The sham and the shame

The sham of Women’s Day and the shame of being “India’s daughter”.

Even if you are not a very active user of any social media, ย you must have seen, read and/or forwarded messages containing text like “Celebrating Womanhood..Happy Women’s Day 2015” or something else on the similar lines. Chances are that your office might have been planned a small celebration for “thanking women for their contribution to [insert name here]’s success”. ย If you are an Indian woman, you must have politely smiled, replied with the dutiful “Thank You”s and gone ahead with your day, because you know in your heart, that celebrating Women’s Day in India, is the biggest sham of all.

Couple of days back, many of us came across snippets of the interview one of the co-accused of the Nirbhaya case, Mukesh Singh, gave to BBC for their documentary titled “India’s Daughter”. For those who might have forgotten, on December 16th 2012, a young 23-year old girl was brutally raped, horribly assaulted and thrown out of a moving bus by a group of 6 men to die in New Delhi late in the evening, along with a male friend. The story would have faded into oblivion, but for the fact that the girl survived, to recount the horror she went through. The news spread like wildfire and the entire country was shocked at the brutality of her assault. Protests took place all over the country, and people prayed in every corner hoping for the girl to survive. So much was the impact of the case, that Indian government had to fly her to Singapore, on the pretext of better care, when the doctors already knew that she wouldn’t survive.

The girl died on 29th December 2012. She was a bright student, from an under-privileged background, determined to do well. If she were alive, she would have been as old as me.

The BBC documentary was banned dutifully by our esteemed government, but BBC went ahead with the broadcast on 4th March 2015. I caught it here. Tears rolled from my eyes as I watched it, and it shuddered me to no end to imagine the pain and suffering the victim went through.

News channels and papers are full of debates about the statements given by the accused, the defense lawyers and the families of the accused. People are outraged at the audacity with which the defense lawyers defend the killers, but sadly, that doesn’t surprise me. What they said is probably the mindset of many Indian men, irrespective of their education. Because sensible thinking doesn’t depend on hordes of qualifications, but on sensible upbringing.

The rapists come from a delinquent background, and it was only a matter of time that they committed such a heinous crime. Poverty knows no morals, and such people are just dormant monsters, waiting to strike some innocent victim with the vindictiveness of their frustration and misplaced belief systems.

But poverty is not the only reason for such crimes. Any crime against a woman stemsย from the basic prejudiced thought – that a woman needs to be “shown her place”, each time she “crosses a boundary” like watching a movie post 6 pm, wearing jeans, possessing a mobile phone, using public transport to commute, hanging out with non-familial men, or daring to go anywhere alone without company. ย It doesn’t help that our law-makers too are owners of such thought process, and it is obvious that it will happen, because we choose our leaders among our own kind.

A lot can be and has been said about crimes against women. The documentary contains statements from many distinguished people, who have given very plausible solutions to contain these crimes. I won’t talk about this. But I will just like to point out, the shame I feel for my countrymen, each time I hear of yet another rape, assault, domestic violence, or eve-teasing incident. Maybe things are changing, but the change is too slow for my liking. How long will it take for my shame to percolate through the deepest strata of the society, I don’t know. But I certainly hope that the flame lit by the victim, very aptly named as Jyoti by her parents, won’t die down without concrete consequences.

Do you agree? Do you disagree? Do you have something to add? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

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Author: sanjeet.kathuria89@gmail.com

Blogger, avid reader and a home cook. A software engineer on weekdays and a dancer on the weekends. Yoga and coloring are the new flavors of my life. I love spending my time doing things that add meaning to my life, and that includes my beauty sleep as well! :D My weekends are often busier than my weekdays, for I enjoy trying out new things to do and new places to check out, but I always have time for an interesting conversation :)

9 thoughts on “The sham and the shame”

  1. My country seems more concerned about its image around the world than it is about tackling the issue. It starts with providing education to both boys and girls and teaching them that no life is worth more than the other.

      1. Agreed with you that we should tackle the root causes of it. But need of the hour is what damage that documentary can do. It affects us what west or the rest of the world think of us, can be witnessed by rejection of that internship application. Now what do you think that documentary will do to the experience of indian students going abroad or already there. You shared that it is good that they broadcasted it as it will make our country men realize what they really are. But do you think that this documentary will ever reach to the people like those convicts ever? Even if it reaches them lack of education may do mare harm than good. And educated class do not need such documentary to make them realize of their duties or courtesy. I share the same feelings as you about the condition of women in our country but we just cannot afford to loose our mind by the emotions. And last of all change is slow because we were slow. Somebody like mulayam singh still have parliament seat, IAS officers demands dowry or infact become one to increase their marriagablity, women accusing men of rape after a year of having a consensual sex, want a girlfriend but have problem if my sister is same to someone, everyone speaking of their rights and the list goes on. With all such problems every change to me if likable howsoever slow it may be. Atleast we are keeping tab of problems now, hope is all we have. And we better not loose it.
        P.S Sorry for poor English (I am keeping tab of it.)
        P.S.S I do not intend to oppose you I stand by your opinion, but we cannot give up on our countrymen they are ours.

        1. I will try and answer all questions you raised with valid justifications.
          >> It affects us what west or the rest of the world think of us, can be witnessed by rejection of that internship application
          Yes undoubtedly, that is a possible repercussion of this documentary, and it is not good. But the impact it will make to people’s mindset is huge. It tells us Indians what the world thinks of us, and honestly, I don’t think it is wrong. Let me explain further how.
          >> educated class do not need such documentary to make them realize of their duties or courtesy.
          Unfortunately, a lot of so-called “educated” men, harbor the same mindset as of those rapists. Yes it may shock you, but it is true. I have personally come across too many instances to count, and let me tell you, education doesn’t make as much difference to a forming a person’s mindset, as much as his/her upbringing does. If one has grown up seeing women in the family subjugated, or even hit, they tend to see the things through the same mirror, unless one is blessed with a sound sensibility of his own. Even Jyoti’s parents were not much educated, her dad was a laborer at the Airport. But it is how they chose to bring up their children, that made all the difference. This documentary is important because without this, men, educated men, will not realize how hard it is to be woman in this country, irrespective of education. I know no girl who has not been groped or eve teased even once in her life. And that should explain the sorry state of affairs.
          >> change is slow because we were slow
          Yes indeed, and that was my exact point. Our politicians, IAS officers and others do or think so because that’s the mindset they have been brought up, justified by happenings around them. Even now, a woman’s virginity is the single parameter of her “character”. Educated, well earning women are expected to reach home form work at 10 and still cook food for their beloved husbands, despite hiring maids and cooks. Because you see, “a woman’s place is in the kitchen.”
          Changing mindsets is very hard. Nobody has “I don’t respect women” written on their foreheads. But that’s why you need shocking footage like this documentary, because a change in mindset needs a push of that magnitude to drive across the point and force transformations.
          I don’t intend to give up on my countrymen, but I really feel they can do way way way better than what they are doing currently.
          Please don’t apologize for poor English, I am not all that good at it myself ๐Ÿ™‚
          Thanks,
          Sanjeet

  2. This is an awesome piece Sangeet! Hits the nail right on the spot. Glad you wrote it. What’s maddening ( and sad) is that it’s still a far cry for any of us to see real change..

  3. I appreciate your concern and desire to find a solution to the problem of crimes against women. However, I disagree with one assertion of yours: “Poverty knows no morals, and such people are just dormant monsters”. I believe, poverty is not a factor in such crimes. It is a matter of mindset, as you rightly identify, which spans all socio-economic classes.
    Incidentally, I was present for one evening for the anti-rape protests in New Delhi and had penned my experience in my blog here: http://vikaspraj.blogspot.com/2012/12/one-evening-at-raisina-hill.html . Do read and share your thoughts!

    1. Well yes, I agree with that. At the same time, there is a famous quote “morality exists only for the middle class”. I tried to imply it in that sense. Of course, it does boil down to mindset.

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