It is said that in 1971, John Lennon along with a couple of others wrote the song “Happy Xmas (War Is Over)” exhibiting optimism despite the ongoing war waged by the US on Vietnam. Fast forward to 2012 – As the most heinous and brutal gang rape victim breathed her last on December 29th and the humanity in India is at the peak of its haplessness, the people and the media are collectively giving their struggle and fight a new face by calling it a ‘National awakening’ assuming that the protests and peace walks have taken it to a different level. Thats not just optimism, but hope against hope. But this time, I am neither pessimistic nor optimistic, I am cynical.
I will not believe that the nation has awakened to the atrocities on women after the rape incident. We are what we are. We are a nation whose demographics of male politicians ruling the nation is far superior compared to the number of women in governance. We are a nation where most of our men exhibit male chauvinism and medieval attitudes. Our thinking is orthodox and irrational when it comes to our women. And I am saying all this, not with a head held high, but low in shame.
I am shocked beyond wits with the kind of response from most men holding responsible and elite positions in social hierarchy to the outrageous rape incident. A chief minister of India’s capital had once said that in order to keep such crimes at bay, women have to be always accompanied my men at night. How ridiculous is that? I say, if the men out on the streets can’t control themselves pouncing at women, then it is they who need to be accompanied, for they have a serious problem. Someone who calls himself a God man says that the girl who was raped should have called the culprits bothers and pleaded them to stop! And what can you say about this other specimen who said that women in urban India are under the influence of western culture and hence get raped?! Disgusting. These statements coming out from people of elite stature in responsible positions ruling our nation makes one think where our country is heading.
Lets face it. Peace walks, protests, media hype can’t change much. They might at the most bring pressure on the government to give financial aid to the victim’s family and make public assurances of turning things around. With passage of time, assurances and promises will dissolve into thin air, media will have new events to be covered and no one will follow up. What India really needs at the moment is legal reforms. The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. But then, if it took the government of India 4 years to hang Kasab, convicted terrorist behind the 9/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai that left nearly 3000 people dead, I have no reason to believe that one brutal rape incident will make the government change the law. I say – If the law says that the rapists will be castrated at the India Gate publicly then these men will not dare do any such acts even if the woman walking in front of them is visibly naked. Why can’t we revise and enforce strict laws? I don’t know how many more rapes and assaults it takes for the Indian government to understand that RAPE is not just a physical violation but mental, physiological and emotional violation and make the punishment to rapists more severe.
And then what about human trafficking, domestic violence, acid attacks, child marriages, female foeticides… how and when are we going to address these problems?
For those who don’t know what I am referring to, here’s some insight. How are these issues handled in your country? Like I said, I have no hope, this time, I am cynical…
‘A country is considered to have achieved its full independence only when women can walk safely in street at anytime without fear’ - Mahatma Gandhi, Father of the Nation