Ram Kadam Proves That India Still Doesn’t Understand Consent

Gender

Ram Kadam Proves That India Still Doesn’t Understand Consent

Illustration: Arati Gujar

“N

o” is a simple enough word for people to understand. It’s a sharp, monosyllabic report that makes its meaning very clear – halt whatever you’re doing, I disagree. It’s one of the first words we learn as infants, and its character barely changes across languages – no, nahi, nyet, nein. Why then, as we grow older, do we fail to comprehend its message, especially when it comes to matters of consent?

In India, consent is an imported concept. It’s as alien to our culture as live-in relationships and short skirts, and viewed through the same denigrating lens. It’s something to be scoffed at and brushed aside – especially if you’re inclined to listen to people like BJP MLA Ram Kadam. At a dahi handi event held in Mumbai this week, the elected official announced to all the men in attendance that he was available to kidnap any girl who refused their proposals, and deliver her to them. Before I’m accused of oversimplifying his words, let me clarify that he did attach a rider to the offer – if the wannabe dulha’s parents gave their blessings to the union, the kidnapping would proceed as planned.

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