Even if you are not a very active user of any social media, you must have seen, read and/or forwarded messages containing text like “Celebrating Womanhood..Happy Women’s Day 2015” or something else on the similar lines. Chances are that your office might have been planned a small celebration for “thanking women for their contribution to [insert name here]’s success”. If you are an Indian woman, you must have politely smiled, replied with the dutiful “Thank You”s and gone ahead with your day, because you know in your heart, that celebrating Women’s Day in India, is the biggest sham of all.
Couple of days back, many of us came across snippets of the interview one of the co-accused of the Nirbhaya case, Mukesh Singh, gave to BBC for their documentary titled “India’s Daughter”. For those who might have forgotten, on December 16th 2012, a young 23-year old girl was brutally raped, horribly assaulted and thrown out of a moving bus by a group of 6 men to die in New Delhi late in the evening, along with a male friend. The story would have faded into oblivion, but for the fact that the girl survived, to recount the horror she went through. The news spread like wildfire and the entire country was shocked at the brutality of her assault. Protests took place all over the country, and people prayed in every corner hoping for the girl to survive. So much was the impact of the case, that Indian government had to fly her to Singapore, on the pretext of better care, when the doctors already knew that she wouldn’t survive.
The girl died on 29th December 2012. She was a bright student, from an under-privileged background, determined to do well. If she were alive, she would have been as old as me.
The BBC documentary was banned dutifully by our esteemed government, but BBC went ahead with the broadcast on 4th March 2015. I caught it here. Tears rolled from my eyes as I watched it, and it shuddered me to no end to imagine the pain and suffering the victim went through.
News channels and papers are full of debates about the statements given by the accused, the defense lawyers and the families of the accused. People are outraged at the audacity with which the defense lawyers defend the killers, but sadly, that doesn’t surprise me. What they said is probably the mindset of many Indian men, irrespective of their education. Because sensible thinking doesn’t depend on hordes of qualifications, but on sensible upbringing.
The rapists come from a delinquent background, and it was only a matter of time that they committed such a heinous crime. Poverty knows no morals, and such people are just dormant monsters, waiting to strike some innocent victim with the vindictiveness of their frustration and misplaced belief systems.
But poverty is not the only reason for such crimes. Any crime against a woman stems from the basic prejudiced thought – that a woman needs to be “shown her place”, each time she “crosses a boundary” like watching a movie post 6 pm, wearing jeans, possessing a mobile phone, using public transport to commute, hanging out with non-familial men, or daring to go anywhere alone without company. It doesn’t help that our law-makers too are owners of such thought process, and it is obvious that it will happen, because we choose our leaders among our own kind.
A lot can be and has been said about crimes against women. The documentary contains statements from many distinguished people, who have given very plausible solutions to contain these crimes. I won’t talk about this. But I will just like to point out, the shame I feel for my countrymen, each time I hear of yet another rape, assault, domestic violence, or eve-teasing incident. Maybe things are changing, but the change is too slow for my liking. How long will it take for my shame to percolate through the deepest strata of the society, I don’t know. But I certainly hope that the flame lit by the victim, very aptly named as Jyoti by her parents, won’t die down without concrete consequences.
Do you agree? Do you disagree? Do you have something to add? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.