Friday, January 4, 2013

An Apology to The Girl

For all these days after the Delhi gang rape and the subsequent death of the young girl who so badly wanted to live, I really had no words to write about it. There was a deep sense of something heavy building up but no words. It is not the one incident nor the brazenness and the brutality of the entire act that shut me up but the continued silence over many such acts that go on in our country almost every day. Every hour we hear of gang rapes, of incest where fathers rape their children, of teachers raping students, of infants and little children being raped, of policemen, of politicians - there is just no respite. When and how will it stop?

In almost all cases I find little outrage or protest (save the Delhi incident). There is some protest and it all dies down. We hear the same statements from people in power - they should be more careful, they should dress better, they should stay at home. Would they tell the women leaders in their parties to follow what they are advocating? I am sure they would not. In fact people in power should take the blame, feel the shame that they have not been able to discharge their duty and if nothing else, make amends and do something concrete about preventing further incidents. But they still blame the women, their friends and relatives - and absolve themselves of all blame. If we have a bunch of excuse seekers in power who prefer silence to action we cannot really expect any change. Life goes on. Another woman, another girl, another child and the same story again.

What happens to the rapists is best left to the law. But it's time this story moved to another plane. Let us face it - men cannot really accept women and their independence and success in our society. Men, even today get all their power from dominating over the one person they can dominate - the woman in the house, the maid, the helpless child, the school child, the lonely woman. Otherwise most men are mere apologies for life with no conviction, no power and no principles. Most men are happier looking for women they can control. Now how will an educated woman be controlled? She will be polite and nice but will she listen to any nonsense that the man may pile on her? In effect as women get more and more educated and free, the more insecure men will get. In time they will behave like the Taliban.

Man to woman, there is much difference. Men are by nature insecure, less focussed and indecisive. Women outscore men in many areas more so with their courage, conviction and capacity to love. They are the superior gender without any doubt. And they have been oppressed for all these years, perhaps with their own tacit approval, because they know that men will constantly sulk if they are challenged and beaten. It is better that men are made to feel superior. At least they won't sulk and will do some work.

But as I see it men will become more insecure and more desperate and frustrated and impotent as women get more independent, educated and stronger. It is then that men will hunt like animals in a pack like this. Worse, they will be led by people who have similar mindsets - what with the number of leaders with criminal cases sitting in our Assemblies and the Parliament. Nothing can be expected really from such a system. What one needs is not so much fats track courts but a solution that is sensitive, lasting and of a long term nature.

Yesterday I saw a small group of young girls and boys, about ten to fifteen, led by a couple of middle aged men, carrying candles and posters and sloganeering in our colony. I never saw anything like that in the past thirty years here. 'Hang the rapists' they were shouting, the fifteen year olds. How much anger must you have to want such vengeance. I wonder if this is what we should be teaching these children - about instant justice, about vengeance.

There are perhaps two ways to deal with this - one within and one without. First the within. If we have to learn anything from this incident and all those other incidents that go on, it is that we in society, men and women, must stand up when the smaller crimes are going on around us. It is a mindset, a diseased mindset that treats women in such fashion and that has to be condemned in our homes, in our neighbourhoods. Almost every house has a story - from the richest to the poorest, the highest to the lowest, successful to unsuccessful - women have and are being abused, molested and raped under the guise of family, tradition, culture and gender. Some subtly and some not so subtly. If we have to teach the youngsters to stand up and do what is right, it is best to show them by our actions. By cleaning up our homes.

Then the without. In public space the only way up for women is to assert themselves in the elections. They form half the population and they should have more representation in law making. They should have their own - and sensible ones - who can represent them more vocally and push with greater authority. The line has been crossed now and it is time women get together and stop being the sacrificing victims that men take for granted. If you do not want to stay at home and put up with all this nonsense, its high time women as a group control the politics. There are enough women leaders and if you ask me they are the ones who are more sensible, who have more guts and who appear to be real leaders. Most of them are articulate and grounded. Its time to pitch strongly for more women in law making to get some balance into this extremely chauvinistic and hypocritical society we live in. 

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