Sunday, 23 December 2012

A crying shame

As we approach the end of another year and look for reasons to celebrate new beginnings, the horror of the past week is relayed to us with each passing minute. A young girl struggles for her life while the perpetrators of a heinous crime ask to be hanged with false bravado. This is only one incident, horrific and shameful, there are such happening everyday in every village town and city. Acid attacks, rapes, molestations, crimes against women are on the rise. There are those which are committed against young boys, perhaps the percentage is less, the figures are not important. What is important is that we as a society are slowly but surely slipping into an abyss of moral degradation.

Why are children not safe with "uncles" who look after them? Why are they sodomized so that it leaves a permanent scar on their psyche? We have to look at the reasons for these and other crimes like female foeticide, female infanticide to see what then leads to other crimes. We live in a society which is considered religious spiritual and perhaps because of these, moral..... but the very sorry fact is that those same men who pray to Goddesses and worship them with reverence do not care a whit while doing dastardly acts. Where have we gone wrong? We live in a male dominated society, with women even now covering their faces amidst their male counterparts. In an age when there is progressive thought all around, the unfortunate fact is that this has not seeped down to the smaller towns and villages where even the male is considered the more powerful and the female counterpart is kept under severe restrictions. Without going into specifics, there are pockets where a female child is most unwelcome,and instantly killed at birth... and these are the ones which are brought to light, the norm is that the the birth of a female child is not welcome. She is considered a burden while the male child is considered auspicious because he will carry forward the family name, be the one who will perform the last rites, considered so sacred to the 'Hindu'. Are we governed by our religious leanings and traditional way of thinking so much so that we cannot even consider gender equality and respect for each and every individual and break through this mire of  dead thought? Why have we fallen so such abysmal depths where we cannot see that a country can only reach its optimal progress when each and every individual regardless of gender is given equal opportunity. Why is there even now so much backwardness in remote areas ? Why, in small towns even to this day are women considered safer when they are at home. Why do we have this very 'protective' attitude toward the 'weaker sex' ? Look at yourselves, are you protecting the women of your families from others or from your own selves? Around you in cities where women are considered more emancipated , however much that may be, there will always be a male who will dominate. Is it about the male ego and the power which he wields over the female? Are we giving wrong signals to our children at home, in schools where we nurture them?  Why is the female population less in percent to males? Are we teaching our coming generations to become beasts or can we instil in them the humanity which is so sorely needed?

What of police action in the last two days? Does a peaceful protest require brutality? Where did the lumpen elements come from .. and this is not a question which needs much thought... there is political backing ...people are sent to break any kind of uprising and then there are those who want maximum mileage out of the anger which is seething within the general public and this is not for any one stray incident... it has been brewing for long, it is now making itself felt and is shouting in the many voices of young India for justice. Justice not only for women but in the larger sense justice towards each and every issue which plagues our society.

Let us just consider a small issue of making a complaint to the police, filing an FIR, it is not easy, most of the time it is not done at once, in many cases specially in remote areas where there are crimes the police does not even care to listen to the victims as they as there is connivance between them and the powers that be in that area. How can justice be meted out to the normal law abiding citizen when those that are considered to be protectors of law and order do not abide by the very law they protect.?

Then comes this whole social issue of how a woman is tainted when a crime is perpetrated on her. When we consider the female to be the weaker , in need of protection  and societal pressures make it difficult for a woman to even come out and speak up for herself. What kind of society is this which allows for the victim to hide and the criminal to roam free with his head held high?  Where are we heading in this endless race for power in this deep unending pit of corrupt practices. Is this the result we get from the many years of fighting for freedom? A country can only be free when its people are free to express with rational thought, where reasonable and quick action is taken , where criminals are not protected by the powerful who are as corrupt as them, where values taught in childhood remain until the end and do not get caught up in the quagmire of  a system which decries honesty.

Until then we will cry ourselves hoarse when the next big issue comes up, and we will never ever be able to come out of the rut of our old ways and move towards a a really democratic society.

While the young girl ' Nirbhaya ' struggles for her life ... there is another crime happening elsewhere. How many more 'Nirbhaya's' are we going to create. We have to create a climate which is abhaya, a fearless society where there is mutual respect where one can walk with head held high with pride. I do not see this happening so soon but the seeds have been sown ...... it takes time for a tree to grow and bear fruit. I am waiting for the sprouts to show themselves so that I can be assured that with proper nurture the tree will grow strong.