Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Rape: The National shame--Groping for Solution


    I do not know if more crime reported equates to the Indian media's vigilance and sensitivity in highlighting/reporting such crime. I do know that sexual exploitation and abuse is a global malice and not restricted to India alone. While I rejoice that the media and press enjoys more freedom in my country, I cannot but help getting jitters  that every day there is news of such crime on children, women and vulnerable people.  Sexual assault and abuse is not specific to India yet the blatant and abased nature/intensity of crimes in the recent times has shaken us all. 

We have seen some politicians and spiritual gurus hold views regarding women, crime against women and solutions for such malice, which are deplorable to say the least and harmful at best- Views like western values taking hold of youths-jeans, short skirts; even stepping out to work is touted as being the real culprits behind the evil. Views like "Jab tak mahila tirchi najar se nahi dekhegi, tab tak purush use nahi chedega" (No man will harass a woman till she looks at him in a suggestive manner)," Satyadev Katare.

 It is felt by many that our “Bharat” is un-corrupted and these incidences have mushroomed only in recent “India”. So have the hell homes erupted overnight as India stepped into the 20th century?Well let us take a glance at our heritage to gain a better perspective. Let us analyze the status of women as depicted in Mahabharata. Kunti who was asked by her father to serve a spiritual guru became an unwed mother. Even though she was a princess and had her father’s sanction to gain the mysterious mantra, she was not immune to social pressure and had to give up her son Karna. Marriage was made to seal powerful alliance among kings. In most cases the women had to bow down for the greater good and wed men old enough to be their father. Then there is the case of sanctioned rape of Amba and Ambalika, who were so petrified that one is said to have given birth to a blind and other to a pale sickly child. Draupadi was bartered off as a possession by her gambling husband - humiliated while the elders kept mum and watched.

 Draupadi however was no timid women and vowed not to tie her hair till the men who humiliated her were destroyed. Even during the time of Raghuvanshi Ramachandra there was an Ahalaya who was tricked by Indra posing to be her husband and then turned into stone by her fuming husband for no fault of hers.

 Questions rise about whether it was necessary to disfigure Suparnekha because she was bold enough to propose to two Aryan men. Could there not have been a better way to handle the transgression, especial by a woman from an alien culture (perhaps where it was normal for women to be bold). This could have averted Sita’s apaharan and the subsequent war.

 Apart from mythology our history bears evidence of suffering lonely queens and salve women in kings enclosed harems. While accepting that the past has been glorious in some ways- but not without its fair share of flaws- we have to progress towards a better future. We cannot blame modernity, urbanization or western influence for the degradation of our values. Human beings have evolved from the Neolithic age and hence we cannot keep regressing to our past with the hope that we can have the perfect society we think we had. Let us ask a Draupadi, Sita or some of the queens to gain a better perspective if that society was indeed ideal for women.

Even the recent history provides no respite. As an university student in Hyderabad, we had to rally for better security in our campus, following the gang rape of a fellow student by miscreants from outside the university. The girl by the way was dressed appropriately (some hold the believe that the traditional saree and salwar kameej are appropriate dress code for women who do not want to be raped in India) in "salwar kameez" and was on her way to the library in the afternoon (not any bar or pub). Marriage brought me to Delhi and studies and work took me outside the Lakshman Rekha of home. While there are many beautiful memories attached to Delhi, my “Delhi meri jaan hai” image of the country’s capital was permanently scarred when exposed to the episodes in crowded buses or deserted streets.

 The schools, neighborhood and home too are no longer a safe haven. I am sure harsher punishment, certainty of decree, fast track courts, better law and order are all legitimate demands. However they alone cannot become a deterrent for crime. The root of crime lies in our attitude and mentality and no law can change that. The criminal or psychopath mind is indeed infecting our society like virus.

 A psychopath is an individual with a different kind of a mind devoid of empathy, sympathy, positive emotions and selflessness. Such an individual gains a perverse sense of power or control by victimizing others. Such an individual desires only self-satisfaction through the pain of the victim.

Why is our society giving rise to so many psychopaths?

Perhaps when we seek and find answer to this question we will be able to root out crime from society. It is said poverty resulting in alienation, apathy and anger, lack of education and mostly value education provides a conducive environment for a psychopath being to breed. There is no easy solution to this difficult problem scourge in our time and hence we need to resolve it from all possible direction.  

Points to ponder 
  1. Why is liquor so easily available? Why are there no liquor licensing system instituted for individuals?
  2. What purpose does pornographic materials, pornographic site  and objectification of women serve, other than training human mind to crave for tasteless pleasure?  What freedom of expression/ experience and progress are we denying our-selves if these are removed altogether? How about being progressive enough to legalize prostitution and give certain vulnerable individuals a chance to live a humane life.
  3. Why is there no statutory body to regularly inspect juvenile homes/shelters etc?
  4. What happened to compulsory child education, adult literacy for slum dwellers ?
  5. Why is there no compulsory value education instituted into into our educational system? 
  6. Why are politicians and people in authority not held culpable for irresponsible statement? 


Ankit Khandelwal said...

Rightly said, as long as we are not able to modernize our thoughts, fast track courts and laws will not be sufficient enough.

Minakhee Mishra said...

Completely in agreement with U Ankit:)

Follow by Email