`India Of Our Dreams`?
By Ananya S Guha
I simply cannot describe my feelings. The word Rape, recurs in my thoughts as a totally de -mystified entity. I associate it with the worst kind of demonic attacks, as devout Christians would call it. Twenty three years old Damini after waging a relentless war against death, incarnate in her assailants finally caved in. To say that I am feeling terrible is just an approximation to the truth. Even tears do not come into my inert eyes, as I think of the rod piercing her body.
Anger is hurt transformed at times. Anger is something which makes us go to primal atavistic ways. Here anger is not enough, laws will not help, the worst has come, death in its most primordial fashion. Did she or her family deserve this agony, this unmitigated barbaric behaviour, committed by people she never knew?
What did she do to deserve this immolation?
Even as I watch the television, with young women weeping, the tears are no longer idle. They are not deliberated but to expiate for our sins. They come down in torrents, because we know not why, why, why and how?
All these thirteen days, we deluded ourselves into thinking she will survive. A wrong after all has to be righted. There is after all a God in this evil ridden universe. But this did not happen, and the capital city of our country, where this happened, wears an eclipsed, fallen look. This surely is the Free Fall of Man, of civilization, of a Nation which boasts of a hoary civilization and culture. All this is reduced to an unsavoury truth or untruth, a bohemian claptrap.
All the protests which took place were an indication of sheer insecurity. But our leaders, read politicians did not understand the signifier: all that the protesters wanted were empathy and comfort, an assurance that such an incident would not be repeated, call it making new and stringent laws, fast track courts, whatever. Yet in their infinite wisdom our leaders refused to address the protestors, young, hurt, men and women.
What is the assurance now?
All kinds of suggestions are rife: fast track courts, non bailable offence, arrest warrant what have you. Theories will not explain away the fact that the worst form of atavism, took place in this hyped developing country, which is regressing, as an antinomy to progressing, to limits of infinitude.
Her name is no longer a cloistered secret. She is dead after all.
We should hang our heads in shame, even as the tears do not moisten in her parents` eyes.
She may rest in peace; I pray for that, we can`t. It is a collective responsibility and our capital city the historic Delhi is a witness, once again to a sordid history.
How does a sitting Member of Parliament and the son of the President of our country make an irresponsible and insensitive statement that the protesters assembled in India Gate over one of the worst type of criminal and sexual assaults in our country, were women all painted and decked up? The statement shows utter disregard for a crime of the vilest proportions. It also shows a canny disrespect towards the community of women especially in our country.
Instead of finding solutions to the present crisis, and assuaging the fear of the youth our politicians have treated this problem as a law and order problem. The protests are not lawlessness; the protests are an indelible stamp of anger at sexual and criminal misbehaviour. Moreover, the youth feel very insecure and also fear that their rights to individual liberty and freedom are being trampled upon. It is not a question of moral court or dress behaviour. It is a question of human dignity and survival in the midst of such dignity being trampled upon and violated in the worst manner, due to lawlessness of people. Moreover, the brutal callousness of the public over the incident as the lady and her friend lay in utter helplessness for three hours is also a cause for fear. If such incidents are repeated then who will come to the rescue of the victims?
And in the midst of such turmoil when the capital of the country is emersed in a civil war of sorts, we have a Member of Parliament making sly digs at the women community. He has to just look around and see what is happening in the country. Rape and molestation are the orders of the day. Around that time when this took place in Delhi, at least three incidents of rape and molestation took place in different parts of the country. Even now the reports are pouring in of such cases in places such as Mumbai and Punjab, the media covers this up exotically by calling them “alledged cases”. Everything is alledged; nothing is proved even when the victim commits suicide as in Punjab. In this incident it simply happens that it took place in Delhi, because of which the public of the country got more light on it. Otherwise, it would have receded into the background. The clever ploy of the media is to use words like alledgedly and then hide the facts. But this could not be done to the Delhi episode considering the animal behaviour of the criminals and the gross public misconduct of bystanders and the people around who must have seen the lady lying for hours.
Does not the venerable Member of Parliament know this? Does he not know that public sentiments have been aroused not only because of the rape but the brutality involved in dumping her by the road side and inflicting physical injuries of the worst kind? She has already had three operations, how many ordeals will she go through, or for that matter her family members. I have never seen such a despicable situation in my life, in the country where everyone is so deeply hurt and agitated at such atavistic human behaviour.
Simply an apology and retracting one’s statement and that too an irresponsible statement will not do. Also, the blame game of the politicians must stop, and the media must restrain sensationalizing the death of a police constable, by unravelling Yes and Nos, regarding his death. His death is equally unfortunate but we must understand that the public, especially the young, both men and women are terribly afraid and insecure.
It is all over. A friend, who teaches Philosophy in an American University, wrote to me saying that this has always been happening in New Delhi, since she knew the place since the seventies when she was a student. Yes, we remember the Sanjay and Geeta Chopra case which had rocked and shamed the country. Sujan Dutta The Telegraph (Kolkata) correspondent says that he feels ashamed, ashamed of all the sexist lewd jokes he has cracked, ashamed of making comments against women and matters which show our male sex-centricity.
It is tragically embedded in our Indian psyche and consciousness, which boasts, especially in some parts of the country of a conservatism. But behind the curtains ugly scenes take centre stage. Behind the curtains women are targetted with the lewdest and lascivious jokes. Jokes doing the rounds in the new avatar of the mobile phone are sexist and `rapist` in nature.
It is very good that we are doing a deep down introspection, and trying to expiate for our sins. But we have to right the wrong, and carry the mortal remains of this valiant woman to its logical conclusion – that is, punishment to the rapists, and a grim warning to those who follow suit. After all these things are happening, because people think that they will get away. It is amazing how synchronistic things are, even now we hear of similar happenings, in Delhi, Punjab, Manipur, Meghalaya and Mumbai. How many such cases have taken place `silently` which have gone unreported?
The India of our dreams, has become nightmarish, the depraved and the corrupt exist in all walks of life. How do we take it out of this deep seated quagmire? What developments are we talking about, when there is a moral and spiritual devolution of the worst order, a `descent` of man and mankind?
What must be going on in the family of this woman, as death as disrupted rudely, simple middle class lives? It is not a who dunit, it is why we have done it? What is wrong with our collective conscious? We need to have a look at the TV serials and soap operas we produce, which family after family watch, with eyes sticking on to the sets like glue? Violence and sex are shown on these shows with crass impunity. There must be an embargo on such proliferation, on the use of mobile phones by the youth, with a National Screening committee to come out with findings and restrictions. The film actors today, who are weeping crocodile tears, forget that it is the Hindi Film scene that has initiated such culpability since a long time. Now of course most of the regional languages are following suit with aplomb.
India of our dreams – dream away till the scent of these nightmares vanish, dream away till such putrefaction, does not stink but smells of roses, odoriferous, bearing stamp of human dignity. The India of our dreams, weep, weep till the tears do not dry but are aromatic of fecundity, respect for the poor, downtrodden, victims of sexist violence, female foetice and yes, oh yes, jubilitating at the birth of a girl child.