Another rape. Again there will be silent marches, candle marches, protests, probes will be ordered, men will be held and cases will be lodged. Netizens will share pictures, mourn on their walls, make comments on others’. Political parties will search for heads to blame. Bloggers will write morbid blogs… I am writing one. And a day will come, may be tomorrow, two days later, or a week later, when we all will forget this one rape and move on with our respective lives, thinking that we have done our bit.
And again, there will be another rape. Some girl, of whatever age (it doesn’t matter at all), will be held, raped and tortured, may be killed. And again the rituals will be repeated. Some foreigner girl will come to our country, God’s own country, the country which says that where women are worshipped, Gods dwell only there, and will be touched, groped, harassed…may be raped, and even killed. Again the rituals will be repeated. Again we will forget and move on.
Travellers’ Bible, The Lonely Planet online guide for India warns, “ While there is no need to be paranoid, you should be aware that your behavior and dress code is under scrutiny and that local men may have a misguided opinion of how foreign women behave. Getting constantly stared at is something you will have to get used to.” Now this is our international image. Simply it says that you are entering a country of perverts, so be careful.
But the situation was not always as horrid as it is now. I can recall a very beautiful Italian woman on Benaras Ghats commenting cheerfully on the swarm of mosquitoes buzzing over my head, “ You have got a lot of friends…and they are on your head.” I asked her if she wanted some of them. She was surprised and asked how would I do so. I made her stand and moved around her in circles, as we do in our villages, and the whole swarm over my head got transferred to hers. She was amazed by this trick and thought it was some kind of magic. I was with four or five of my friends and she was with her boyfriend, and their English was not very good. So we were square it terms of language…since she was asking the difference between Italy and Idly. Another incident I can recall is when my cousin dropped one of his slippers in the Ganga and we had to chase it and make a human chain to take it out…and we were photographed in our effort by a white lady who was finding it tough to decide whether to laugh or to click.
But this was five years ago and when I was in Benaras and these interactions were a normal thing. Recently, I visited Benaras, and we went to the top of the Man Mandir Mahal where some foreigners were already sitting. Ours was a group of 6 boys, and as we approached the roof, they grew visibly restless, and finally shifted their positions far away from us, as if we were a band of hooligans approaching to assault them. Really, a lot have changed in this country over these four or five years. And this change, is surely not for good.
“As our population expands and the ranks of the unemployed swell, as more and more people feel marginalized and disenfranchised, and as city life grows brutal, it is becoming increasingly difficult to ensure the safety of every citizen.” This is what the Times of India reasons. But I don’t think it is an excuse. Unemployment does not give you the right to rape, marginalization does not force you to be brutal. Yet, it is the very truth. Some people do, others forget…and the nation suffers.
Please, don’t forget things. Don’t move on. Our whole identity is at stake. Please, behave as human beings. In a recent survey, we were among the most loved countries around the world…don’t make us the most hated. No, you have not done your bit if you have updated a status, or tweeted a tweet or written a blog. Your bit of work is much larger. Its some thing bigger..its about being human and making sure that the generations to come remain human. Don’t forget…. You need not the news arising from Delhi or Bombay only. Keep in mind that at each interval of 20 minutes, a girl is raped somewhere in this country.
And the clock hanging in your home too has got the minute hand.