Masculinization of Lockdown-Colonial by Culture, Indianite in Reality- History speaks | Adamas University

Masculinization of Lockdown-Colonial by Culture, Indianite in Reality- History speaks

Covid-19, Lockdown

Masculinization of Lockdown-Colonial by Culture, Indianite in Reality- History speaks

1.Masculinization of Lockdown-Colonial by Culture

  The terminology `masculinization of Medicine `or its  Professionalization  by the  European males  was a reality  in the 19th century Europe .The  European  society believed that the Scientific discovery and new laboratory techniques leading to  treatment   and experimentation of medicinal products  were dominantly managed by male medicinal . Women’s` entry to Medical education was discouraged and looked down upon by pushing them to the profession of  the   healer, Midwife or Nurses. Thus the women were excluded from medical training or certification in 19th century Europe. Biological arguments often used to justify women’s exclusion from the profession was explained by Dr E. H. Clark in his book ‘Sex in Education’ (Clark 1873) .To him, ‘higher education in women produces monstrous brains and puny bodies, abnormally active cerebration and abnormally weak digestion, ……’

The Medical Registration Act  1858, did not explicitly exclude women from the profession  but the Royal Colleges, Universities and Medical institutions did so by either prohibiting women from studying medicine or by staying away from allowing  the academic examinations to practice medicine.(Laura Jefferson, et.el. 2015).Thus while educated women from the  well to do families  were deprived of their  right to education ,the scenario to the  other part of the universe (India)  was  made dreadful, gloomy  and damaging for the uneducated  women  coming  from  the lower stratum of the society .The contemporary  legal provisions adopted then  was  the Contagious Diseases Act 1864.The Act  meant for the punishment of  the colonial women for being  involved in sex profession .The absence of occupational recognition of prostitution  ,the Act  authorized   indiscriminate  punishment for all non-formal women  professionals traced out on the outer space  .The basic aim of the  Law  was to stop the spread up of Venereal diseases  among the British non stationed Arm and Naval Forces personnel responsible for contaminating their wives  beck in England .The  Law authorized the Police forces to initiate indiscriminately custodial punishment to all women found in the outer space and to adopt  physical checkup to detect the existence of diseases in them . The Medical practitioners of the Government Licensed Hospitals were asked to certify the effected women and  to administer  lock down for three to six months period .To the author the incidence of lock down may be claimed as the first official step towards medical isolation or quarantine but policies adopted may be phrased as `masculinization of  Lockdown`  because of  the overall exclusion of men  from  trial under the 1864 Act. .Judith Walkowitz  a feminist protagonist`s expression needs appreciation at this juncture .` The contiguous Diseases Act represented the “high water mark” of Governmentally approved double standards between the sexes . The Act was created to punish one gender for something that was a result of intermixing of two people. By targeting to only women sex professionals this double standard between the sexes went unopposed in public eye until late 1860`s while the regulationists were forced to rationalize their sexual discrimination and modify the contagious Diseases Act several times (Judith R,Walkowitz 1980) .

Lock Down : Indianite  Reality

 The parlance ` the Social Distancing` was an established taboo in Indian culture since the dawn of civilization. Due to the absence of medical support system. dependence on nature, seeking the mercy of God   and social distancing were popularly accepted by the community   to overcome   helplessness  against contagious diseases . Thus social distancing may be looked up as an ingrained Indian culture practiced by the community to drive out epidemic from the community living.  The  !9th century Indian socio-religious culture  records  enormous information on the practice of  community lockdown as protection  from infectious diseases like Small Pox, Chicken Pox. Measles, Cholera, Influenza ect.. Hence social distancing, hygiene, religious rituals ,use of indigenous disinfectant were used    to overcome the deadly  viral attack . Among the   Hindu religious community,  women were engaged in  offering homage to (  puja)   `Sitala Mata ` (Goddess of diseases)  to cool her  down and  to pray her  for the  protection of  the community from heat borne diseases (TOI April 21,2019)  along with   the practice of lock down of the  patients for 21 days .Maintaining   (Indigenous mode of  cleanliness included  spreading  caw dung water to the surroundings ,burning coconut scrub with sulfur powder , use of boiled neem leaf  water  to  clean the patient  were the exclusory  the job of the family women. The  success of the lock down or social distancing  lately prompted the Government  to officially adopt the quarantine leave for 21 days , extended till 30 days  with the rule  (the  quarantine leave is never considered as a leave of absence of the employee ,Rule No 21 A , Leave Rule).Hence ,the overall  role of Indian women in the lockdown prompted the author to call the lockdown as  masculinization of diseases and the  Indian  women  became the silent source of preserving  it as an social taboo.

Social Lock Down –A scientifically recognized practice

Lock Down of  Women During Pregnancy .

Customarily, Hindu women in 19th century India used to express   fear and anxieties about their pregnancy mainly due to their inability to communicate with male health care professional in the occurrence of child birth complicacy. In Indian families, pregnant women were considered as the source of welcoming the new guests in the family. Hence  confining her  at home and keeping  her away from diseases ,was taken care of by  the other women  .To divert her from seeking  medical support ,she was kept engaged in rituals like 1. Garbadhana` inaugural ceremony   `2. Pansavana` ,a ceremony to pray the deity to govern the sex of the fetus to a male child and to prevent huge financial commitments associated with the birth of the girl child . 3. The  `Simmanantannaya` involved  wearing new dresses ,offering a good food to the expected  mother and ornaments to wear ,to fulfill her last wishes ( the death rate among the pregnant women were very high during the time .) Hence ,the rituals were performed to keep   the pregnant lady happy while maintain  social distancing  and to protect her from season infectious   diseases  .Due to  lack of preventive  medicine the protection of the mother during the full span of pregnancy period was spend in  social distancing .

Child Birth and Social Distancing : With the child birth the mother and the child  were put to  lockdown  beyond community  reach. The conservative social taboo recommended  the best site , close to the cow shed to keep away   the mother – child   from infection ( no established proof found ).  This social distancing as a family taboo adopted to help them to grow immunity before the community assimilation.

Concluding Remarks : The practice of lockdown, though indigenous in nature ,in reality  a  scientifically valid alternative mode of treatment ingrained in Indian community culture. Hence , the steps taken so far  to eradicate COVID 19 is adorable. Hence rigorous steps needed for  its absolute  success.

The author of the article however compelled to refer to  the most disdainful experiences of  masculanization of lockdown imposed on women community  in India .The  Indian lady ,known for her relentless services  to the family and community are being victimized under COVID 19 lock down by their own men .They as the agent of negative patriarchy,  have been indulging  domestic violence in the families. Official record speak of the increase in the intensity of multi-dimensional domestic violence during COVID 19 .The PM of India has directed  the NCW to address the matter .It  was 30 in the beginning of the month of March 2020  rose to 69 in between 23rd March to April 1. According to the Chief of NCW with almost 57 %of women in India are not having access to phones (Indian Express 28th April 2020). Press Trust of India reported that, the NCW received a complaint filed by the father on behalf of his daughter whom he alleged was brutally beaten by her husband and being denied food. While another Global right organization also complained that the load of work on women has increased enormously in the houses. They are compelled to do all house hold work over and above cooking and managing the affairs while all family members are laid  back home with comfort .Under the patriarchal social structure,   the women were not only seen  at the forefront to fight back the diseases through their heartfelt prayer to God . They were expected to nurse the virus effected patients but over and above this   they have to bear with the frustration of their males for being locked down at home and shoulder  domestic torture silently .  .


Edward H. Clarke, Sex in eduaction, or, A fair chance for the girls. Boston: J. Osgood and Company, 1873

Gatrad,A.R..M.Ray .A Sheikh. : Hindu Birth Customs BMJ Journals  Archives of Diseases in Childhood

Jefferson Laura, Karen Bloor,Alan Maynrd  (8th March 2015) Broitish Medical Bulletin Volume 114. Issue I Pp 05-15 .

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