ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Men and Their Lakshman Rekha

An important feature of the recent protests against rape has been the public debate on masculinities. What does it mean to be a "man"? How is this identity of "man" created and sustained? What is its function in our social relations? These questions have suddenly been foregrounded and open a door to addressing a crucial aspect of patriarchy and injustice.

The spontaneous outburst of protests in Delhi and several cities across India by mostly young people after the gruesome gang rape of the 23-year-old student and the assault on her male friend have quite unexpectedly opened up the can of worms that goes in the name of masculinity. Unlike most other instances of rape, this particular assault has generated a range of opinions and writings that are going beyond the immediate perpetrators of the heinous crime to locate the reasons for a larger malaise, with the focus being on men and their relationship with violence. The horrific incident seems to have unleashed a collective catharsis that has forced open doors that otherwise remain tightly closed.

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