By- Abhishek Dey
The recent rape disaster in the capital of India seems to have evoked the emotions of both the enlightened and not enlightened class of the world’s largest democracy. The act, certainly, was pathetic to such an extent that no sane human mind could dare think of. The barbarians, not only assaulted the lady in a moving bus, but also stripped her and drilled an iron rod deep into her. The inhuman act of drilling the rod wasn’t covered by any of the national newspapers, not at least any leading daily in New Delhi. I would personally thank them for such concealment. However, disclosure of this insane undisclosed act, which raises questions on the very human civilization, did not take much time. Thanks to the Social media. The new virtual Jesus, breeding awareness and doing the holy task of showing us light, guiding us to overcome the dark state of fearlessness that we are in.
That could be your sister, your wife, your friend or your mother too happened to be the bottom line of most of the text messages that people shared this Tuesday instead of kinky jokes, ancient proverbs or highly romantic quotations which, to be honest, highly annoy me. The textual rebellion showed no signs of indolence, nor did it seem to be bothered by the inhibitions of the TRAI.
People were interviewed in the recent Lok Sabha session too, but the poorly constructed statements and the inarticulate interviews clearly showed that our mighty representatives were far too occupied in debating over the proposed bill on reservations for the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in regard to promotions in government offices, while some were still under the trauma of the decade old spirit called FDI. So ridiculous of the press which hardly gets any opportunity to express itself from the core of its heart!
The shock received on reading the news, the textual rebellion and highly influential role of the social media culminated to a protest, early morning at 9, in India Gate this Saturday (Dec 22nd) – A gathering of mostly the privileged class of the metropolitan, I mean to say, people like us. This is where the issue arises. My evil sceptic mind raised a dozen questions. As in, what would such a protest bring? Whom was the protest targeted at? Inescapable law reforms, what difference shall they make? Impart education, but what exactly?
A protest doesn’t posit a solution. As the Oxford dictionary suggests, a protest is “a statement or action expressing disapproval of or objection to something”. Well, in true meaning of the word, holding a protest against such utter inhumanity did make sense. But what are the underlying emotions that were intended to be moved? If any, whose emotions were they? The answer is simple, It would perturb the, unless otherwise, calm composure of our minds and make us empathize in a way that “Yes, it could be our sisters or spouses too”. What is expected next by the mass? Does it expect us to impose restrictions on the other gender? That, in no way, would be a rational solution in this era of so called gender equality. So, if we, somehow, happen to be the target of the protest, I apologize, we are ‘helpless’ and if the protest targets our mighty representatives, no offence, in this regard, they are useless.
The mass demanded that the accused be hanged till death (surprisingly, some even demanded a Taliban punishment), which, according to them, would help curbing the possibility of the occurrence of such inhumanity in future years. But what I fear is whether these beasts amongst us actually think of the consequences before they commit such unforgivable sins? If my fear, to the slightest extent, proves to be true, then the legal reforms are, in no way, going to achieve their ends.
The only question that remains unanswered is, would imparting education actually contribute positively to the scenario? As I see, the concerned crime was not merely driven by greed and lust. Repressed hatred and disgust contributed equally to the horrendous act. So, what exactly would our traditional package of education cover? The accused might have received their primary education somewhere, sometime, we, perhaps, are unaware of. Clearly, that doesn’t help.
What about the educated and enlightened rapists? The ones who belong to the higher strata of the society. What about the silence behind the bedroom doors when a wife is raped by her husband in the name of fulfillment of marital duties which, the institution of marriage, had imposed upon her at some date in the long or recent past? When a ‘teacher’ rapes the student in a classroom? How shall we educate them? Why is always the underprivileged class looked down upon pejoratively with disgust and scepticism?
Having spent enough time in this valley of the rapes or the rape city (That’s what people term this metropolitan these days), what adds to my aversion, is the way the males are brought up. The very expressions: “You are my son. My in-laws would probably have kicked me out if you were born female”, “You are my son. Your birth did not turn your father indebted to a bunch of losers who would have come to take you away with them at the time of your wedding if, and only if, you were a girl”, “You are a boy. You possess the right to be dark, unlike a girl; the right to be bold, unlike a girl; and the right to be educated, unlike a girl whose only duty in life is to satisfy the male patriarchs- her father, her brothers, her husband and her sons in different stages of her life, and fulfill their needs, come what may” are ingrained into the systems of the male progenies the day they come out of their mothers’ womb, who, ironically, happen to be females.
Inequalities within the families spice up to make the whole thing worse. Who doesn’t know of families where the sons are sent to schools whereas the daughters are forced to learn household chores! Aren’t there families, where a teenage maid servant is treated like a Greek slave in the Roman empire! Well, so where would the values necessary to build a character come from? Who would teach to respect the other gender, teach of justice and equality (to be honest, they never formed a part of my school curriculum)?
Now doesn’t that seem intertwined with a number of social evils that we already know of? A lot of reasons to rape and be raped for!
Nelson Mandela quoted, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”. My belief in his statement is conditional. How would a hungry person quench his/her thirst of education before making settlements with his /her day-long, or probably week-long, hunger? And what would actually enlighten the section of the society which happens to be Educated, yet uneducated? Firstly, the process of purification that involves character building, eradication of all prevalent social evils, and imparting values would take decades. Secondly, neither the ‘Process’ nor the protest would bring any significant betterment in the life of the lady who has lost, if nothing, then at least the existence of her happier self, which ironically happens to be everything.
After those unforeseen decades of hard work and extermination of all the prevailing evils, Respect, Justice and Equality shall be claimed to have been learnt, and that would expectedly curb Rapes.
I am tired of the phone calls I receive from the people of my beloved hometown Guwahati, asking me the actual deal about this big city, asking me if it has actually turned into an unsafe valley of sins, asking me if they can still think of sending their children to the renowned university in the city and expect them to be safe at the same time. Not to mention the sexual assaults that we, the North-Easterns, have always faced in the capital city. I, honestly, don’t have any answers. While, tonight I received calls from my fellow Assamese mates in Bangalore and Pune, asking me if a person like me (that’s how they usually address me) had joined the protest. Each time I said “No”, I could hear them sigh “disgrace!”, while I stood flustered and speechless.