In 1955-56, I visited Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Agra, and New Delhi as a member of a dance troupe. Wherever we danced, Indian dancers danced for us and I was swept away by the most advanced dance art on earth. it was Indian Independence Day when we arrived in New Delhi, and we saw a great parade that included dances by more than 30 cultures. In the Adjanta Caves, we saw the treasured carvings of an ancient civilization, in Agra, stood in awe before the Taj Mahal, were aware that this was the venerable civilization that had produced Mahatma Ghandi.
But today India, now a great power, has seen its epic history muddied by an unspeakably vicious rape/murder, followed by the revelation that Delhi is one of the most virulently anti-woman cities of India. The crime exposed a deep hatred and fear of women, expressed by a young man who complained that educated women are taking men’s jobs. It echoes what I heard here in the aftermath of WW-II, when women were expected to relinquish their war-time management and factory jobs to return to kitchens and nurseries.
No American can be self-righteous vis-a-vis India. Our recent presidential campaign exposed our own women-hating men, men who cannot accept women out from behind male shadows. The jejune delusions of ex-politicians, Todd Akin, Richard Mourdock, and Joe Walsh, cannot be laughed off, because thousands of similarly benighted voters put them in office and have not suddenly lost their fear and hatred of women. Those beating the drum for American exceptionalism, close eyes and minds to our own poisoned well of backwardness.
India, with four times our population, must start to deal with its savage backward males. Swift and severe punishment of the perpetrators is the merest first step.