We live in such strange times. People all over the world are staying inside their houses fearing COVID but in India we have some ‘farmers’ camping out of their houses, far away from their villages and towns, in the Capital city of India – Delhi. They claim to be doing it to protest against a Bill passed in the Parliament. Exactly a year back we saw such scenes in the same city, but then it was women camping in the open against another Bill which was passed in the same Parliament. It is a wonderful, living proof of the existence of Democracy in this country. But more than that it is a display of the similarities and differences between men and women; it is a fit case for observation of human behaviour and manipulation of people and their sentiments.

When the Shaheen Bagh camping took place, it was the women who were protesting. They protested day and night, but they took turns in protesting. Most of the women were from the same city and made it a point to return home after their replacement came to the tent. They went home to finish all their activities at home (cooking, bathing, washing clothes, cleaning the house, etc.) and then came back to do their duty protests. As women carry the burden of looking after the children in the house, the protesting women came with their children, some with children who were still being breastfed. In fact an infant had a tragic death because of being exposed to the cold winter weather. The women also take responsibility of cooking and hence one saw the protesting women only cooking also at the protest campsite. Since women like simple food, one saw only staple food like biryani and chai being provided to the protesters. Very importantly, women love to entertain themselves and so they only sang and danced and entertained themselves. There were no permanent fixtures at the campsite and the electric expenses too were bare minimal. The women had to bring themselves and their children to the campsite on their own; no transport, fancy cars, tractors, etc. were put into action. The money they reportedly earned in the protest of course went to the family kitty, since women think ‘family first’. All in all, one could say that women were employed to protest at a minimum expenditure to cause maximum trouble to the government. There was one casualty however – some people viciously spread rumours that the menfolk of these women pleasured themselves with other, unknown women at the time that these women stayed in the protest camps, giving rise to many family squabbles in the participating families.

This farmers’ protest has “MEN” written all over. Men are such wonderful creatures, lording over everything they see and everywhere they go. They love being brash, noisy and choosy. They hate cleaning up after them and love bathing in the open. Since they earn, they love spending it on themselves as a right. So their protest site also displays all these features. Loud and brash, the ‘farmers’ have come in their fancy cars, SUVs, tractors and trucks. Each beast is bigger than the other. And since they can handle all problems on their own, they haven’t brought any family member, especially children, along. They don’t need anyone to back them up! Not for them is the one huge cloth tent with some blankets thrown in here and there. No! They have comfortable tents with beds and warm blankets provided for each and every protester. In fact, since they are men, they have foot massagers provided at the campsites because men feel more tired when they stand for long. There’s no child who’s going to face a tragic death in this cold for sure! Obviously it is wrong to expect the men to cook for themselves and hence, they have cooks specially catering to the food requirements of the protesters. And do they have a spread – There’s biryani, pizzas, rotis, sweet delicacies and everything you might imagine. After all, “the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”. And since one needs something to drink to wash off the food, truckloads of alcohol have made their way again and again in Gandhiji’s country’s capital. Entertainment is an important feature of every man’s life and hence complete entertainment with music, live bands, even ‘escorts’ have been provided to the tired/bored protesters. And today there was a video of a whole road being divided with a wall of bricks and cement, so that the vehicles passing by the road do not disturb the sleeping protesters or their privacy. How considerate! Oh, if you are wondering how they are going to earn while in protests, don’t bother – their womenfolk are handling the fields and all the work to be done there. In fact, I really feel that the womenfolk must be ‘enjoying’ in the villages and towns without their bossy men being around. Definitely this farmers’ protest must have made a dent in the pockets of the organizer of the protests, not like the women’s protest in Shaheen Baug last year.

In case you are looking for a similarity – there is one – protesters of both protests were fooled into believing that these protests were about protecting their interests and that of the Nation.

Naxalites, Communists, Leftists, Feminists and all your friends – please let us know whether the above differences in the treatment to protesting Men and Women are because of Brahminical Patriarchy practiced by Hindus.

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