[I’ve been quite too long and in the spirit of many things that have been long time coming..]
Just as the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was not the cause of WWI but a catalyst, this ghastly Delhi gang rape is a catalyst for I hope, broad societal introspection and a change towards the better in India.
Unprecedented Mass Protests
The immediate issue at hand is that of us females, the scorned second sex, being deprived of basic rights – using public roads & public transport without the fear of being molested. In fact, the issue is of female fetuses being denied the right to live; of entire villages now existing without girls enough for their boys to marry. These unfortunate practices continue to thrive. I could write a separate blog post (or three) on the amount of harassment I have faced from the time I was 8/9 years old. And no, I did not grow up in Delhi, I’m a Bombay girl. The state of affairs is the same everywhere, the difference is in degrees. And having known the kind of mental trauma any kind of sexual harassment causes, death by hanging for each and every rapist is only fair. That’s what I think. But anyway, this post is not about that.
What is bringing about a change, (from the time India ‘opened up’ in 1991 with my generation) is the realization that all this subjugation need not, should not be the case. It’s a clash of mindsets – the old versus the new – the stodgy & dogma ridden old versus the fresh & progressive new. What comes of this churn can only be a change for the better. This, I completely believe in. It may not be as immediate as we want it to be, it may not embody everything we wish it to, but a change will come. I can smell it.
The larger issue behind these protests however is that of the establishment’s apathy and disconnect with the larger populace. It’s connivance with all that is tainted. Anger one feels not just at the government, but also at the opposition, the bureaucracy, the system is reason why this catalyst has sparked a movement so huge. The common Indian is (has been) frustrated and wounds that cut deep have been left to fester far too long.
Potholed colony roads that never get repaired
Load shedding that never ends
Water shortage with water tanks that need to be bought
Daughters that are not safe.
Jobs that are so scarce.
Prices that keep rising
Nursery admissions that send mind into a spin
People with “connections”
Terrorist attacks that keep occurring with regular impunity
National shame of Commonwealth Games
Sport organizations that are headed by politicians
Police that one fears – would I ever approach them? Never
Traffic police that never really challans but is ever happy to ‘adjust’
Corrupt politicians that never, ever, ever, ever get caught
Highways that never get made
Garbage piles that never get cleaned
Gunda’s that freely roam roads
Gunda’s that sit in the parliament, wearing white kurtas.
These and many other issues that affect us on a daily basis remain unresolved despite 65+ years of independence.
Globalisation has brought with it many a thing – mostly good. When the ‘globalised’ youth of India now hears of/ sees/ experiences developed countries where elected governments are held accountable and answerable for goings on, it questions why that should not be the case in India. When it reads of countries that have progressed beyond basics of roti, kapda aur makaan, it asks why these three remain luxuries back home.
History is riddled with revolutions and hindsight is always 20/20. When we read today about the French Revolution, we wonder what King Louis XVI was thinking about with all that writing on the wall. Well, Indian government, the ball is in your court and from the looks of it, you are playing King Louis right now.
However, this note cannot and should not end without a note to us – the people of India.
We who always want the easy way out ~ we who pay bribes ~ break red lights ~ tell our sons “to be a man” ~ tell our daughters to keep their gaze down on their wedding day ~ make our 10 year old daughters serve dinner to their 18 year old brothers ~ we who start buying gold for beti ki shaadi from the day the beti is born.
We who want to buy properties in black (money) ~ we who brag about that “top person” we know from the passport office. It is us that treat our house-help like slaves ~ it is us that employ 10 year olds to take care of our 4 year olds. We litter, we spit everywhere like there’s no tomorrow ~ we text and speak no holds barred with little concern for others in a movie theatre. It is we who drive on the wrong the wrong side of the road for that shortcut there ~ we who let our 14-year-olds drive the scooter just around the corner because, who will see that?
It is us.
And it is we who need to change, collectively as a society. We need to accept the fact that we come from a morally corrupt place. Then and only then will we find the ways and means to cross over to the other side.
[And rural India doesn’t even make a scant appearance anywhere in this post. *Cold Shiver*]