Tag Archives: violence



    Masculinity is at the root of Male Violence. When boys are shamed out of their emotional vulnerability they often grow up as aggressors vis-a-vis women. The number of people killed on 9/11 was a pathetic day of male violence. It was almost identical to the number of women murdered by their male partners that year in the US. In one case there was an aggressive military response that changed the world politics. In the other case, it was life as usual. In the subject book, the British literary scholar and cultural critic Jacqueline Rose, examines, the thrust for and experience of violence, especially against women.  She explores and examines the nature of this violence against women and its deep roots. The title draws generously on literature, psychoanalysis and philosophy to show the male fragility at the centre of male violence.    

    Rose sees patriarchal violence at the intersection of many forms of violence – the ‘impotence of bigness’ and fraud of masculinity which is at work for many authoritarian leaders around the world, and their ardent followers.

The author discovers an erotic charge, an obscene pleasure in the license to violence.     No man comfortably possesses masculinity, and it is this discomfort, with one’s own human vulnerability that raises its head as the delusion of mastery, as contempt for weakness. The effects of this brutality are baked into how some men act. The book deals with the trafficking of women, with rape as a weapon of war, and the surge of domestic violence during the pandemic, with the connection between racial brutality and violence against women. As Rose puts it, “reckoning with the violence of the heart and fighting violence in the world are inseparable.”     

Many forms of supremacist thinking, domination and hierarchy are linked to it. But men are not the sole problem. The problem is our collective investment in masculinity as superiority and prowess. Men and women both internalise patriarchy because we live within that system, even when, both men and women can resist it.     In The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity and Love, the activist and thinker Bell Hooks explored how we can get past the logic of predator and the prey, and imagine partnerships rooted in mutuality.

Warfare and aggressive masculinity are mutually reinforcing, and it’s no accident that the slogan ‘make love, not war’ took off in the US at a time when men were most conscious of the need to resist patriarchal masculinity.     In dominator cultures, family are no safe haven: intimate violence and dysfunction stalk us at our homes and haunt us across generations. It is vital to resist this logic in families, schools, sports teams and military units. Everywhere boys are indoctrinated into manhood that denies them emotional wholeness. Boys are shamed out of their emotional vulnerability, and they cover up this suffering with rage, with the mask of masculinity. The violence they enact later mirrors the early violence done to their own selves.  

   Challenging patriarchy means changing the images that make up our imagination. Mass media and popular culture can show us more affirming models of male identity. It may seem disturbing at first, but both women and men can learn to redefine strength. Men could see how systematic male privilege blocks the truth about themselves and the world. They could intervene in other men’s misogynist behaviour and challenge their own. By reclaiming and redefining masculinity, men and women can find their way to equality and mutuality.

Casting a wide net, the author considers sexual predation and harassment; violence against transgender women, including by feminists who engage in “the coercive violence of gendering”; violence depicted in literary fiction; South Africa, where a woman is murdered every three hours and Cape Town is known as the rape capital of the world; and violence against migrant women and children. Although Rose focuses mainly on male violence, she argues that violence is not inherent in masculinity, and she takes issue with feminists who see women “solely or predominantly as the victims of their histories.” Nevertheless, she calls sexual harassment “the great male performative, the act through which a man aims to convince his target not only that he is the one with the power, which is true, but also that his power and his sexuality are one and the same thing.” Though she does not believe “that all women are at risk from all men,” she concedes “that a woman does not say she is scared of a man without cause and that when she does so, we must listen.” Drawing on Freudian psychoanalytic theory, Rose sees violence as “part of the psyche,” characterizing violent behaviour as “a crime of the deepest thoughtlessness.”

It is a sign that the mind has brutally blocked itself. Feminists, she asserts, must reckon with “the extraordinary, often painful and mostly overlooked range of what the human mind is capable of.” Like Hannah Arendt (German born American historian), Rose sees violence as “a form of entitlement” inflamed by “illegitimate and/or waning power.” The abuse of refugees and asylum seekers, for example, reflects “the violence of colonial expansion” as well as a “fight to preserve the privilege of the few against the many.”

It’s an intellectually probing analysis.

By Kamlesh Tripathi




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Short stories, Book reviews and Articles published in Bhavan’s Journal: 1. Reality and Perception, 15.10.19; 2. Sending the Wrong Message, 31.5.20; 3. Eagle versus Scholars June, 15 & 20 2020; 4. Indica, 15.8.20; 5. The Story of King Chitraketu, August 31 2020; 6. Breaking Through the Chakravyuh, September 30 2020. 7. The Questioning Spouse, October 31, 2020; 8. Happy Days, November 15, 2020; 9. The Karma Cycle of Paddy and Wheat, December 15, 2020; 10. Power Vs Influence, January 31, 2021; 11. Three Refugees, March 15, 2021; 12. Rise and Fall of Ajatashatru, March 31, 2021; 13. Reformed Ruler, May 15, 2021; 14. A Lasting Name, May 31, 2021; 15. Are Animals Better Teachers?, June 16, 2021; 16. Book Review: The Gram Swaraj, 1.7.21; 17. Right Age for Achievements, 15.7.21; 18. Big Things Have Small Beginnings, 15.8.21; 19. Where is Gangaridai?, 15.9.21; 20. Confront the Donkey Within You 30.9.21; 21. Know Your Strengths 15.10.21; 22. Poverty 15.11.21; 23. Top View 30.11.21; 24. The Bansuriwala 15.1.22; 25. Sale of Alaska 15.2.22; 26. The Dimasa Kingdom 28.2.22; 27. Buried Treasure 15.4.22; 28. The Kingdom of Pragjyotisha 30.4.22; 29. Who is more useful? 15.5.22; 30. The White Swan from Lake Mansarovar 30.6.22; 31. Bhool Bhulayya 15.9.22; 32. Good Karma 30.9.22; 33. Good name vs Bad Name 15.10.22; 34. Uttarapath—The Grand Trunk Road 1.12.22; 35. When Gods Get Angry 1.1.23; 36. Holinshed’s Chronicles 15.1.23; 37. Theogony 15.2.23








    By Kamlesh Tripathi

    three tests 2 three tests three tests1

    Maharishi Vashist was a renowned Mahatma. Many people from far of places used to come to him for help and guidance in education and spiritual knowledge. One day a visitor who had come to see him said, ‘Maharishi I have heard a lot about your spiritual powers. I want to learn Brahma-gyan (complete-knowledge) from you, so kindly bless me with the knowledge.

    On hearing this all the shisyas (pupils) who were present there started smiling sarcastically thinking it was not all that simple as they too were at the service of the Maharishi with the same objective for years now. Maharishi heard the request and peacefully said, ‘sure! I will definitely pay attention to your request but for that you need to first do tapasya (intense meditation) for a year, and after completing that come to me. The Bhakt (disciple) turned visitor was extremely happy considering the spiritual knowledge that some people couldn’t attain all their lives was now going to come to him in a year. And assimilating Maharishi’s advice he left the place happily for his mission when all other pupils out there looked stunned.

    After completion of a year the Bhakt came back to the ashram and along with other visitors he was waiting to meet the Maharishi. But while he was waiting one pupil who was carrying litter in a basket slipped and fell and the entire litter fell on him. This enraged the Bhakt and he bashed up the shishya for dirtying him. Later he met the Maharishi who then smiled and said, ‘son you have failed in your first test.’ Shunning violence is the first lesson of Brahma-gyan. Your entire tapasya has gone for a waste but I will still give you one more opportunity. Go and perform tapsya for one more year and then come back to me.’

    The Bhakt was quite dejected. But obeying the command of the Maharishi was his duty so he left for the second round of tapsya for a year. After a year he returned again, but as ill luck would have it this time one servant by mistake poured dirty water that drenched and dirtied his clothes.

    Although, the visitor remembered and regretted what he had done last time, he did not beat up the servant but he reprimanded him nice and proper. Later he met the Maharishi and complained about the servant and conveyed to him of the incompetence and indiscipline in the ashram.

    Maharishi said, ‘son again this time you have not succeeded in your exams, because to shun anger, should be the second biggest step towards your objective where you’ve failed. So again your tapasya has gone for a waste. But I will give you one last chance. Go back and perform your tapasya for another year.’

    This time the Bhakt was filled with repentance and gloom and started doubting if he really required this Brahmya-gyan for the journey of his life. But since he didn’t want to cross the Maharishi, he again set himself out for the tapasya and after a year he returned again. This time also by an unfortunate chance the dustbin of the kitchen in the ashram fell on him.

    But, the surprising part this time was neither did the Bhakt get angry nor hassled on the contrary he cheerfully started helping the shishya who was carrying the dustbin to clean up the place; and he didn’t even mention about it to the Maharishi. And some other pupil informed the Maharishi about this incident.

    When the Maharishi met the Bhakt he smiled and said to him, ‘all the three tests were taken at my behest. And I’m happy this time you’ve cleared your test and now you are heading towards your objective. Now you are away from anger, violence and hate. Your mind is filled with love, trust and kindness. My best wishes are with you.’

    Upon hearing this the Bhakt fell on Maharishi’s feet and offered his pranam and thereafter he very happily left; so happy that he didn’t even enquire about Brahma-gyan. Rest of the shisyas were dazed at this behaviour of the Bhakt. They enquired from the Maharishi; the objective with which he came to the ashram was not even fulfilled so how could he leave before that.

    Maharishi very politely said, ‘any person who is peaceful about himself and the world and trusts his Guru completely and who has love for mankind need not run after Brahma-gyan. In fact Brahma-gyan will run after him. A righteous person gets knowledge and wisdom even from the best wishes of his Guru.

    This story tells us how we can obtain Brahma-gyan without running after it.