So how many viral videos, social experiments by YouTube wonders and outraged Twitter updates did you count after Gauhar Khan was slapped on the sets of the reality show she hosted? You have probably lost count. With deep shock at the audacity of the man who walked up to the stage and slapped Khan, people in the country couldn’t fathom why he indeed did something like that. Was he drunk? Was he mentally unstable? Did it not occur to him what consequences he would face for doing something like that?
The answer to all that actually lay in the deep misogynistic streak that runs through the country, irrespective of caste, class and religion. And the knowledge that assaulting a woman wouldn’t necessarily throw you in jail. After all, so many men get away with groping, catcalling, passing lewd remarks in crowded public places. Maybe, the assailant thought, he could slink away in the crowd after hitting Khan.
In a video, that has gone viral in the last couple of days and has garnered nearly 2 lakh likes on YouTube, a young man explains why he thought it was okay to slap Gauhar Khan.
He sums up India’s history of misogyny in just a couple of statements: “Probably, he thought lets beat up a woman today. Who should I beat up? The wife? No, I beat her everyday. So, lets beat her up another woman, maybe a celeb!”
In that one sentence in the two-minute video, Shanu, whose YouTube account is MonsterShanu, sums up the many complications in India’s battle with women’s safety. First, he mentions how domestic violence is something men get away with all the time. He then points out, how that emboldens men such as Khan’s assailants to attack other women.
The best part of the video is that it doesn’t try to sarcastic, it’s not a dramatised, fictional account of sexual violence. It’s conversational, straightforward, spoken in rusty, everyday Hindi, with a smattering of cuss words. Perhaps that’s why it has struck a chord with so many people, who have been sharing it on every social media platform. It calls a spade, a spade.