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 . .
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