Shame and Sensibility

What a sad state we have come to, when we realize a girl is no longer safe neither in womb nor on the streets, neither from kin nor from strangers, that neither her grooming nor her education can stop her from getting groped or molested. Have we collectively lost all our senses or is it because we are completely shameless?

It is not very common, that an incident, no matter how untoward, draws unanimous flak from an entire nation. There was the exceptional scenario of India against corruption several months ago. This was not just one single demonstration but rather a wave of protests, undertaken for seeing a very positive transformation in our country. It was a welcome change from our lethargic selves. I can sense a similar large scale protest happening; this time at the heart of India, sadly, for a reason which we all would have wished never happened in the first place.

There are hardly any reasons to smile. It is one of those scenarios where, any outcome no matter how positive, is not going to be good enough. We would have done, as the adage goes, too little too late. The issue at hand is rape. But the problem, I believe, is much more sinister than that.

A young girl who was at the bud of her life had everything taken away. She did not get any reward for all the hard work she had put in life so far. Heck, she got worse than what the most malicious woman on earth deserves. She did not ask for trouble when she boarded a night bus in one of the most prominent localities of New Delhi. She did not deserve to get harassed the way she was or lose her modesty or get thrown off like a piece of worthless baggage. And yet she got everything stated above, and worse.

It is a nightmare to imagine what she would have undergone. But I am not writing this post to talk about that. It is an absolute outrage; and my anger, like my vocabulary, has its bounds. I am not trying to make sense out of this whole situation. I am NOT here to contemplate whether she was dressed decent or whether those monsters were drunk and moonlighting or whether Delhi is a safe place.

I am pouring my emotions over here because a human being lost her value within a moment’s notice. In the blink of an eye, someone lost their priceless child and for absolutely no mistake of theirs. It is the highest punishment that could have been meted out to anybody.

I do not know this girl. But I can understand (to some extent) when doctors (who were tending to her) said, in a situation where people would have lost their bearings she has shown fortitude. But valor and the prayers of a million people were not enough to save her. I believe it is benign to say that she is now in a much safer and saner place.

Crimes such as this would have usually gone down as another count in a hellish world; a story to give the political wings something to go to war against each other. But it has not (so far)! In a way the media got it right, by NOT naming the girl; by NOT showing us pics of how brutally wounded she was, by NOT making a drama and constructing the events which happened that fateful night, over and over again.

I think this was the right thing to do. We do not need names or graphic (read censored) images or the picture of the poor girl. I think this was the single most important reason why the storm of protests following this incident was so strong. People sensed that this unseen image could be that of their daughter or wife or sister. Leaders (so called) who were sleeping under a shell were forced to come out and speak. But it is extremely sad to note that not a single one of them have made any sense so far.

I am not looking forward to reading tomorrow’s headlines which says all the political bigwigs went to console her grieving parents. No! I don’t think I give a damn, if those who raped and killed her are castrated or given a death sentence. Here’s the part that has worried me all along. There will be many more who would do what these heartless human butchers have done. There will be tens of nameless goons bold enough to re-enact the whole thing again and if caught, won’t show any remorse; and why would they? They have sold their soul to the devil!

The issue is not whether the killers will get the harshest of sentences. Not that they deserve any less! This attitude (of ours) won’t stop such people from committing these crimes again. They will probably end up being more careful next time and we will be, in all likelihood, left fuming.

The root cause of such heinous crimes happening time and again is not that people are insensitive to such delinquency happening around them or even that the police are indolent which, sadly, is a fact! I think it is a matter of common sense; at the core of the issue is the fact that, our means to edify people like these rapists is completely inadequate and ineffective.

When I say educate these men, I do not mean put them to school. I meant teach them basic civility before they learn to count. Teach them it is not right to treat woman around them (no matter what color or race they are from) as mere flesh. Tell them that there are things called family, love and that every single person living in this society has the right to be what they are, as long as they do not hurt someone; that everyone (including themselves) have a right to living with honor and decency.

Stop spreading thoughts that a girl (or boy) can be judged by the dress they wear or the outward attitude they show. This decadence of mind HAS TO BE mended. If it takes censor boards, health issues to start showing “smoking kills” warnings in movies then this one is too – a psychological one at that. If it takes government, religious sentiments to draw a line then this one is too – conviction of prejudice; this is a mere corruption of our way of thinking. This has to stop!

It is not lust that is at the heart of a rape. It is this feeling of being in power for the molesters and misery (of the worst kind) for the victim. If it is the same old story of prey being guilty of inviting its hunter then I am afraid we are nothing more than a bunch of uncivilized animals who cannot think beyond what is shown to us.

The next time a group of good for nothings pass a sexist remark at someone, quit thinking this will stop with that. We cannot afford such wishful thinking any longer. Before you even realize, a person from among these dimwits, will go on to humiliate the affected person and this will encourage the others to think that they can get away with the next step.

These are nothing more than a bunch of wannabe hoodlums. They could be even your friend or some known person.

React!. If you have any sense of remorse from this whole incident, I am sure you will. They are not the majority in this situation; they never were or will be. We cannot pay to be both shameless and senseless any longer; unless we wish to draw the line too close for comfort once again.

[Total: 3    Average: 8.7/5]

Author: Rajesh Narayanan

A small speck of dust in the ever expanding ether

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