Monday, December 24, 2012

The symptoms of a perverse society

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

The incident of rape in a moving bus in the posh South Delhi Zone has jolted the nation. The young girl who was travelling along with her friend was brutally assaulted and thrown naked on the road by the criminals. The Parliament spoke on it and our politicians along with many film stars ‘expressed’ ‘concern’ about the law and order situation in Delhi. Some want CCTV cameras everywhere while other wants commandos in the bus so that the goons can be tracked easily. Panelists on TV were giving different medicines including giving more power to police, high conviction rate in the fast track courts. Political leaders like Sushma Swaraj suggest that Death Penalty is the only answer for the rapists but the problem is they will continue to ignore the fact that a large number of people today are honorable member of various political parties despite various charges against them and would go to gallows if we admit Sushmaji’s suggestions. The problem is not whether there is death penalty or not, the issue is much larger. Shamefully, our politicians want to address the issue from other way round that if there is death penalty there will be lesser crime but we have all laws and the crime still continues. In many places in Uttarakhand, there were no police station and there was no crime. The crime only started after police station came into being in those regions hence the issue of violence against the marginalized including women is a much larger issue than mere law and order. Those who are diagnosing the disease wrongfully cannot really provide the answer to the issue.

Actually, though Delhi tops in the chart of violence against women yet the conviction rate in Delhi is much higher than rest of the country but then our point of discussion here is not just law and order but to understand what ails our society and why such brutal incidents are increasing day by day. Yesterday, Jaya Bachchan said that it is shame that this country where ‘women’ were treated as ‘goddesses’, such incidents are happening. And this argument holds true for all those who consider this issue related to law and order. Ofcourse, we need a strong law and order machinery but is it possible to police everything. We are already fighting against increasing policing in our private domain including web world. Aadhar card was being opposed because activist felt it is an intrusion in our private lives. The police checks are everywhere and even when they check at the airports and at metros, many feel they intrude in our private domain. Now, at the airport, at the metro, our private items become part of public display and a police man can check our bag and ask why I am taking a ‘wine bottle’ or anything else. In India more policing will only trouble you because it is bound to be misused. Haven’t we seen policemen blackmailing young couples in the park by threatening them to expose and take to their parents? In the name of protection they will always claim us to follow their diktats. There is no denying the fact that we need an efficient and modern looking police force with least political intervention but that possibility should only be made when the police force shed its own caste and religious bias. A few days back, I mentioned why our laws will fail because our mindset is still primitive where women is an object, to be seen, used, protected and promoted accordingly.

The objectification of women has further justified the thoughts of those who challenge her self-respect as most of them only would like women to see dancing as per their fancied world which is part of Hindi cinemas item culture. Is not it a duty of our media and our films to attempt make women much beyond ‘Item Number’. Our media debate on them and has given them respectability where women have to provide men sexual satisfaction. How and why have we given these rubbish respectability. Why do we think that women are ‘item number’ where men just jeer at every step of her in the films whether it is a Hindi, Malayali, Telugu or Bhojpuri films, women are made just as ‘sex tool’ or beauty without brain. The film fraternity always claim that it shows that truth shall prevail but the fact is the way ‘rape’ is romanticized in the Hindi films, it only strengthen those who want to replicate these things in the street with the firm belief that they can easily get away with. Once you start dodging the law, you feel everyday it would be the same but more important in these cases is not law, it is society. Rape is a form of revenge that if law will take care of me then you won’t remain the same for every.

Sushma Swaraj said that the girl become ‘jinda lash’ after the incident. I want to ask Sushmaji as why should a woman who is victimized become a ‘jinda laash’. In the heart, Sushma famous for invoking the ‘emotional’ quotient during her campaign against Sonia’s prime ministership that she would shave her head and live like a widow. Actually, when we re-emphasize these values of ‘jinda lash’, we justify them. This is the most potent weapon for misogynists against women that they violate her and killer her permanently as her social isolation is complete. In this case, this girl who is fighting for her life was travelling along with her friend who tried to protect her. While it is futile to speak about personal relationship, it will be a great day in India if despite such cases, the boy can promise the girl that he stand with her. At the end of the day, if our society stand with the people of such violence rather looking down upon them, will be the greatest victory of woman and humanity all together. The problem is that you will hang the perpetrator of the crime but that is not going to help the women who are victim of the assault? It is important to see how our system responds to issue. is the most important?

The case history of the Delhi thing is clear. The criminals who committed this crime could not tolerate the response from the girl. They felt offended that she was defending her friend. They asked him as why he was travelling with her in night. I know parents who have daughters will always be worried about as why should their daughter travel in Delhi after 7 pm. It is a worried sign as you cannot really trust anyone. The situation has come that we have reached to a situation where it is difficult to believe in any one and that is the collapse of the situation. As a society, we have failed to grow. We have other work but a society with feudal tendencies cannot grow and will never accept women with their head high. The issue here is that the feudal system cannot allow woman to answer back and hence in that situation the culprit know it well that even if he goes to jail, he will come out after some time as there are hundreds of counselors who can advise him how to escape the law but what happen to girl afterwards. She is dead as the society is unable to accept it. And all this is related to the concept of ‘purity’ of girls before marriage. It is this brutal fact which is used as a tool against women all the time, in war, in communal riots, in family animosity and in love that if I am unable to get you, I shall not allow you to live your life in comfort.

This country shamelessly speaks of great culture but it is just vulgarity. The grave fact is that we are a society which hates women. We pretend of respecting her but it is only possible if she is within her ‘lakshman rekha’ otherwise, we decide to teach her a lesson. Can India really call itself a civilized nation with so many ailments where girls are unwanted? If such incidents happen, who will want a girl child particularly when the families feel that girls are not safe in our cities, they will be killed for want of dowry. How does India as a nation respond to such situations which have become order of the day? Will our men and women now take up pledge that they will not further victimize the victim and honor her or the purity thing will continue to haunt us?

Let the law take its course but more than hanging the criminals, it is the issue of the woman who suffers enormous mental trauma and become socially disabled. It is time, that we respect all those women who resisted violence against them and honor them. It is time to make the victim feel part of life and the most important support for them can be her parents, friends, partners and schools. It is not a big world but if all these select people themselves are with the victim, her life will be back. And definitely, it would be great and reassuring for the girl if the boy who accompanied her and tried to protect her can say that he still love her and will be there with her thick and thin. India needs a renaissance, a mental change. As a society we have failed to grow as we violate everyone who is a threat to status quo, whether it is a woman or millions of those who are victims of caste system. Any careful scrutiny of our social system would prove how brutal and uncivilized we are? It is this country which is pretending to go to 21st century with a primitive social structure? Our political system may be democratic and secular but our society is still ruled by the Manismriti. Our policemen follow Manusmriti more than the constitution of India and hence it is time to educate every one and reemphasize on our constitutional values. Let those who are shedding tears accept it. How many of the film stars who are weeping today can say that they won’t accept a leading role where women is shown as brainless beauty and where we will have an item number. The day we glamorized and legitimized them, we legitimized violence against women too.

We cannot cry all the time as we need answers to these issues which haunt us every now and then and it is only possible when these victims will have no fear of social isolation after the accident they have in life. It is time, when the society thinks beyond mere policing of everything. A civilized society does not require police everywhere. The fact is that the government can provide policing but that would not change the society. Many times, the policemen are engaged in such acts hence it is a much bigger issue than mere policing. It is beyond that we accept that women are not just ‘item numbers’ but can contribute to our society equally if not more. Let us jolt this society more so it collapse and build a system based on equality, liberty and fraternity and it would be only be possible when the preamble of our constitution become heart of our people so that no girl is afraid of venturing out of her home in night and nobody is bothered as where she went, with whom and why? The only condition for an inclusive society is that our political system will have to provide rule of law to the people and the people need to embrace modern democratic values in life.

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