalking, some think rapes happen to loose women, some consider rapes are valid tools of war. However, even the most educated and liberal amongst us at times think reparative rape is fine if unleashed in the great cause of social churn, or to strike back at centuries of structural violence. Evidently, whether it’s Badaun or Krishnanagar, it’s the woman’s body on which the body politick plays itself out.
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