'Gaslighting' Is the Word of 2022 & Indian Women Can Relate to It! Here's Why

Here are five bizarre instances of Indian women being gaslighted in recent times.

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2 min read

Video Script: Mythreyee Ramesh

Video Editor: Meenakshy Sasikumar

Merriam-Webster, the United States' oldest dictionary publisher, has chosen 'gaslighting' as its word of the year.

'Gaslighting', a word that finds its origins in Hamilton's Victorian-era play set in London, refers to the "psychological manipulation of a person usually over an extended period of time..."

Merriam-Webster says that searches for 'gaslighting' on its website spiked by 1,740 percent in 2022.


In fact, women in India can agree that 'gaslighting' was pervasive this year, considering how they were subjected to it in all forms and shapes recently.

Here are five bizarre instances of Indian women being gaslighted in recent times.


1. Jama Masjid's Diktat

"Ladkiyo ka akele daakhla mana hai…"

Delhi's Jama Masjid recently issued a diktat, saying that single women could not enter its premises without being accompanied by men. The authorities' reasoning was that some women failed to respect the sanctity of the place of worship, making videos there.

The order, however, was revoked later owing to widespread outrage.


2. Passage in a CBSE Exam

A comprehension passage in the Class 10 English Board exam, conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in December 2021, said, "...wives stopped obeying their husbands… the main reason why children and servants are undisciplined."

The problematic passage, which was pretty much aimed at gaslighting women, was removed later.


3. 'Rapes Are Increasing Because...'

When Karnataka BJP MLA Renukacharya said in February 2022 that "rapes are increasing because of women's clothing...," women were subjected to gaslighting yet again.


4.'Dressed in Sexually Provocative Manner'

The Kozhikode District Court, hearing activist Civic Chandran's rape case in October this year, also gaslighted women, saying that the complainant "dressed in a sexually provocative manner" and that it is "impossible to believe that a man aged 74 would ever commit the offence."

The sexist statement was later expunged by the Kerala High Court.


5. Judge's 'Advice'

Delhi High Court Judge Pratibha Singh 'advised' women in December 2021. This is how it went:

"Sharing is caring, we do not need to be selfish to say ‘I need my time, I need this.’ You can be a little more adjusting and compromising, but the benefits of a joint family system are far more than what in a nuclear family."

Did we mention that women were gaslighted yet AGAIN?


So, when Merriam-Webster says 'gaslighting' was pervasive this year, Indian women can't help but agree!

(This story was published on 1 December 2022. It has been republished from The Quint's archives over the release of the trailer of Gaslight, starring Sara Ali Khan, Vikrant Massey, and Chitrangada Singh.)

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Indian women   Dictionary   Gaslighting 

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