Immediately after she slapped, the swayamsewaks grabbed the 20-year-old and demanded her apology. But: “I cannot apologize,” replied the proud girl, whose stupidity didn’t allow her to understand her mistake. “My slap has been taken in a different context.”
Frowning, Bhagwat shouted to ask what the context was. The unidentified girl said, “The village where I have slapped you is a very rural area. In villages, people are used to getting hit by each other, and it is not called a slap, don’t you know? Slaps happen only in India, not in Bharat.”
“A slap is a slap. Be it wherever!” replied a Sewak, glaring angrily at the girl. “Exactly!” was the sudden retort from Mr. Bhagwat.
But the girl went on: “What you call a slap, the villagers call it a sincere and social gesture of love.” Some swayamsewaks apparently misunderstood the meaning of “love”, and remarked that women are not supposed to love men at will.
Seeing the situation intensify, the girl refused to apologize but said she would “withdraw” her slap, replicating the common practice these days. The same angry swayamsewak shouted, “You have insulted him already; withdrawal will not work!”
The girl fled. Meanwhile, another woman in a distant remote village saw her husband force himself upon her in a drunken state. We expect she felt less insulted than the wise Mr. Bhagwat did after the slap, since after all, on account of being a villager (“Bharat”), what she suffered was not “rape”, it was “tradition”.