Cat among pigeons

They thought it was theirs by right. The leadership position that some countries, kingdoms rather, in the middle of the world and leaning towards the direction in which the sun rises, have historically held, in the oppression of women, has come under threat.

The unlikely source of this threat is the “khap panchayat”, that motley union of a few villages, mainly in the northern part of a country not too far away, who come together for attending to the common good of the villages. Good as defined by them.

With a resurgent and creative leadership team, drawing heavily from best-practices implemented by the most successful corporations operating in the country, “khap panchayats” have come up with innovative ideas like blaming women themselves for violent crimes committed against them and banning mobile-phone usage for them, in a bid to wrest supremacy from the kingdoms mentioned earlier. In a demonstration of the vision and far-sightedness of their leadership team, they are hiring the best and brightest from leading business schools in the country, in order to ensure continued progress in the area.

The “khap panchayats” have flourished under successive benevolent, democratic regimes and now seem poised to usurp the position of primary oppressors of women, for long occupied by the kingdoms mentioned earlier.

The leaders of these kingdoms are bristling with anger at this threat and are looking for ways to retain their historical pre-eminence in this area. Apart from a naturally occurring substance drilled from deep inside the earth, oppression of women is one of the few areas where the rest of the world has looked towards them for leadership. They obviously don’t want to give up this leadership position in a hurry.

They have made an effort to discredit the “khap” leadership by questioning their motives. “Historically, all the draconian steps we have taken for oppressing women have been for their own good. What altruistic motives do the “khaps” have?” they have posed openly and asked them to come clean.

Having said that, some of their leaders have, in private, acknowledged the very real threat posed by “khap panchayats” with their creative and disruptive thinking, and have expressed doubts if the world order will ever be restored to its pre-“khap” emergence state. “We may have banned driving for women, we may have not granted them voting rights, we may marry them off at a young age to lecherous men thrice their age, we may prescribe lashes for so much as a sinful thought about unrelated men, but these “khap panchayats” have taken the game to an entirely different level. Their logical reasoning in turning the heat on women and blaming them for violent crimes against themselves indicate the intellectual animal we are up against. And their effective use of modern technology in their efforts at oppression definitely give them an edge. We could never have imagined banning mobile-phone usage”, is a common refrain.

There is total confusion in their ranks.

In a desperate attempt to retain their leadership position, a large country in the area has decided to take the challenge of the khap panchayats head-on. They have decided to turn the wheel full circle in a bid to throw the khaps panchayats off balance.

In a recent development, the country has appointed women to the previously all-male Consultative Council, marking a historic first. The decree gives women a twenty percent quota in the Council, a body appointed by the king to advise him on policy and legislation.

In view of the importance of these positions, the women will be carefully selected. Care will be taken to ensure that they have no history of having expressed, or even held, any form of an opinion, political or otherwise, in all their years. Consent of a male member of their family will be obtained prior to their induction. If an adult male is not available, a male child’s consent would do.

It has been also stipulated that men and women will be segregated inside the Council, with a special area designated for females who will enter through a separate door so as not to mix with their male colleagues. These women will be chaperoned by a male relative whose consent they will seek before giving their view on any bill.

The entire cabinet, which included both the left and right side of the king’s brain, was divided over this proposal.

Rapid change is expected in this country after the introduction of this bill. Women may soon be permitted to brush their teeth of their own free will.

The ruling elite has also been stung by criticism about the unfair and partial treatment meted out to subjects. Recognising the damage it could do to their power, and in a bid to clean-up their image in the eyes of their target population, they have resorted to the use of social media in order to project themselves as a fair and just oppressor. They do not discriminate between young and old, educated or uneducated, slim or fat, short or tall. Their oppressive policies are aimed at all segments of the women population equally are the messages they have been sending out. This campaign has helped in allaying the fears of a large part of the population – the male part.

After centuries of confusion over their rightful place amongst living beings; where between camels, asses and dogs should they be slotted in order of superiority, a debate has also been initiated on the important issue of whether women should be considered as a life-form at all.

The “khap panchayats” are understood to be watching these developments closely before they make their next move. Competition in any sport generally leads to raising of standards. Standards of oppression can be expected to rise. All for the good of women, even though they don’t know it.