Yesterday's post on the Delhi rape case generated a lot of heat among the readers and I got a lot of response for it. The responses make my belief even stronger that women will continue to be raped in India. In this piece I will address some of the responses that I got and make a case for what I said yesterday and what I am reiterating today.
Why do you have to be so negative?
This was by far the most common response from the emails I got and the comments that I read on the first piece. Well, how can I be positive? A 23-year- old-girl who had her whole life before her has been raped. Doctors who are treating her have said that they haven't seen a worse case of sexual assault in all their lives. And one of the rapists has said they did what they did to her because she was resisting rape and biting them. Her intestines have been taken out and if she lives she won't be able to eat again.
As the poet Sahir Ludhianvi wrote in Pyasa: “Hum gamzada hai, laaye kahan se khushi ke geet. Denge wahi, jo paayenge iss zindagi se hum.”
Loosely translated this means that “I am unhappy, where do I get songs of happiness from? I can only give what I get from this life.”
Those looking for more positivity can go and watch Salman Khan's Dabanng 2 which releases today.
And as they watch and enjoy Bhai (as his fans like to call Salman) bashing up the baddies one more time, they should remember that this reel life superstar is accused of ramming his Toyota Land Cruiser into a bakery in Bandra on September 28,2002, killing one person and injuring four others. Salman has been summoned by the court 82 times till now. And he has not been present there even once. People like him are a symbol of the rich and famous in this country who systematically abuse the system of justice, take it for a ride and ensure that it does not work.
Girls get raped because they wear sexy clothes
This is by far the most appalling thing that I have ever heard. One gentleman who wrote to me had this to say. “Don't you think girls are misusing their freedom... our education doesn't teaches culture it teaches only history and tradition. When the freedom is given to women...they should use it n the fruitful way. Wearing jeans below belly proves they wants(sic) some attraction from opposite genders(sic) of society.”
Another man wrote in saying, “The simple reason is foreign influence. we have forgotten our tradational (sic) wearings (sic) and jumping to foreign culture particularly ladies and young girls of different ages working or studying wearing very very less cloths(sic) and showing their figure in a very nasty way. We used to see this type of body showing in the movies but now a days in every gulli or street you can see a live show. If this type of life style previles (sic) no one can prevent or control rape cases.”
So these men want us to believe that women are getting raped because they want to get raped. If this is the attitude prevails even among some men, then god help us! Let me try and flip this argument around and explain why this is nonsense of the highest order.
I see all around me, bare chested men in just their striped shorts, bermudas and pyjamas with long naadas dangling, and no woman that I know has actually ever expressed the desire to mob these barely clad men and publically pull their naadas down. So much for sexually arousing exposure!
Delhi is a very safe place
Another gentleman who claimed to be a CEO of a company wrote to me to say that he had been living in Delhi for the last seven years and he found it to be a very safe place. His 21 year old son whenever he came to India for his holidays from the US where he is studying partied till very late in the night and came back home only at around 4am in the morning and hence that proved that Delhi is a safe place.
When I asked him what about the girl friends of his son? Did they party till 4am as well? Pat came the reply. No, they had 11pm deadlines. Sons can party till 4am because sons don't get raped.
Another gentleman wrote to me that Delhi is safe for 99.994% of females and backed up with some statistical mumbo jumbo. “The media needs stories to carry on with their TRP’s & viewership so that they can make more mullah. And we are happy reading the craps which they serve changing the flavors every now and then so that we don’t get bored. Killing the girl child is not something new, its there for centuries in India. Kings wanted their heirs again a male & so had multiple queens. And so had a male sooner or later, the same is followed for generation’s. That’s why a Rahul Gandhi leads Congress & not a Priyanka,” he added.
Delhi (572) has more rapes than Mumbai (221), Kolkata (46), Chennai (76), Bangalore (97) and Hyderabad (59), the next five biggest cities in India, put together. Guess that makes Delhi a very safe city! There is this small cottage industry that seems to have sprung up almost overnight trying to defend Delhi as being safe, as not being the rape capital of India and so on. If we are not even ready to acknowledge that Delhi is an unsafe city (and frankly it gives me the creeps) how can we even start addressing its fascination for raping its women.
It was not your sister/mother/wife who was raped.
One woman wrote in saying this: “Just read your article and I am speechless reading that. Not in a good sense mind you. Though the facts that you have mentioned are correct. But as you have said that stoning these scums is not a solution. Would you have said this if this had happened to your sister, mother or wife? Would you? try and understand the pain that girl has gone through. The accused is saying that they inserted metal rod inside her and when removed that rod some rope was sticking to it.. that was her intestine man... can you even barely imagine what she had gone through those 40 mins. keep your loved one in her shoe and then tell us killing them will not stop this. What will ? I find you sick who is taking this issue to some other extent.”
A few other people wrote in along similar lines talking about a rape in Tamil Nadu and the rapists being killed in an encounter after that. “This may be ruthless but these kind of punishment will tell others to be cautious... i would like to recall the Coimbatore incident were a 10 year old girl was raped by two of the car drivers in 2010. The next day there was a huge cry out in the state , understanding the pulse of people police immediately swing in to action and he was encountered, the whole tamil nadu know that this was planned execution by law enforcement agencies but all people of tamil nadu welcomed it.”
If we as a society want to stone people to death, kill them in encounters etc, how does that make us any different from the Taliban? And as I said in my piece yesterday any solution is as good as the system that will execute it. In a country like India if anything like chemical castration and encounter killings for committing rapes becomes the order of the day and the police are pushed to solve rape cases faster, what are they likely to do? More often than not they will get hold of some random guy (the homeless, the slum dweller or probably just about the first person they can get their eyes on) beat the shit out of him and get him to confess to it. How do we ensure something like that does not happen? There is absolutely no way to do that.
Why can't we make karate compulsory for women
This was another major thought that came across that women should learn karate/martial arts/boxing for their security against men. Great idea! But what will a woman do when four men pounce upon her! Another idea along similar lines was that buses shouldn't have filmed window panes. As one gentleman wrote in, “Mr.Harish salve in NDTV, insisted that the busses (sic) should not be allowed to have filmed window panes.” Yes, but women are raped in auto-rickshaws, cars, go-downs, homes, everywhere. What do we do about that?
But, like all the other writers, you are also just addressing the problem, without any solution.
I got loads of emails asking me for a solution. One woman wrote in saying “You are the ambassador of media and you should educate the Janta, by writing about the Laws as to what a layman can ask from the Government as a form of justice for such miseries.”
What solution are we talking about? It isn't rocket science here. We are not talking about how to get an Indian man on the moon. The solution is better policing. But the police in this country have sold themselves out lock, stock and barrel for money. And other than that their attitude towards rape leads me to believe that women will continue to be raped.
As an earlier piece on this website reported, “Satbir Singh, Additional SHO of Sector 31 Police Station, Faridabad, puts it: “Ladkiya jo hai unko yahan tak yahan tak (he gestures to mean that women should cover their entire body, then carries on speaking)…Skirt pehenti hai. Blouse dalti hai; poora nahi dalti hai. Dupatta nahi dalti. Apne aapko dikhawa karti hai. Baccha uske taraf akarshit hota hai.” (Girls should be covered from here to here… They wear skirts, blouses, that don’t cover them fully. Don’t wear a dupatta. They display themselves. A kid will naturally be attracted to her.)”
“Sub-Inspector Arjun Singh, SHO of Surajpur Police Station, Greater Noida, clarifies the position further: “She is dressed in a manner that people get attracted to her. In fact, she wants them to do something to her.””
And why blame the lowly Sub-Inspectors when even the first citizen of this country does not take rape seriously. As an earlier piece on this website pointed out, “It is also worth recalling that before demitting office as President, Pratibha Patil commuted the death sentences of several rapists. A record 30 pardons were granted in double-quick time. Among them was Santosh Yadav, who was already serving a jail sentence for rape. In jail, as gardener of the jailer, he and a fellow convict raped the jailer’s own daughter. He was pardoned by Patil. Dharmender Singh and Narendra Yadav killed a family of five when their minor daughter resisted rape. They, too, were pardoned.”
A women President pardoning rapists. Do I need to say anything more on why I remain pessimistic!
(Vivek Kaul is a writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)