The country’s capital, known for its rich history and heritage, is in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. For the benefit of those who have not yet heard or read about this latest phenomenon, amplified thanks to the power of social media, here is a brief summary of events.
A medical student in her twenties, who was traveling with her male friend in a bus from Munirka to Uttam Nagar area in west Delhi, was gang-raped by a group of men inside the moving bus and thrown off the vehicle near Mahipalpur in south Delhi on the night of 16th December 2012. I do not wish to dwell on the specifics of the incident or the police investigation thereafter, for the plain reason that you can read it elsewhere. In a country where sensationalism is the bread and butter, so to speak, of the big-wig media houses; it’s not hard to find gory details about this incident. What I find interesting, is the nation’s response to this shameful act. The whole country is up in arms, while calls for protests are flooding websites like Facebook and Twitter.
It does seem like we have had enough.
The amount of dissent has reached such proportions, that our politicians are now compelled to talk about the situation. Now that’s quite an achievement for our society as a whole. The Chief Minister, Home Minister and Police Commissioner to name a few, have faced full-fledged criticism and are now under the gun to initiate some sort of change. In a span of 3 days, since when the incident was reported, the amount of activity on social media websites related to this incident has garnered such tremendous response, that it can’t be ignored any further.
What strikes me as particularly disturbing; is the new-found zeal to debate regarding the best form of punishment for the accused.
Hang them? Parade them in public? Let the victim shoot them? Castrate them? These are some of the suggestions and ideas that I came across, while people were discussing vehemently.
Why is the ‘aam aadmi’ entertaining such macabre thoughts?
The present laws are not harsh enough of course! How can we deter rapists and eve-teasers if our laws are not a reflection of the severity of the crime?
So are we implying that, equating rape with murder will ensure more women do not get raped? Is it a fool-proof method of saving our women-folk? Will fear of prosecution/conviction actually decrease the frequency of these incidents? It seems more like wishful thinking coupled with old-school barbarianism if you ask me.
In a land where the female form has always led a life of duality, one of the pious mother/wife and the other of the evil witch/vixen, it is but evident that the problem is not with the law.
The problem lies way deeper, within the labyrinth of the male psyche. Conflicting ideologies would be my best guess for this sort of sociopathic behaviour. Conflict caused by an existing image of a ‘Mother figure’ who embodies love, trust and purity as opposed to the ‘Modern Temptress’ who is attributed as western above everything. Torn between these images we are witnessing the coming of age of a new breed of men, who are confused and insecure about their feelings towards the fairer sex and thus develop these twisted notions on how to deal with them.
But of course, I’m not a psychologist. And I do not intend to provide a profile of the ‘Indian rape victim’ or the ‘Indian Rapist’.
The one point I’m trying very hard to make is that, people are misguided. Our fears and feelings of angst are misguided.
Sitting on a desk and planning a protest on Facebook for the cruelty faced by women in our country is a fabulous idea. I wish you all good luck with your protests and calls for change.
However, I would not count on them to actually make a change.
On behalf of our society, I offer my condolences to the ladies. Again.