Rage Against the Dying of our Hope

In the end, the reason for the demise of the Delhi rape victim Nirbhaya was so symptomatic of the circumstances leading to her violation  multiple-organ failure. It is not surprising that the anonymous Delhi rape victim has become a rallying point for millions of Indian women who are let down right from the moment their gender is announced to a highly patriarchal society that is India.

Many commentators have called the Delhi rape as the turning point as far as the awareness about the violence against the Indian women is concerned. Such observations seem to make sense as in spite of government efforts and general apathy of the mainstream political parties, the persistent protests continue.

The Delhi gang rape victim, named Nirbhaya (one without any fear) by an Indian media outlet, was one such woman who became a victim of the system which has been allowed to carry on in spite of the horrifying figures about the violence against the women, discrimination based on gender and also the embarrassingly high gap between the male and female population of the country.

In this age of highly accessible social media, the Delhi rape-murder has shaken, at least, the urban India to the very core.

The gory details of the way Nirbhaya was violated has led to the demand of capital punishment, chemical castration and even stoning to the death of the perpetrators. While such retributive violent justice is not the right solution of the reprehensive violence against the Indian women, the calls for a complete overhaul of the criminal justice delivery system and archaic laws followed by the police need to be heeded.

It is not there are not laws against the violence against the women in India but there is a long wait for the justice to be delivered which is almost never as not many victims have the resources and will to undergo the tiresome rape trials.

The prime reason behind the slow churning law system in India is cited to be the depressingly low number of judicial officials to conduct the trials. The number of judges in India is reported to be only 15 judges for each million of her 1.2 billion people. In China, on the other hand, there are 159 judges per million people and 108 for the US.

The apologists of the political system in India often quote United Nations figure stating that there are only 1.8 rapes for every 100,000 people in India while the developing countries like Sweden (63) and the US (27) are much worse off.
While it is true that we need to keep the size of the population in mind while commenting on the total number of sexual incidents in India, it is also true that most of such humiliating crimes are not even reported in our country. The fear of social stigma, family pressure, crude police reporting methods, humiliation of public trials, etc are some of the reasons the victims of the violence remain silent over their traumatic, life-shattering experiences.

The UN figures may suggest low intensity of the violence against women in India, but what happened on the New Delhi roads on the December 16 night was not an isolated case.

What has horrified civil libertarians and others even more is the fact that the horrible act happened right in the highly-policed, upmarket area of the Indian capital. If this can happen in New Delhi, various activists have posed this question, what would be the plight of the women in areas which are far off from the glare of India metro-centric media?

The violence against the tribal and the so-called low caste women from lower economical strata goes not only unreported but also has a tacit approval of the power-wielding communities. If media manages to highlight one such outrageous incident, outpouring of manufactured rage and half-hearted condemnations follows.

The sheepish politicians are falling over each other to announce ex gratia payments to the family of the gang rape victim, various human rights activists have slammed the media and special interests groups from turning the beastly act into an exceptional incident.

Nirbhaya was not only let down by the rapists whom she trusted as everyday public transport operators but also the corrupt law and order machinery which facilitates operation of illegal buses on the Indian roads.

In conclusion, while the exemplary punishment to the Delhi gang rape perpetrators would be a starting point, The Indian male need to take a deep look inwards to find answers to the question why India, of all the bigger economies, continues to be one of the worst place to be a woman.


More by :  Rekha Bhattacharjee

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