Stereo­typ­ing of In­dian men

Post - - Comment -

MS MOODLEY, your dis­claimer aside with re­gard to your “Open let­ter to In­dian men” in last week’s POST com­pels me to re­spond ac­cord­ingly.

De­spite my aver­sion to racial clas­si­fi­ca­tion, my com­pul­sion to re­spond is seated only in my dis­pute in the man­ner in which you ar­tic­u­lated your “con­scionable” need to make as­ser­tions that I con­sider both parochial and an­tag­o­nis­tic at best.

Hence I would be re­miss if I re­main silent on what I con­sider to be a con­vo­luted, if not obscure, gen­er­al­i­sa­tion and stereo­typ­ing of In­dian men. And no, the cap does not fit!

I re­spect­fully sub­mit that the broad­side against In­dian men that you pur­port is a re­sult of your “ref­er­enced past” and “craft” as a “pub­lished writer” is noth­ing more than scant pal­li­a­tion for an an­ti­quated stereo­type.

Whether you were com­pelled to level your al­le­ga­tions against In­dian men as a re­sult of your “jour­ney of de­pres­sion” or as a re­sult of “mes­sages from bro­ken In­dian women” or In­dian men pur­su­ing you in what I per­ceived to be a las­civ­i­ous man­ner on so­cial me­dia, from your de­scrip­tion thereof, your gen­er­al­i­sa­tions can only be con­strued as mis­chievous.

I con­cede that there are “sto­ries” of abuse across the spec­trum by men on women, and one can­not gain­say such ab­hor­rent acts, but to rel­e­gate the “In­dian” man’s so-called mis­con­duct to a con­se­quence of be­ing raised in homes with “pre­de­fined” roles is an in­dict­ment on the count­less fam­i­lies who have de­fied so­cial norms and or­der to raise their chil­dren, sons and daugh­ters equally, as re­spect­ful hu­man be­ings.

Nat­u­rally, there will be aber­ra­tions and un­ac­cept­able de­vi­a­tions from such acts of good­ness by In­dian par­ents.

The ba­sic con­struct of your ar­gu­ments re­lies on the per­ceived no­tion that many In­dian men were raised to re­press emo­tions, not to cry, to adul­ter­ate the role of women as sub­mis­sives – and that they were raised as misog­y­nists.

How­ever, you have failed to cap­ture the essence of the world we live in. In­dian women have, thank­fully, re­alised that the world has space for their equal­ity, as well as their so­cial and eco­nomic mo­bil­ity, hence dis­pelling gen­er­alised myths of their im­mure­ment as “sec­ond­class” cit­i­zens, “door­mats” and the like.

I hope my view is not con­strued by any man­ner of means as a de­fence of abuse or dis­re­spect­ful be­hav­iour of the “In­dian” man, where ap­pli­ca­ble, but it is per­force an aver­ment of the re­al­i­ties we are con­fronted with in the times in which we live.

NARENDH GANESH

Dur­ban North

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