Ugh: There is a flurry of stories today about the shoddy treatment given Indian women by some Indian men. First comes the story of 22-year-old Monika Rani, an Indian transplant living in Oak Forest, Illinois. Monika's father, Subhash Chander, is charged under arrest for setting fire to Monika's apartment on Saturday, killing her, her 3-year-old son, her husband, and their unborn child. Police and friends of the family believe that the killing was motivated by caste, or class differences — Subhash thought his daughter had married a man beneath their family.

Even though the rigidly hierarchical caste system was outlawed in India 60 years ago, violence based on class differences still occurs. "To go to that other kinship group without being invited is itself a kind of breach and the father would think he was behaving in a way that was kind of humiliating," University of Chicago cultural anthropologist Richard Shweder told CBS News. "It's not hard to see how [Subhash] would just lose it."


Back in Mumbai and Delhi, things aren't particularly cheery for Indian women, either. There has been a rash of public sexual abuse so prevalent that the Hindustan Times has taken to calling it the Mumbai Molestation. In some situations, crowds of 70-odd men have descended upon as few as two women, groping and pinching them. The molesters have very little repercussions, experts tell the paper. According to Dr. Samir Parikh : "The case in point in which a mob attacked two women late in the night proves that the men knew they would not be singled out. Those people were hidden in a mob and by doing something unacceptable they had a big sense of arousal. And when so many people are doing the same thing, they are basically reinforcing into each other that it is okay." Maybe we should get those pink sari-clad female vigilantes, the gulabi gang, from the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh to come to Mumbai and teach the local molesters a thing or two about "okay."

Cops: Arson And Murder, By Way Of India [CBS News]
Mumbai Molestation [Hindustan Times]
What Makes Our Men Do Such Things? [Hindustan Times]


Earlier: Pink Ladies