[INDOLOGY] Sexual Harassment

farkhondeh iran iran_farkhondeh at yahoo.fr
Mon Oct 17 19:55:58 UTC 2016

Dear all,

If I may, as far as the Kathāsaritsāgara is concerned 
The one who attempts to rape Vinayavatī is a vidyādhara whose name is not given in the text. He is cursed to become a camel. The curse ends when Puṣkarākṣa, the future husband of Vinayavatī, kills the camel and thus frees the vidyādhara (XII, 2, 104-108). 

More interesting in relation to sexual harassment are two embedded tales in the KSS VI. If we agree to define sexual harassment as an abuse on behalf of someone who is in a position of power and who abuses of his/her power to sexually abuse someone who is in a subordinate position.

Here we have an instance of “sexual harassment” narrated by a wise woman to protect herself against an attempt of rape on behalf of the king who is supposed to protect women in the absence of the man in charge of their protection.
When Udayana, the King of the Vatsa goes at night in Kaliṅgasenā’s house, she refuses herself to him and says that if ever he tries to take her by force she would surely die afterwards. Kaliṅgasenā narrates to him the story of the King Indradatta and the wife of a merchant. The merchant is gone for a business trip. The king seizes this chance to get into the house at night. Even though the merchant’s wife is imploring him, reminding him of his duty to protect, he tries to take her by force and finally her heart bursts. After a few days, Indradatta dies out of shame and remorse. Hearing this sad story awakens the king of the Vatsa who promises to protect Kaliṅgasenā. 

Best wishes,

Iris Iran Farkhondeh
Paris 3 University

> Le 17 oct. 2016 à 20:08, Nityanand Misra <nmisra at gmail.com> a écrit :
> On 17 October 2016 at 22:48, Artur Karp <karp at uw.edu.pl <mailto:karp at uw.edu.pl>> wrote:
> Dear All, 
> Should I understand that there are no traces, no mentions of sexual harrasment in the entire - vast - corpus of ancient/medieval Indian literature?
> A search for rape as the Text Word in the Puranic Encylopedia under http://www.sanskrit-lexicon.uni-koeln.de/scans/PEScan/2014/web/webtc2/index.php <http://www.sanskrit-lexicon.uni-koeln.de/scans/PEScan/2014/web/webtc2/index.php> shows up the following:
> Rape of Rambhā by Rāvaṇa (VR, UK).
> Rape [sic] of Vedavatī by Rāvaṇa (VR, UK). In the VR, it is harassment but not rape. Probably the rape is described in some other R.
> Rape of Madanamañjarī by Rāvaṇa (source?)
> Rape of Cañcalākṣī by Rāvaṇa (KambaR)
> Rape of Arā, daughter of Śukra, by Daṇḍa (VR UK)
> Rape of Ugrasena's wife by the Gandharva Dramila (SB, 10th Canto)
> Attempt to rape Vinayavatī by Raṅgamālī (Kathāsaritsāgara)
> Attempt to rape Pramati by Nala, friend of Sudeva (Mārkaṇḍeya Purāṇa)
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