Sunday, December 30, 2012

CANDLE IN THE WIND


I held back the urge to write about her. I don’t know why. Deep down there was this hope that she would survive.  Her survival, in my mind had become something symbolic  and akin to hope for a new tomorrow, where there would be greater safety and equality for about half of our country’s population. I  don’t know her name. I don’t want to! She represents to me multiple identities of Indian womanhood all rolled into one ! Needless to say, ever since I heard about her death, I feel very down . My mind wants to believe that there is hope and that things will change for us.

But will her death change anything is the question? Will better legislation really result in better implementation? Those brutes in Delhi will definitely get convicted- not because of what they did or the media hype. But because they were who they were –nobodies! They were not sons of politicians or rich business men or some  powerful honcho.  For every rapist who actually gets convicted there are a few thousands who roam free! There will be some talk about this young girl until, the media finds something new to report on and our attention shifts to something else! And status quo will prevail!

Rape unfortunately is a crime that is very complex- particularly in our context. Our social structure makes the entire crime sound like a “virginity-virtue” thing! In fact if you analyze the word for rape in many languages it actually means that. For e.g in Tamil many people use the word “Karpu Azhipu” or “Removal of chastity” or colloquially the word that is used is “Keduthuthan” which means “spoilt her”! In a society that thinks like this is it strange that many thousands of rapes remain unreported?

I do not watch many Indian movies nowadays but during the 70s to 90s any movie that had a rape would show the woman commit suicide or being made to marry the rapist-  both being the worst possible options thrown up by a society that points to her as the reason behind the crime-“ Why was she out in the evening?” “ Why did she go alone?”  and so on!!

A social system that still thinks like this is definitely not going to survive rape or rapists!

Preventing rape is not something that can be achieved only by law enforcers. It is something that each one of us can do if we decide to change ourselves. Parents need to bring up their sons to respect girls and women. And such respect needs to be something that children see as they grow up , in behavior that their parents exhibit. If a father is violent to his wife in the  presence of his son violence against women will be internalized by the child no matter how much of indoctrination is done through lessons and books about the need to respect women. A boy child who sees discriminatory practices at home when it comes to the way he and his sister are treated internalizes the fact he is “superior” and can get away with anything – including rape!

If women are treated as commodities then people will aim to gain “control” over them! How many movies show sexual harassment of women masquerading as courtship! Is it strange that a population that is brought up on a diet of such movies should find it difficult to believe that when a woman says “No” she means it?

What we are seeing today is not a protest against a particular incident! It is a culmination of frustration that has built up over decades! A frustration against a legal system that drags its feet  and when it does convict someone of rape the loopholes are so large that the criminal can easily wriggle out….For the first time people seem to be questioning the system.

A moment in the life of a maturing democracy… some might say! Will it  pass or will it stay? The candle held on for nearly two weeks before it was extinguished. Point is, whether the other candles lit with the light of this little flickering one will continue to show us light or will there be complete darkness now that the light is extinguished?

I want to vote for light!  I want to vote for hope, safety and equality. I want to see in the new year, a new world where there are no more women fighting for their dignity or their life.

 

10 comments:

Divya said...

Good one! Even I had wanted her to survive...a part of me went numb when I heard the news of her death...I know these people will get convicted coz they were nobodies - we all know how justice was delayed (the Jessica Lal case, for example) when the perpetrators of injustice are big shots....I hope all these protests do yield in a better tomorrow and do not just die after a while...We seem to only live in the moment...once the moment passes, we seem to forget about it and move on!

SG said...

You are absolutely right. Parents need to bring up their sons to respect girls and women.

May she rest in peace.

rama said...

I too feel the same, and your last para sums it up aptly.
Happy New and Evolved India!!

anilkurup said...

The heinous creatures that are in jail now for their deeds will be convicted. It is certainly an open and shut case, unless a Ram Jethmalani descends like the savior of felons. And they will be convicted because they are as you said, not from the lobby of the powerful.
I think that we must now keep aside all emotional outbursts and try to see (surely expert professional scan) as to what provoked these creatures to do this ghastly deed. What went through their minds when the inflicted such brutality on the poor girl? Surely there must be something wrong in them, in their grooming, their ideas about women and so on. The case is an apt one for intense study by psychologists and sociologists.
This is a deep rooted malice that has afflicted the society and mere dispensation of what we call justice by means of punishment will not help to eliminate or control the scourge.

Jack said...

Meera,

Though I wish to hope that there will be some perceptible change but am not very optimist. Sad but this too will become part of statistics in a few weeks. It is not just legal system or police but whole system including society which needs to be purged. Unless women who are part of society stand for their right place, no change in mindset of men can be expected. It is really unfortunate that elder women who faced and resented such discrimination in their younger days become part of society system favouring male children. Hand that rocks the cradle rules the world is what can make mothers inculcate respect for girls in the mind of their sons by treating both as equals.

Take care

Rahul Bhatia said...

A sad commentary of the state of affairs! The change of attitudes towards women is the need of the hour!

Rhapsody B. said...

Namaste & Happy New Year...
Ah powerful peace and some significantly potent points. The problem is social, political, spiritual and steeped in patriarchal ethos that creates such warped gender socialization.

Each person can make a difference, every small act counts for the future generations of men and women. You are correct when you say boys must be rared to respect girls, parents must take into account their behavior patterns that they pass along to their children in the form of pathology. Girls must be rared to respect their selves, to have a voice and to know and understand their autonomy.

Great post.

Meera Sundararajan said...

Thanks folks for all your comments. I am glad that everyone feels this need for change. Let us hope that this incident indeed brings about the bigger change!

'Lara said...

Great post here...I had a post on my blog awhile back on who will train our boys...the education parents impact in their boy child goes a long way to affect his character in future.

Likw you I also vote for light, a beautiful future where women would not be afraid of the men.

Kalpana Solsi said...

Yes, I too want her to survive. But what shocked me was an interview of another surviving rape victim who said that death is a better option than living. She had lived to tell her tale of horror and exploitation and wished was an end to all the trauma. I have no answers to this.

Post a Comment

 
;