Ever powerful Mohanrao Bhagwat, the RSS supremo and the guardian of Bharatiya value system, has issued a statement that essentially redraws the country's geography.
"Such crimes (rapes and gang rapes) hardly take place in 'Bharat', but they occur frequently in ' India '," he is reported to have said addressing a citizens' meet in Silchar on Tuesday.
"You go to villages and forests of the country and there will be no such incidents of gangrape or sex crimes. They are prevalent in some urban belts. Besides new legislations, Indian ethos and attitude towards women should be revisited in the context of ancient Indian values," he has said.
The comments blur boundaries and confuse the identity of many places in the present India/Bharat and the ancient India/Bharat . Here are just four such places -- first two the present India/Bharat and the last two the ancient India/Bharat.
1) Khairlanji: A place in Bhandara district in Maharashtra , where four members of the Bhotmange family of a lower caste was brutally massacred. The victims are Bhaiyyalal Bhotmange's wife Surekha, his daughter Priyanka, and sons Roshan and Sudhir. Surekha and Priyanka were stripped and paraded naked before being killed in broad day light in the choupal.
2) Gujarat : In 2002, hundreds of women from the Muslim community were raped and killed. Many who survived are still living the trauma. Numerous reports by human rights groups, who visited the place after the tragic genocide, are available. The following paragraph is from one such: "There is compelling evidence of sexual violence against women. These crimes against women have been grossly underreported and the exact extent of these crimes - in rural and urban areas - demands further investigation. Among the women surviving in relief camps, are many who have suffered the most bestial forms of sexual violence - including rape, gang rape, mass rape, stripping, insertion of objects into their body, stripping, molestations. A majority of rape victims have been burnt alive."
3) Dandaka Forest : This place figures in Aranya Kanda in Ramayana, the story of Bhagwat's hero Lord Rama, the epitome of correctness and dharma. It was from here that Dravidian princess Surpanakha, the sister of Ravana (grandson of Tataka, whom Lord Rama had killed earlier), fell in love with Rama. Along with his brother Lakshmana and wife Sita, Rama humiliated her. When Surpanakha became furious, Lakshmana mutilated her, by chopping off her nose and breasts.
4) Valmiki Ashram: In Uttara Kanda, this was the place where Lakshmana abandoned Sita at the insistence of Lord Rama after she was rescued from Lanka and her agnipariksha. Now, it is a tourist spot.
The question is what do we consider these places as. Are they city/village/forest/India/Bharat?
It would be great if Bhagwat or any RSS ideologue could throw some light on this issue.