Last evening I was watching my favourite reality show: The 9 pm news. My favourite anchor Raj Deep Sardard or RDS on my favourite channel ‘CNN YBN’ was screaming into the camera:
“In this special edition of the News at Nine we look at the crime that has shocked the nation: The brutal assault and rape of a 23 year old in the nation’s capital. We are asking two questions:
1.Who is to blame?
2. How to stop this national shame?
We begin with an exclusive interview of a rapist. He was convicted, sentenced to 7 years and let off for good behaviour, after 7 days.”
“Welcome Sharmaji Sir, to the show on the most awarded channel. My first question to you, Sharmaji, the reformed rapist is, “Sir, why did you rape this girl?”
“Sirji, it is not my fault at all. The girl was wearing a very short skirt and walking alone, in a dark area at night. The mistake is entirely the girl’s for being alone at that time of the night and wearing a dress which challenged my mardangi (masculinity), the fault is of the Municipal authorities for not repairing the street lights and most of all the mistake is of heroes like Akshay Kumar!”
“Come on Sharmaji, where does poor Akshay come into it?”
“Sirji, I am not educated. Whatever I have learnt, I have done it from films. In every film the hero throws himself at the girl and plays with every part of her anatomy. And instead of yelling rape, the heroine responds and sings an item song for him. That day when I did an Akshay on the girl instead of doing a Sonakshi, she slapped me. What could I do? From a hero I became a villain, and did what any self-respecting villain in Bollywood does – I raped my ‘heroine’.”
“So what would you suggest should be done so that would-be rapists like you can restrain yourself?”
“The girls should be covered from head to toe and if still some guy is attracted to them they should respond in kind, have fun and forget about it. Why make such a hue and cry about a natural act? And Mr. RDS please don’t insult me by calling me a reformed rapist. I am nothing of that sort. Even now if I meet a girl wearing a short skirt, in some dark corner…..well, you know what I mean……”
RDS turned to the camera and gawked. “So viewers, this was an exclusive tete-e-tete with ‘Your friendly neighbourhood rapist’. Next I have a social activist Ms Duniya Badal Dali and a former top cop KPS Pill in our studios.
“Mr. Pill, I would like to begin with you? Everyone is blaming the police for the increase in incidents of rape?”
“That’s nonsense. We are helpless. We are severely undermanned and seriously over worked. Most of our staff is busy protecting the VIPs, controlling crowds during their visits, managing rallies of Annas and Babas, protecting the sons of big shots after they commit a rape or murder or some such routine crime – where are the resources to look into such petty affairs like rape?”
“So what do you suggest?”
“Girls should venture out only with their baaps and bhais after dark. Secondly they should not report silly incidents of molestation like a squeeze here, a grope there to the police force and waste its time and energy. And if they really want to know how to handle sexual exploitation they should take coaching from our women police officers. Our mahila police personnel are exploited day in and night out by their colleagues and seniors and they still serve the nation with passion!”
“Ms. Dali, I would like to ask you whether capital punishment would be a deterrent for rape.”
“Well Mr. RDS by hanging a few rapists you are not going to change a thing. What you have to do is to unleash police reforms, social reforms, political reforms, educational reforms, cyber reforms and agricultural reforms.”
“How would agricultural reforms prevent rape?”
“Quite simple, really. If the agricultural sector prospers, it will prevent migration to cities: lesser number of men, lesser number of rapes in cities. The fathers, brothers, uncles and neighbours will rape their women in the homes and fields and lanes and by-lanes of the villages. These domestic rapes will hardly ever get reported. So we’ll have far less media coverage, much less public outrage and definitely no candle light vigils and marches.”
“Brilliant, absolutely brilliant Ms. Dali.”
I switched off the idiot box and thought of the Black Sunday on which a nation’s psyche and soul had been ravaged and raped. I managed to pen a few lines which I would like to share with you: (With apologies to Gurudev)
Where a women is not an object,
And her dignity is held high.
Where she is not abused 24x7
In lanes, in fields, on roads and homes.
Where she is not burnt for money
By those she loves and trusts,
Where her colour doesn’t decide her worth
Or the males she has produced, her value,
Into that haven of self respect and safety,
My father let the girl child awake.