The 23 year old gangrape victim whom The Sunday Times named Nirbhaya is no more with us, but those who killed her brutally still survive. There lies all our fears. Malala Yousafzai was also a victim when she wanted education for girls. Nirbhaya , the young physiotherapist simply wanted to travel in a bus safely from Munrika stop in national capital.
Kahin bhi bhejo, women are not safe anywhere in India. This fact may be unpalatable for many, but this is a truth. The national capital has not become an unsafe city overnight. It has been, it still remains.
The story of Nirbhaya is worse than a story of rape. It shows how cankers had eaten into the vitals of our society. What Xi Jinping, President of China said in a different context seems to be true here: “Things must have gone rotten before insects can grow”.
This is a story of inhuman molestation, or we may call it gendered violence, a culture of disrespect for women. Policing or judicial reforms cannot alone combat the social menace. A zero-tolerance policy to crime against women at home, on street or in the office is yet to be initiated as a New Year resolution in 2013 to prevent the fevered-minded predators and monstrous products of this society. But the question that looms larger than all these in our mind is that we are tolerating the lazy systems and delayed justice even when we see the violation of humanity and of womanhood, of life and of ethics. Our society is not safe before this kind of cold-blooded cruelty. It is worse than the Mumbai terror attacks or 9/11. Brutality is remorseless and here it is pioneered by basic animal instinct.
Harshest punishment to the culprits is ensured. But that is only for one or two rape cases which draw national attention. Every two hour one rape occurs here and there. Women harassment occurs almost regularly at Indian homes when we all know that women are epitome of love, care and kindness. Strangely enough in our everyday life we do practice different values.
In our films pestering and stalking of women are sanctified, be it a mega hit like Sangam, Sholay or Rockstar. Pestering a bathing woman as Raj Kapoor did with Vyjianthimala or demanding a kiss as the Big B with a gang of 30 leering males demanded a kiss from Kimi Katkar ‘Jumma chumma de de’ . Romantic wooing in any film means harassment of the heroine by the hero as the hero in Rockstar says ‘a girl’s ‘No’ means ‘Yes’.
Rapes are seen as the outcome of revenge on women in many films and if the hero is realistically portrayed, the criminals succeed. Why will our female actors show this kind of indulgence to the male lovers? Actors with decent outlook should not agree to dance to the tune of the directors who are on the look out for selling female body.
The Union Home Minister believes that rapes can be stopped by merely adding a death penalty clause in the law on rape. But it is the action on the ground and not on paper, that will deter rapists. Law goes in vain as there is one law for the rich and one law for the poor as Galsworthy long ago showed in his plays like The Silver Box.
Gangrape victim’s fight should not go in vain. People now hit streets expressing their outrage over the tragedy. Silent peaceful march is being organized. But things should start changing at our home itself.
How much respect do we show to females in our home? Or in office or in the buses and trains? Or in the street or market? Anger had erupted and that has been a good sign. The chalta hai attitude must change. The anger and gut-wrenching emotions which found a vent in the brazen violation of the girl’s modesty in a bus will be on the boil for sometime. But after a few days nights will again be unsafe and late journey in a bus will still be fraught with danger. Bills are there for creating strict laws for crime against women. But where is the will to pass and execute them? How long O God, will women die in resisting the rape bid in reality and in films?