men of india

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As the last figure disappeared into the darkest depth
Brandishing his turban’s trail.
A war cry resounded against the garden’s weathered walls.
A most valiant brand of men, lay resurrected in spirit of a nation
that readied itself to wreck its shackles;
Readied itself for the glory, the upheaval for

“The Mutiny 1919”

Shantanu and Nikhil | Men’s Couture FW 2016

Who wants to hop in?

You know what I want to see more of?

I want to see more Indian men unabashedly praise Indian women.

I want to see more Indian men take pride in Indian women’s unbreakable strength, dedication, and dignity.

I want to see more Indian men defend the Indian women who bravely choose to wear cultural attire and ornaments despite possible backlash.

I want to see more Indian men noisily applaud Indian women who speak their mother-tongues in foreign lands.  

I want to see more Indian men wholeheartedly encourage Indian women who pour their hearts and souls into their passions.

I want to see more Indian men extol the virtues of Indian women who value unwavering loyalty to their families, their partners, and themselves. 

I want to see more Indian men roar with fiery rage when Indian women are assaulted, abused, raped, and murdered.

I want to see more Indian men bluntly shut down attempts to degrade, objectify, and mock Indian women.

I want to see more Indian men vocally protest when Indian women are robbed of their cultural wealth by those who trivialize and commercialize it.

I want to see more Indian men engage in discussions about using their privilege to build a safer, kinder, more humane world for Indian women.

I want to see more Indian men recognize the deep potential that lies within daughters who will one day become powerful, radiant Indian women.

I want to see more Indian men shamelessly brag about the timeless, mesmerizing beauty of Indian women.

I want to see more Indian men respect Indian women for the humans that they are.

I want to see more Indian men honor Indian women for the goddesses that they are.

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100 Years of Beauty Men: India

The upper-caste Hindu male world also often perceived the Dalit woman’s body as flagrantly sexual, distinct from the emerging ideology of chastity of the high caste woman. Crass representations of abundant and questionable sexuality of the Dalit female were set apart from the chaste demeanor of upper-caste female body. A large section of upper-caste men in their reformist writings identified Dalit women as shameless and prostitutes (65). In the orientalist reportage, the dependent status of unclean menial groups was defined by superior landed people in terms of the sexual availability of their womenfolk (66). Dalit women were supposed to live in temporary marriages, have questionable sexual morals, and divorce frequently.

The Dalit female body was both at the same time—repulsive and desirable, untouchable and available, reproductive and productive. Sexual exploitation of Dalit women was an everyday fact, which was often expressed in terms of the alleged “loose” character of Dalit women themselves. 

The fact that most Dalit women were active in the non-segregated work force, and worked as agricultural laborers along with men, exacerbated their sexualized identity in the eyes of upper-caste publicists and reformists. Thus a tract stated: If you look at the personal life of many of these lowly and laborer women who work around our household, then you too will say along with us that 80 out of 100 of these women have extremely degenerate characters. Even the census reports state that many of these women laborers are actually prostitutes in reality. Many of the women peddlers who sell things or sit in shops proclaim their lewd behavior loudly. Only 2 out of every 1000 such women can be said to have a chaste character (68).

Fear was expressed of sexual liaisons between upper-caste men and outcaste women. Upper-caste women were asked to ensure that their men kept away from them. While criticizing men for their frivolous nature, bias against outcaste women was also evident. One stated: The licentious tendencies of men are very much visible in the public spaces—on streets, roads, narrow lanes, markets, fairs and festivals … They will not talk with their wife at home, but will laugh and talk with the outside female sweeper, who comes to clean the bathrooms or streets. They will flirt with the bangle seller and the Chamar woman on the street, completely neglecting their wife. Women need to be cautious of the dirty nature of their husbands and beware of these women (69).

—  CHARU GUPTA // Writing Sex and Sexuality: Archives of Colonial North India