The Rohtak sisters, Arti and Pooja Kumar, who belted the bullies on a public transport bus in Haryana have become instant icons. They are the avenging angels who turned the tables on the Republic of Shame that defined the ordeal suffered by Nirbhaya and allowed us to bask in the Republic of Fame.

Or at least allowed us to imagine that we could apply the brakes to sex on wheels. There is something hugely attractive about the images of two young women in pants and T-shirts punching their molesters as eagerly as Priyanka Chopra playing Mary Kom in her more designer-friendly sweatshirts and trainers.

This is pussy power in its purest form. Which is why there is something equally fragile about their instant accession to media glory.

 Alien tongue

Is there something about trains and public transport that fuel the Indian male imagination? Or at least liberates their testosterone-fuelled desires? The next time we hear of the sisters is when they are in a park, another area favored by our song-and-dance impresarios where strange encounters are the norm. In this case, they also take on their tormentors. Co-incidentally for them, here again there is someone taking a video of the action.

This is where a frisson of déjà vue sets in. Forgive us for speaking in a foreign language but is there something very alien about two young girls, from an area dominated by a feudal mind set, or Khap-thinking, taking on the system with just their belts and fists.

The revenge of the Rohtak sisters could not have been more neatly scripted. Pooja, the younger one, who is just 19 has been quoted as saying: “Whenever I get a chance I beat them up.” Pooja claims that she has fended off around 2,000 such advances from boys. “You see,” she adds, “We have been tolerating these kinds of things for long enough, but how long can we tolerate this?”

By the time they are being garlanded for the cameras, they are astute enough to claim that it was because the three men in the bus where “taunting a pregnant woman” that they became incensed. The pregnant lady was apparently the one who took the video of the girls that went viral. The other passengers, possibly all men, remained passive spectators, as did the bus driver and the conductor. Rohtak is famous for an University named after the social reformer, Dayanand Saraswati.  Could it be that while females are more courageous and emancipated as a result of this atmosphere of educational excellence, the men have remained backward?

Pooja also claims as quoted on television channels and re-tweeted several times: “We wanted to show we girls are not weak and [are] capable of defending ourselves.”

Mahishasuramardani tale

Bravo girls! They are the modern equivalent of a famous episode of female power known as the slaying of the buffalo demon, or the “Mahishasuramardani” sequence. It’s depicted most famously on the walls of one of the caves at Mahabalipuram, but also performed during classical dance and music recitals, particularly in South India. It’s hugely empowering to watch the feminine force in all its aroused glory vanquishing the bovine slothfulness of the buffalo demon.

The attendant political anxiety to cash in on the girls’ female empowerment on the part of the Haryana Chief Minister ML Khattar by initialing a cash award of Rs. 31,000 for each sister and an invitation to be honored at the Republic Day function is equally baffling. This is a district that in August 26 saw two teenage girls commit suicide because a posse of men was taunting them. It’s the same week when outside the Haryana State, in Mumbai, Gauhar Khan a reality show personality was slapped by a man in the audience, for wearing skimpy clothes and a member of a right-wing party accused all women who appeared in item numbers of being prostitutes.

Rohtak Ranis, or media molls, do we need them to fight our proxy battles? Take your pick.