HYDERABAD: Even before Ravan dahan ended and Diwali, which celebrates triumph of good over evil, has begun, a wicked WhatsApp and Facebook forward about ‘Do you think Ravana is really evil’ is making the rounds online. The ‘joke’ forward portraying Ravan in a soft light got women’s rights activists up in their arms. Meanwhile, a Hyderabadi woman gave a befitting answer to the same, point by point, blow by blow, which is getting the thumbs-up from social media and WhatsApp groups.
Namrata Bhagtani-Sadhvani, a resident of Begumpet, Hyderabad, and an architect by profession who currently works for a city-based website mycity4kids.com slammed the ‘joke’ online, much to the relief of women’s right activists. She asks, “Since when did kidnapping a lady, taking her against her own free will be classified as JUST a “slightly naughty” act?
This means that we’re actually justifying those lakhs of kidnappings of women and girls all over the world as just “slightly naughty” and not downright evil.
This is especially disturbing at a time when we are all trying to seek a change of mindset towards women, in times of rapes and harassment on women, she says.
If they are just kidnapped for a ransom amount also, they are traumatised for life and the event leaves a deep scar on their psyche. Trust me, this is not “slightly naughty”, this is downright evil and a crime of the highest order.”
Justifying ‘good food and shelter’ to the captive woman is like putting an animal in a cage and saying look I am feeding you, housing you and keeping you safe from all predators, you had better enjoy it.” Namrata’s answer was shared across social media websites such as Sayfty.com which fights for women’s rights and gender bias. “Crime is not gender specific, and whether you are an intellectual like Ravan or an uneducated person, taking anyone by force, against their own free will is wrong and is a crime.”
Namrata said that the intent of writing the piece was to encourage everyone to think for a moment before forwarding mindless messages on Whatsapp/Facebook just like this one. “Every time an impressionable mind reads that it’s just “slightly naughty” and “not evil” to take a women by force, that’s the image that’s going to stay in their thoughts, and who knows what kids of crimes it can lead to eventually.”
“People are trying to take negative characters and project them in a positive manner via social media and messaging services like WhatsApp and I think that gives the wrong picture to the people,” asserted A Ramya Kumari, president, Protection for Human Rights Association. “As far as I’m concerned, the minute Raavan kidnapped Sita, he had become evil because by kidnapping her against her own will, it had affected her whole family and also had tremendous implications on her mental state. Therefore, the question of whether Raavan may not be evil arise because by kidnapping Sita, he committed a major sin and justifiying his act even for fun is deplorable,” said Vijaya Reddy, president, She Help Foundation.
The WhatsApp/Facebook forward in the news
“Dear Ravana, every year, on this day, we celebrate the victory of good over evil. But technically, your behaviour should be re-classified from “Evil” to “Slightly Naughty”. After all, tumne kiya hi kya thha? I agree you kidnapped a lady in haste. But after that you gave her more respect we normally give to women in today’s world. You offered her good food, shelter and even women security guards (not too good looking though). Your request for marriage was full of humility and you never threw acids when rejected. Even when Lord Rama killed you. You were wise enough to seek his apologies. I believe you were more educated than half of our Parliament. Trust me dude! There ain’t no hard feelings to burn you. Just that it’s the In-Thing. Respect !!” (sic)