Attn: Suparna,Jayanti,Olga Shobhaa’s Take 10thJan2013
Rape and raakhis….
“ Quick… give me a raakhi… I’m being raped!” It cannot possibly get more bizarre. A nasty four letter word called R-A-P-E has polarized, even pulverized Indian society. And it refuses to go away. It is not just about Nameless Nirbhaya’s brutal sexual assault any longer. It is about us. How we, as a people respond to one of the most heinous crimes in the world. The depressing answer to that is – atrociously. So atrociously, in fact, that it is time to worry about a widespread sickness that at this point appears terminal. To make matters far worse, we have raging maniacs in our midst - deranged, Godmen, equally depraved politicians and other nut cases with a dangerous agenda. Not so surprisingly, these men have followers and backers. Asaram Bapu ( whose bapu is he, really?), has a criminal record, yet claims he is a spiritual leader. Owaisi is a flamboyant hate monger who is an overnight ‘celebrity’ cashing in on his loathsome utterances. Asaram’s brilliant suggestion has led to raging debates across the board. That he had the absolute audacity to take on this sensitive case ( Nirbhaya’s), before the mourning period is over, shows his pathetic, depraved mentality. But what has enraged everybody is his outrageous advice to women in similar, life threatening situations : don’t defend yourselves, he suggests, but plead with your tormentor instead. Appeal to the beast or beasts, to treat you as a sister and spare you. If you fight back ( as Nirbhaya so bravely did), you are asking for trouble. Worse – you may be inviting it. A woman should know her place in society. Make an instant brother out of the rapist. Beg of him to spare your life. That is the only hope. So, according to this despicable Bapu, this is how it goes : a woman’s most effective weapon when faced with a rapist is to whip out a handy raakhi ( never leave home without a few, ladies!), grab the man’s arm , tie it quickly around his wrist and start whining for mercy. It’s either that, or you are dead meat. This crazed Bapu is 73 years old. Has a foul record which includes murder charges, land grabbing, molestation and assault. Despite all his murky deals, there he is ranting away while his followers applaud and shake their heads approvingly. If such a man can utter what he has and not generate vast degrees of absolute revulsion, it is not he who is sick, it is us. For he hasn’t come from Mars. He is also ‘us’.
As is Owaisi .
So, what do we do with such grotesque men? Arrest them? Gag them? Shun them? Forget it! We are stuck with them, for better or worse. And it is time to open our eyes to what is staring us in the face. These two are not alone. They have the sympathetic ears of a pretty large section of our society. If the Bapu has 300 ashrams worldwide and 20 million followers, Owaisi’s fans outside the court , and at the airport , were no less impressive in terms of numbers. These two fellows are merely the ugly faces of what we refuse to acknowledge – a pathological hatred, either towards women, or a community, or both. Both are guilty of waging war against humanity at large. But how does one punish such people? Is it even worth our while to do so in the standard way? You know the drill. Frame charges. Go to court. And then wait for eternity!
What has deeply disturbed people across
increasingly, in pockets around the world, is the attitude of the ruling class.
Damage control of the clumsiest kind is no substitute for concern. In any case,
the time for mere concern is long over. If alarm bells are not ringing inside
several pompous heads, they bloody well ought to be. What Nirbhaya’s death (and
the reactions to it) has triggered off is a long suppressed rage against the
way this country is run. The fact that citizens get screwed day in and day out,
while so-called netas strut around amassing indecent amounts of wealth, is no
longer viewed with the old chalta hai attitude. Nahi chalega! Each new detail
that’s emerging about the tragedy is only adding to the disconnect. When a
politician arrogantly states that ‘the government does not go to the people’,
his remark strikes at the heart of the problem. It demonstrates the extent of
the ‘ghamand’ that our elected representatives have consistently flaunted…. and
we have docilely tolerated. This is one case where a convenient ‘setting’ is not
possible. Perhaps Nirbhaya’s assaulters, including the under age monster, will
be punished swiftly and severely. But even as we deal with them, thousands more
will be guilty of even worse crimes involving women…. even, female toddlers and
Bapu Asaram and people like him are as guilty as those hooded rapists we despise. Until we condemn and get rid of these Bapus, netas and assorted beasts in our society, women will remain soft targets. But even in their utter vulnerability, they will not carry raakhis in their handbags or beg tormentors for mercy. That day is over. And a brand new revolution is underway. We have our own weapon. It is called The Female Vote. See you at the polls, guys.