Check out this great article on rape culture in India over on The Feminist Wire: It's Open Girl-Meat Season by Jawahara Saidullah, an Indian-Burmese born feminist writer. An excerpt:
“Kya maal hai.” What good stuff.
“Bilkul sahi cheez yaar.” Absolutely, great stuff, man.
Maal means, stuff, thing, or merchandise. So does cheez.
This common male conversation on the streets of North India is usually conducted over-loudly so that the ‘stuff’ being talked about can hear it. It is almost always accompanied by laughter, a leer, perhaps some touching. For the stuff being talked about is no inanimate object: they are girls and women. The creepiest observation is: “Bari ho kar maal banegi.” When she grows up she will become maal, if their target is a cute little girl.
It was in the late 1970s that I became aware I was maal. I remember the exact moment...