WORLD
AURAT MARCH MOVEMENT
The slogan 'Mera Jism Meri Marzi' is doing more harm than good
- Markandey Katju
The slogan 'Mera Jism Meri Marzi' is doing more harm than good



I am fully in support of the Aurat March to be held in many cities in Pakistan on 8th March.

I am very modern minded and pro-women. Nevertheless, I must also say that the slogan ‘Mera jism meri marzi’ which some of the organisers/participants have advanced, is a wrong slogan, as it is vague and is liable to be misunderstood, however well intentioned. The slogan is doing more harm than good to the Aurat March movement

On the one hand the slogan can mean, and this meaning is quite acceptable in the India and Pakistan of today (even if it was not acceptable 50 or 75 years ago) that a woman should have the right to decide whom she will marry, and not that her parents will decide this for her (though even here many people will object to an inter caste or inter religious marriage, and some even commit ‘honor killing’ if that happens).

But the slogan can also mean that a girl should have the right to have a live in relationship with a man, to which the vast majority of people in our subcontinent (who are conservative) will socially disapprove, though it is not illegal, and is perfectly acceptable in America or Europe.

And does the slogan ‘Mera Jism Meri Marzi’ include the ‘glass of water theory’?

This theory was propounded by the Russian revolutionary Alexandra Kollontoi (in pic) in her story ‘Three Generations’. In that story there is a character Zhenya, an 18 old year Komsomol member (Komsomol was the Communist Youth organisation), who is a model for the totally emancipated ‘New Woman’ after the Bolshevik Revolution. Zhenya does not think that sex is in any way connected to love.
 
Zhenya lives with two men, gets pregnant by one of them, doesn’t know which, and doesn’t care. "Sex" she says "is like drinking a glass of water to quench one’s thirst".

Lenin strongly criticised the glass of water theory. He said that sex among humans is different from sex among animals, inasmuch it has a cultural aspect to it too, apart from the physical. Ordinarily no woman will give her body to a man unless she loves and respects him, and whom she knows will form a stable relationship with her and take care of her while she is having and raising her children.

I earnestly request the organisers/participants of the Aurat March to publicly admit that the slogan ‘Mera Jism Meri Marzi’ was a wrong slogan, and they are withdrawing it. By doing this they will get much greater support, including support of the conservative section of society, which has been antagonised by the slogan.

 
 

Justice Markandey Katju is former Judge, Supreme Court of India and former Chairman, Press Council of India


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