Rape: Enraged India Seeks Change

If one peeps into the farthest reaches of history, one finds that rape has been around for a very long time. Predominantly it is the male who is the aggressor with tendencies to dominate and force the women to do something against their will. The idea of power and anger work as the motivating forces behind sexual violence. Yet, it is ironical that such cases of sexual assault, rape and abuse to the women are the least reported.

In India, abuse of power by policemen recruited through corruption are found conniving in crimes instead of preventing it. Politicians with criminal cases not only fight elections but also win them using their goonda muscle power. This leads to a complete degradation of law and social order with a judiciary system that takes decades to settle even simple cases. The masses of India, therefore, instead of feeling secured, look at the administration, policing, governance and judiciary with Skepticism. One wonders if India really got freedom!

However, last week’s gang rape of the 23 year old girl on December 16, 2012 – brutally terrorized and tortured with coercive sexual assaults – who battles for her life* in Safdarjung hospital in New Delhi has enraged the youth of India. The photos of the protests that have been going on ceaselessly - appear almost like a revolt! - candidly reveal the angry mood of young India that seeks change.  [*She died on December 29, 2012]

The change to live in a free and civilized society.

The Gender Imbalance

A biased mindset has been created and perpetuated over the millennia by the patriarchal structure of the Indian society favoring male children over the girl child that has brought about the gender imbalance or sex ratio. 

In Quest of Mokhsha
In the Hindu religion, sons are also wanted because it is believed that when a person dies, if he / she is cremated by his / her son, (mukhagni), lighting the funeral pyre, he/she will either attain Moksha or go to heaven. That's why there is so much hankering for a son. Women, even if they want to bid their last farewell to their family members, they are not allowed to light the pyre. It's done by the next of kin, always a man, thinking that it will give the departed soul - liberation or a smooth transmigration.

- Input by Aparna Chatterjee

This cultural pressure on the women to give birth to sons is imposed with a preconceived notion that a male child is an “asset” since he can supposedly earn and support the family. On the other hand a daughter is considered as a “liability” since she will eventually be married off to another family, and so will not contribute financially to her parents. The notion is further underscored by the burden of raising a dowry – although legally banned in India – for a daughter's marriage.

The widespread sex-determination technology available today is being grossly abused leading to selectively aborting female fetuses as a social custom. The familial abuse and violence persists in brutalizing the mother for bearing girls and disobeying the family’s decision to abort the child. In case the mothers disobey the husband’s family decision to abort the female fetus and report it to the authorities, there seems to be none or negligible support. The FIRs are not encouraged and when they do get filed, the judicial system delays the justice or gives a light sentence. It is also ironic that the mother-in-laws who themselves are women are either found a party to such tragedies or totally helpless under the bullying diktats of the patriarchal structure.

Thus, the preference of a male child becomes the precursor of discrimination and parents tend to neglect the girl child. Crudely, the boy will get food first, the girl last; the boy will go to school, the girl not; etc.
Worst is when one hears about cases where a mother is able to give birth to the baby girl who somehow dies in the first few days. When feticide fails, gendercide takes over. Every four minutes, a girl in the age group of 1 to 5 years in India dies due to neglect of parents and medical attention.
Resultantly, while the sex ratio for the entire world population is 101 males to 100 females, comparatively, the sex ratio in India is 109.4 males to 100 females. Alarmingly high is the sex ratio in Punjab with 126 males to 100 females and in Haryana with 122 males to 100 females.

What does all this mean?

It means that today there are approximately 15 million “surplus” males in India in the age group of 15 to 35. This number of 15 million “surplus” or “wifeless” males is projected to rise to 30 million before the end of this decade. Now this is large scary number of potentially sex-starved, frustrated and angry monsters! The recent gang rape of Nirbhaya is a case in point. And, it is also important to understand that Nirbhaya's case is not an isolated one. Due to the gender imbalance and the sex-starved, maddened maniacs roaming around in every nook and corner of the country, the scenerio of similar criminal acts involving abduction, gang rapes, terrorizing and suppression of women at large, will only get worse by the day.
It also means that the gender imbalance is a major cause of violence and abuse of women. This aspect is clearly proven by the fact that in Haryana and Rajasthan, as reported in the news, due to scarcity, women are purchased from other states as wives and because they are being purchased, they are not only commodified but worst, shared (read abused, molested, prostituted and even raped) by many. So much for the male libido!

In conclusion, if one goes by the diktats of the Khaps and the dominance imposed by the patriarchal society, the role of woman in India is supposedly to merely stay home, do house chores, sacrifice herself into assisting her husband and raising children, sparing no time for self-development. Particularly in the rural areas, therefore, she is given hardly any education and forbidden to work in the society independently. Ironically though, the same rural woman is put to strenuous work of bringing drinking water from miles away, gathering wood for domestic fuel or help the family in the fields while the men are seen lounging on their khats smoking hookah.

The need of the hour is to change the mindset. And this can be achieved if every individual understands the problems arising out of gender imbalance.

One hopes that this awareness will lead to a positive change in India. Besides the much needed reforms sought in police, judiciary and administration, the raw and angered energy of the youth will also need to get channelized to a better understanding of the socio-cultural ethos of India and much needed change.
Wake up the youth of India! As much as you love your mother, learn to also love the dignity of women, as a rule. And when you have a baby, welcome the arrival of your girl child with absolute joy. For it is because of her, that you read this; and it will be she, who will give birth to the future generations of mankind.

Mother Earth does not need a civilization of bastards!


Read Also: Wolves
                  Nirbhaya: The Prologue of Change

Images (c)


More by :  Rajender Krishan

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Views: 3350      Comments: 15

Comment A well thought of article. Yes, for a long time, we, the democrats had
been talking too much on gender issue. Perhaps, nothing much has been
done and this we know why? Those who are on the seat of power need to listen.
Chaotic scenes are created outside and inside the platform where law
is made but little is done. Well, that is how one lives with hypocritical approach to life. Thoughts apart, each one of us stand up and do plane speaking. To awaken the right persons is the need of the hour who hear noble and lofty words about women but is a big if. A long distance ahead...

p c katoch
09-Apr-2013 23:33 PM

Comment well written article...and so true....when man plays to be ruins everything....nature is the creator and the not interfere or else
we all as species will pay....

eva juan
18-Jan-2013 06:45 AM

Comment Very analytically presented.

Varanasi Ramabrahmam
16-Jan-2013 08:27 AM

Comment Smart kick that lands where it matters.I like the last line in particular for its
multi-layered connotation.This is the only way to make brutes understand public fury,sir.More power to your pen!

T.S.Chandra Mouli
29-Dec-2012 13:44 PM

Comment Protests are also tested. This protest will aso have to pass the test. There's a very thin line that divides a genuine protest from undesirable activities. Protesters will have to be persistent as well as disciplined. Their first objective ought to be to work a way out with the government. Only then, a modus operandi of speedy justice can emerge. Speedy justice and harsh punishment are urgently needed to send right signals prospective criminals. However, the more real and difficult task remains and that task is to change the mindset of people. An active cultural process can begin from here. Local leaders, students, teachers, professionals and particularly housewives can play a vital role in changing the thinking of people. This is the challenge of India.

Prof. Shubha Tiwari
28-Dec-2012 00:19 AM

Comment India needs to wake up to the fact that it needs to act now and think of corrective action later! We are a country of filthy animals, and we go abroad and sell India as spiritual destination!! This one time, all these rogues need to be hanged. The PM needs to show mettle. Modi would have done a better job on this issue. Let's face it, our Government is ineffective. There is no need to give such a long time to the perpetrators of this heinous crime.

Julia Dutta
25-Dec-2012 09:18 AM

Comment Excellent piece. I admire your cool. I am enraged beyond expression about the sordid affairs that are hitting our country every day. We blame the police and the politicians often. But the real problem lies with us. A systematic brainwashing of Indian males is required urgently. Harsh and immediate punishment for the misdeed will also do wonders.

V.K. Joshi
25-Dec-2012 01:26 AM

Comment Death penalty for rapists!

Usha Rana
25-Dec-2012 00:43 AM

Comment Very concisely and accurately stated as to what is leading us to this disastrous situation. Corruption pollutes the society. The society gets demented by corruption and feeds into more corruption. I also read the comments from "My Word" that this current expression of rage is manifestation of the subconscious with deep rooted dissatisfaction from the quality of life delivered to our citizens.

Our democracy is held hostage by those with money and power. There are those outside the power structure who wish to get inside and capitalize on the "opportunities" themselves. Yet, there are a great majority of those who are outside the power structure, continuously exploited by it, feel helpless about it and at times take on the streets to express anger. Those in power sit tight knowing that this expression of anger is just a phase and will pass through. There is no change in their real resolve.

What shall we do? Where is the way out?

Sounds very pessimistic. Doesn't it? It sounds bad because it really is. We are a destitute nation when it comes to ethics, civics, social responsibilities and citizenship.

People like Anna Hazare, Arvind Kejariwal and many others like them are taken too lightly. We do not feel comfortable with their solutions and often with their statements. We are looking for a "perfect" solution that is proving to be a utopia.

We need to see the bigger picture. We need to support any genuine effort to challenge the system and status quo even if we do not fully agree with all its points of view. If we actively participate in this process we can work to correct the flaws as the movement takes hold. I appreciate that we take the risk of trading one evil for another.

Has anything been ever accomplished without taking risks? Is the current evil setup (I am not questioning the Constitution and the Instituitions - but the way they have been hijacked) acceptable?

Mother Earth does not need a civilization of bastards!

Mother Earth also cannot tolerate exploiters and hijackers of democracy!

24-Dec-2012 22:59 PM

Comment your analysis is sharp and searing of this sad dehumanising reality that is universal in its cowardly domination and brutalization of fair sex. Political rape and gender violence spring from a totalitarian societies that can not take a no and brook dissidence of any kind. Rape is a violation of body/spirit of someone that resists and poor expression of impotent power. Like dictatorships, it thrives on inducing and spreading fear---and proves counter-productive, finally. Popular rage in New Delhi is a suitable example.
It is a heart-felt, sincere, stirring appeal against a barbaric practice from a person deeply involved with life and India, despite his NRI status. He cares for certain issues that we, insiders, have got immune to. He wants that galvanized youth bring real changes that treat women---the other half of humanity---with respect and dignity. Simple, economical and powerful in its impact!

24-Dec-2012 22:28 PM

Comment Even tonight I need to take a walk and clear my head about this poem. About why I can’t go out without changing my clothes, my shoes, my body posture, my gender identity, my age, my status as a woman alone in the evening, alone on the streets, alone not being the point. The point being that I can’t do what I want to do with my own body because I am the wrong sex, the wrong age, the wrong skin and I suppose, it was not here in the city but down on the beach, or far into the woods, and I wanted to go there by myself thinking about God, or thinking about children, or thinking about the world, all of it disclosed by the stars and the silence. I could not go and I could not think and I could not stay there, alone, as I need to be alone because I can’t do what I want with my own body and who in the hell set things up like this?

This excerpt is taken from June Jordan’s Poem About my Rights which graphically reveals the parallels between sexual violence against individual women and neo-colonial violence against peoples and nations. It formed part of an address presented at Florida State University on October 16, 1985. Though this dates back to 27 years, and though this is distanced from us in terms of geography and culture, it applies historically to all women everywhere, today, tomorrow and perhaps, forever.

24-Dec-2012 22:19 PM

Comment I liked the last line the best -- it says it all. Indians are basically good people, or are they, nothing can easily erase the pain and awful shame caused by this. For fifty years I have been listening and ignoring or defending loathsome criticism of india and Indian society, by many good friends who are seven generation US citizens, but the criticism of this aboharant crime can not be answered or ignored.

You are a writer , a good one, you can sooth the pain of many of us, by writing about it.It might just might bring changes--although I am not sure !

24-Dec-2012 21:56 PM

Comment I thought your poems were becoming good material for a social history of India for these times; the present piece and 'more' to follow will help documentation further. I agree with causes like 'gender imbalance' but feel that it is the visual media that has done major harm by glorifying violence of all kinds. This includes night-club culture of dancing, rocking and drinking: imports that have steadily worn out the nation's moral fibre since independence. A return to simplicity, drastic cut down of consumerism and a serious crackdown upon the drink habit are some of the ways that come to my mind to help us at this grave moment.
Prema Nandakumar

24-Dec-2012 21:51 PM

Comment All this is very true. But I believe that the current rage at a subconscious level transcends the issue of women and encompasses the entire quality of life delivered to citizens. In a sense the latest rape is a symptom of all that has gone wrong with India. Now peoiple seek a cure. I will not be surprised if the protest continues to grow and other events unconnected to women inflame it.

My Word
24-Dec-2012 21:35 PM

Comment Excellent article

24-Dec-2012 21:27 PM

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