Sunday, December 23, 2012

The Days of the Beasts

Men are insecure. And are growing more and more insecure by the day. Whether in the guise of being 'religiously offended' or 'angered by immorality' or 'having their culture demeaned' or even 'being sexually stimulated' there are more insecure male beasts out there today in India (and abroad) than ever. Everyday the masks keep falling off from the faces of more of these who cannot operate alone, who do not have the guts to handle a confident woman, (forget it, they cannot even handle themselves) and need a mob, deadly firearms or weapons or the safety of the night to approach a girl, a school child or even more defenceless targets if they can find them. They use all the force they can get to handle any of these small targets - including the backing of the ever willing system - lest these defenceless people fight back.

What does it mean? That these men represent manhood? That they are our heroes who make lewd remarks, who make physical contact, who molest, ill treat? These mobs, these people who get together and rape innocent children, women? No. It only means that our society has an increasing number of these men who cannot handle themselves, their own shadows. They cannot even handle a school child without covering their faces, without firearms. They cannot engage in a discussion and get their viewpoint across to anyone - even a fourteen year old like Malala Yousufzai of Swat - and need  weapons to silence her. They cannot engage with confident women unless they are in gangs of six or ten and are armed with iron bars. They cannot reply to a facebook comment and express their 'angry viewpoint' and would rather seek to mob, maim, get the system to back them to arrest two girls who voiced their opinion on facebook. They cannot vent their anger at adults so they shoot kindergarten school children with firearms. They cannot get normal sex so they rape their own daughters, grnadchildren and the young children of their friends and neighbours. They are sick, and people who shield them are sicker, and for just being like this and doing such stuff they should all be institutionalised for mental ill health. These are not normal people. Its not capital punishment that they need - they need admission to the Mental Health Institutes

But where have they come from? Where did they get this disease from? From the rest of our society of which we are all part of of course. We have grown them. We have nurtured them. Because we are scared of bullies. We elect them. We pander to them. We are scared of abuse. We are scared of putting our viewpoint across. We are scared of complaining. We will do anything, even sell our souls, as long as they do not bother us. Let the system handle it and if it cannot, too bad.

The ones who can, the people with authority in the system, are the ones who should be the first casualties. From the very top right down to the bottom - the criminals themselves. Where are the resignations? Where is the outrage from the system? From our moral police? From the self appointed guardians of our culture?  From elected representatives? They are too busy trying to say the right things, trying to look righteous, indignant, and hoping that things will become normal again. Considering that public memory is so short, we might just move on. How many such incidents have we forgotten about, lit candles for and moved on? Countless.

But this time, instead of moving on until another incident I suggest we do something else as well. After all we are part of the larger society that elects these leaders of ours, that these public servants of ours are supposed to serve and protect, that these law breakers take for granted. We have a role too. Because we might be next in line.

I'd say every member of society who has felt the pain of the Delhi incident and of the many such incidents resolve today, individually, to merely stand up and complain to the authorities each time they see an injustice. Each time there is something wrong going on. Complain, whine and get some action. Get ready to visit the police station, the courts. Does not matter. Its a small price to pay for setting a society right. Get ready to assist victims when small crimes start on the road. To collar the eve teasers and hand them over. To walk up and tell the drunks and louts to get out of the locality. To tell young children who start these drinking, smoking ways in dark alleys to go home and do it in front of their parents and not near your house. Does not matter if they abuse you. Or even beat you.

Get beaten once, get arrested even if it means you suffer a bit. It is okay. We must learn to suffer a bit of pain. We must sacrifice our time, our false dignity even, perhaps even some money. We must get used to this - this standing up for someone else. It's important not for them - but for our own sake. For our children. For the future.

If we do not stand up for another, now, no one will stand for you too. If we do not share their concern, we can as well stop shouting ourselves hoarse against injustice. It is not just the candles and the faceless comments on social networking sites. We need to get down to concrete action. What is the worst that can happen? At least you might not see something as ghastly as what happened to the young lady in Delhi. She deserves her peace. This is one way to tell her that what she went through was not for nothing. That she at least pricked our conscience enough to make a whole bunch of educated, easily offended,sensitive middle class realise their basic duty as citizens. 

To stand up against injustice. To not look the other way and hope it won't happen to you. It just might be you, if you do not start gathering your courage now.

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