A few days back I read this blog post by a woman traveller (link). The post expressed her experiences during her visit to India as a student. She named it: “India: The Story You Never Wanted to Hear”; and there she quoted, “India: A traveller’s heaven, a woman’s hell.” I perceived it as something a woman from a foreign land visiting India as a student took back from my country. Moments after I read this post that haunted my mind for quite a long time, I noticed this news flash about a photo-journalist gang-raped in Mumbai. Hours later, the news flashed about protests that broke out around the maximum city. In a day’s time I saw updates of enraged friends on Facebook! When all this happened, the very words in this blog I read seemed to come alive. Let me first share what she writes:
Well, this was not Delhi’s gang-rape; this was not Pune’s woman travelling home after a night shift and were sexually harassed; this was not a city’s red light area; this was not the Assamese tribal woman shamed in public; this was not Mumbai’s photo-journalist gang-raped in an isolated area and this was certainly not a case that had shook the nation. And I am surprised why not! This sort of a humiliation that my traveller friend faced is something every woman faces when she attempts to step out of the house and live a normal routine life, working, travelling, hanging out, walking or shopping. This daily public disgrace is not a matter of national concern or a breaking news flash!
“Eve-teasing is a criminal offence.”
The unfortunate story is that I have seen this only on hoardings at select theatres, and a few of such other public places. So what does it take to make this statement count and taken seriously? Either a woman fights back in an unusual way, either it is a high-profile case or the woman becomes a victim and people will talk about it day after day, yet only for the time being!
Delhi’s incident was “a life cut short”: 8 months for the crime to have happened and her family still waits for justice to happen. Sabrina Lal, Jessica’s sister waited 11 years for that! What do I expect from my country? Not that I hate it, but I am only accepting my country like a person accepts one’s name which is given by someone else, and then add one’s own meanings and definitions to it to seek for self identity!
I am left with no answers to a hundred questions! Do the lawmakers really have to worry about the age of the criminal? I remembered a woman whom I admire, once wrote,
“If you don’t know parenting skills, please use condoms or get operated. The skewed girl ratio I can (still) do with. The uncouth ill-mannered, in-disciplined, road-ragers, road hogs, squatters; I can do without…”
With all due respect, well if I may simply add to it, “It is also the disgusting, shamed, disrespectful bastards that we may happily do without…” In this case, the lawmakers may not have to worry about deciding “whether to punish them” because of the culprit’s *age*, who is for your information old enough to rape.
Good parenting skills are what many advocate for, true. Perhaps that is not solely enough; a strong self conscience, self-realization is needed; an openness to speak frankly about human-emotions and desires is needed. This cannot always be taught and again, be completely taught. This where a society comes into picture: law and order is a constraint put over those individuals whose emotions lose control to an extent that it robs away the basic human rights of other individuals.
Now logically speaking, I answered my own questions. Sadly, I still lack conviction because my inner feeling still tells me that introspection may work for the sane. I still wonder what can work for those who can easily lose control over their bottoms at the mere sight of women…! Is it so natural? Is it so common to feel so? May be! But is it common and sane to rule over the world of your own desires, even if it suppresses other individuals of their human rights? I still wonder. If someone can solve the complex matrix, please do let me and the country’s stakeholders know about it. Because, this is indeed a story I never wanted to hear or I never may want to hear!