On Women, Rapes and Medieval India
There’s something very wrong going on with the world we live in. No, I am not talking about the abysmal performance of the Indian cricket team, Sachin not retiring, or even global warming. This is about the increasingly horrid news stories we’ve been hearing these past few days.
There was a trauma center in the Indian capital where four people died in the ICU because its oxygen suply ran out. A politician who killed a cop for trying to stop him from molesting the cop’s daughter. A 14 year-old who raped a 7 year old girl. A man who got sent to jail for raping his own, gasp, daughter. And the latest – a young girl battling for her life after being gangraped in a moving bus, again, in Delhi. An assault so brutal that even doctors treating her are shocked. And these are all stories that get reported; there’s no telling how much more worse stuff is happening in our cities and villages.
Calling the perpetrators of these ghastly crimes as people would be wrong, for they are clearly not human. More like some abomination straight out of a science experiment gone wrong in a Hollywood thriller. Or results of a defect in god’s assembly line that their QA team failed to catch and discard.
Maybe somewhere down the line, the human evolution graph reached a local maxima (which probably coincided with people like Gandhi and Ambedkar), before starting its slow reversal back to prehistoric times, which brings us to today. Of times where a brother cuts off his sister’s head for bringing dishonor to their family. Of times where khap panchayats are going strong and people get killed by their own families for marrying someone the elders don’t approve of. Of people who get away with dastardly crimes because of flaws in our law enforcement, and others who try to pin blame on rape victims, because apparently men turn into animals at the sight of skin. If only their mothers had slapped them when they first made a crass comment about a girl, the criminal might have been nipped in the bud.
It’s all very depressing. There can’t be much hope for a society that can’t respect its women. It all probably starts from the environment at home, where husbands treat their wives like a servant whose only job is to bear boys, cook food, wash clothes, and get beaten up when they are upset. Because the pati is parmeshwar, isn’t he? Their boys grow up seeing this, and for them women are mere objects to be dominated and controlled. They then get into schools and colleges where they start off teasing and making rude jokes about their female classmates. The cycle goes on.
What is the way out? Outraging on Twitter for a week about the Delhi gangrape, and then forgetting all about it? Candle-light vigils outside India Gate? Baying for capital punishment/castration for rapists? Letting the Parliament not function for a few days, which seems to be how our elected representatives get work done?
I don’t know, and I doubt there is a simple answer. We definitely need better law enforcement, a legal process that acts as a deterrent and doesn’t let people get away despite committing heinous crimes, and very importantly, a political establishment that gives the matter its due importance, and doesn’t think that its job is done after a trip to the hospital and announcement of a lakh or so in cash to someone who got pushed off a running train by people trying to rape them.
Above all, we need a change of attitude. Men need to start treating their women with respect. Parents need to teach their boys that girls are their equals, and it is never acceptable to abuse them. Meanwhile, women need to learn some basic kicks and punches, just in case, and always remember that most men will not be able to stand straight after a kick in the nuts.
It might also help if they stopped showing all the regressive nonsense that passes off as real-life-inspired soaps on TV. The other option is that we start aborting the girl child, because clearly we as a society don’t deserve women anymore.
[Image courtesy: The Hindu]