Edited by- Jai Kalra
It starts with a Basic English sentence:
"Dushasan stripped Draupadi."
Dushasan is the subject, stripped is the verb, Draupadi is the object, good sentence. Now we're going to move to the second sentence, which says the same thing in the passive voice.
"Draupadi was stripped by Dushasan."
And now a whole lot has happened in one sentence.
We've gone from "Dushasan stripped Draupadi" to "Draupadi was stripped by Dushasan."
We've shifted our focus in one sentence from Dushasan to Draupadi, and you can see Dushasan is very close to the end of the sentence, well, close to dropping off the map of our psychic plane. Close to completely forgetting about him.
In the third sentence, Dushasan is dropped, and now we have,
"Draupadi was stripped," and now it's all about Draupadi.
We're not even thinking about Dushasan, it's totally focused on Draupadi.
Draupadi is a woman whose sanctity has been punctured because she was stripped.
So now Draupadi's very identity (i.e. “Draupadi is an undignified woman”) is what was done to her by Dushasan in the first instance. But we've demonstrated that Dushasan has long ago left the conversation.
The pushing out of Dushasan from the psychic plane results in a classic case of victim blaming. It is said that stories form our ideologies and fundamental principles. It is only natural that when I sat down to write this article, I approached my mother to ask her “Who stripped Draupadi?” This brings to light that since time immemorial we have concentrated on the victim but have conveniently forgotten about the monster Dushasan who made Draupadi an ‘undignified woman’.
This is all unconscious. The mental structure of every individual is set up to ask questions about women and women's choices: what they're doing, thinking and wearing. I'm not going to shout down people who ask questions about women. It's a legitimate thing to ask, but let's be clear: Asking questions about Draupadi is not going to get us anywhere in terms of preventing violence.
The questions NEED to be ABOUT Dushasan and NOT Draupadi.
We owe it to young men who are growing up all over the world, in situations where they didn't make the choice to be a man, in a misogynistic culture that tells them that manhood is a certain way. They didn't make the choice. We, the privileged and the aware, have to take the onus upon ourselves to teach the lessons of moral integrity to young ones all over the world.
The Land of unlimited goddesses has to stand up for what is right and start today.