Rest in Peace Nirbhaya... or Can You?

When I had watched the female feticide episode of Satayamev Jayate, I had felt anguish within. Why would someone do this and I had shared some of my thoughts here. However with the recent rape incident of the 23 year old girl in our capital city and her tragic demise, I suddenly cannot help but wonder if it is worth bringing girl child in this world? Does a girl deserve this life?

Last few days, having read in papers, watched the news in TV my heart goes all out for this girl (who unfortunately is no more). While news of rape isn’t new, this one caught one and all by the sheer brutality of the incident. We all were shaken from comforts of our ‘chalta hai’ attitude into action and the country almost came to a standstill. This girl showed remarkable fighting spirit till the very end. But it is so ironical that media is still full of more such episodes daily, but then is it really a surprise, for the statistics show that a girl is raped almost every 20 min in India.

Almost everyone agrees that our laws are archaic and systems too slow to react. The brutality in this case is possibly the rarest of rare and hence demand of death sentence is justified, but then where the buck really stops is how fast is the decision taken? We may argue in favor of death sentence but if the case drags on and one in the courts as is the usual trend, what difference does it makes what punishment is put forth in the books of law? The girls/women who go through the ordeal have a lifelong stigma to bear so the other question is why should the perpetrator of such crime be ride of his punishment in a whiff? Isn’t then castration and/or life imprisonment with intensive labor the right punishment?
The various politicians trying to score brownie points at this time forget that their own parties are full of people against whom such complaints are registered. Will all of them agree to be tried in fast track court and be hanged to death if proven guilty?

While we address this, it is prudent to look beyond and see how entangled the entire nine yards are and what does it take to really get the society freed of the grips of such sick minded criminals. Yes, to me, these surely are criminals, though some of our esteemed lawyers won’t agree. 

The most common excuse that our protectors of law and rapists give is the girl was provocatively dressed. Nothing can be funnier than this. This is like saying that I have a knife in my kitchen so I will go around killing people. Has our libido grown so weak that it goes out of control every time some girl walks past in so called provocative clothes? This is nothing but sick mentality that a girl more fashionably dressed is giving out signal that I am available. And what if the girl is your sister? Do these men still get similar signals?
Even if for a second I were to agree that a sexually deprived male got charged on seeing a scantily clad female, how is that true for little kids? Don’t we read in the media about rape of even 2-3 year old girls? Where is provocative dressing there? How can anyone get sexually attracted to such small toddlers? The only feeling one typically gets are of the nature, “Oh! How sweet the kid is”. “What a lovely smile!” or a desire to play with them but definitely not to rape them. The person has to be truly a pervert.

If mere provocation is enough, then I wonder if we will find a line of Vicky donors outside temples like that in Khajuraho? No! provocation is just the easiest of excuse one can give to shift to blame of the crime committed by self to someone else.
Apart from the intention to prove supremacy, I think the basic issue is of not thinking of females as humans, but possessions or objects of desire etc. I would say that to a large extent the way our societies have lived through ages is to blame for it. At the risk of airing personal opinion in public, an act that of date is becoming a reason for putting anyone behind bars, let me share a few examples that come to mind that show that for generations we have treated females as objects that males possess and females have little rights of their own.

If the blame is that one being separated from spouse there is chance of adultery, why only female needs to prove her being still pure? If female is not just an object, how can come someone think of equally dividing amongst men, just because the person who suggested this, didn’t know what was being talked about? Why is that in our history you read of Kings with hundreds of wives, but not one mention of vice versa? Why is that princesses were married off as a way to create peace between warring nations? If females were thought of as humans, won’t their opinion ever considered?
It is a male dominant society, else why would always a girl need to after marriage leave her home behind and go to the boys house? Given that today more families tend to be nuclear so the couple ends up living on their own, but the basic understanding is still the same. Else why would parents think of girl child as “kisi aur ki amanat” and doesn’t ‘amanat’ typically mean object, or property or some such item and not really a person.

They say name is a person’s identity and in relationship building sessions, we are taught that we should people by their names. They like it better that way. If that’s true, why is it that girl need to change their surname and lose part of their identity? And in some parts of India, it is even common to have the girl change her first name as well.  What kind of identity is left then for a girl suddenly after two decades of her life?
So while on one side we have these deep rooted beliefs that need to be shaken and relooked at in this 21st century, on the other side is the law that should protect women against crimes, but miserably fails to do so. Again the issue is multi-fold and starts right from the registration of FIR. It is well known to all that registering an FIR is a pain for just about anything; leave alone a case of rape. The victim unfortunately either isn’t allowed to register (a recent such episode here) or if is fortunate enough to get the complaint registered, will probably live the rest of her life running to courts trying to get justice. If the case ever comes to trial, the lawyers find it so very convenient to character assassinate the woman involved saying that she instigated it (similar statement here) or will go into such excruciating details to recount the incident that it isn’t less than raping the woman again publically.

The current Delhi incident also brought to fore any issue plaguing our society and that is the treatment police gives to well-meaning individuals. Even after being thrown off the bus no one came forward to help immediately, for the fear that they will also end up having to make rounds of police station and keep explaining why were they there and why did they help the individuals. So many people die on road accidents in India today just because they didn’t get timely medical help and this lack of help isn’t because there wasn’t a hospital close by or because the accident happened on remote isolated spot, but just because who wants to get into the tangle of police investigation.
There are measures that are being announced (here, here, here) but what remains to be seen is the true desire to implement it going forward or is it just a face saving gimmick for now and with time things will go back to … cannot call that as ‘normal’!!  just go back to status quo. At the same time, I strongly feel it isn’t just an issue that strict laws, or government or police need to address, but we as members of society need to address as well. True that law may instill fear, but then rape need to stop not just because of fear of punishment but for knowing that it isn’t the right thing to do anyway. The basic attitude needs to change.

This new year 2013, together, let's pledge that we will bring that change both in self and things around us. Are you ready?

Comments

  1. Hi Atul, I read your blog on Nirbhaya, I was following this case and I landed at your blog. Your feelings are effectively showcased in the blog that you've written. The whole country was aghast by the brutality of the crime but I guess nothing has changed much even after that, newspapers will confirm us the statistics. I hope that someday a woman is safe - not only inside the womb but even outside it.

    Coming to your blogs, I have read quite a few and liked your style. Since I am a blogger too, you can read my blogs @ http://bagofbrains.wordpress.com/

    Hope to read more of your blogs in coming days.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. @bagofbrains, thanks for your views and good to know you liked it. Yes I have tried to share my feelings vai the blog.

      I will surely check your blogs as well

      Delete

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