Tag Archives: change

‘stop rape’

 

 

While we are protesting, many supporting, still many criticising, all of it points in one direction…tackling rape as a ‘social evil.’ While many wish to call it a mere criminal act, the fact is, rape emits from a certain mindset. An outlook towards sex and female gender. This is NOT academic argument, this is true.

While I do agree the angst and ire we are seeing on the streets of Delhi is all towards demanding better law and order, I do NOT think stricter laws will deter people from indulging in rape. Murder is a crime and people are aware killing can bring death sentence, yet murders take place. It is our socio-psychological make-up that needs to be changed.

It begins right in our homes. The attitude women themselves about girl child, the fact we are born to think we are vulnerable, we need help, we are ‘ardhangini.’ We are NOT whole…we always need another protective half…then begins the tough journey. We have been termed eons ago by a so-called wise man Manu..who wrote Manusmriti that the status of a woman as per the caste system after all elite castes, ‘Gai (cow), dhor (animal), shudra, woman.” The lowest in hierarchy…Yes, many may argue and say there exists no caste system, yeah sure…I believe.

The attitude towards girl child even in this era stems from that deep-rooted attitude towards status of a girl/woman. All other social ills like dowry, female infanticide stem from this very deep-rooted thought about women that exists till today.

It is all good to come out on the streets and protest. I do in fact like that finally the youth are on their own want to bring about change. Especially without a leader. It is a good time to tap the youth their itnelligence and talent. But it is time to keep emotions aside. Think for a minute, the so-called stringent penalties that are being demanded bobbiting, chemical castration-which shamelessly a leading newspaper of this country supports- death penalty, etc will it really STOP rapes? NO. rape is an act driven by the mental, social, psychological make-up of a person.

In most cases rape is the shameless display of false power of strength. To render the opposite person powerless, weak and struggling for self-respect. (I’m aware a man can rape another, however the % is far lesser to rape of women…). And do we really believe stringent law will help? Why do we seem to be scared to accept the reality and deal with it? Instead we still seem to be fascinated by the idea of ‘revolution’ which we have been flirting with since a year, thanks to Anna Hazare. The protests on the streets are definitely good, but the need of the hour is REAL change-a change in power dynamics, which is socio-political, cultural and our very own belief structure.

A mere amendment in law, making it stringent, chemical castration does NOT change power dynamics. Let’s get real. Changing dynamics means the decision to say no, the power to say NO. At this juncture I will want to bring in the issue of Marital rapes, which women who out there protesting may have also heard of…I won’t allege that they experience. It is rampant. The feeling of frustration may compel many to take to the streets, sure but are the victims of marital rape going to report them? Would they care to let their husbands go through the same ‘stringent’ eventuality that they want other so-called rapists to go through? Why this is distinction? Why this selective justice?

We are thoroughly hypocritical population. Let’s be honest. While in our personal lives we flout every social norm, rule, indulge in every act that should be put under scanner, we want others to toe-the-line. What we FEAR and loathe is the fact we are still patriarchal society and the ‘change’ we want we will have to personalise the change in our private lives. The law cannot change our thinking, way of behaviour. Rape too is NOT just a criminal act. We do NOT want that. We want to maintain the plurality in every walk of our life, that is why it is easy to demand so-called stringent laws. They will solve all our problems.

I’m not being cynical, so do NOT even remotely accuse me of it. It is the bigger picture which we are missing. Understand the kids are being brought with the same pathetic belief that women are vulnerable, why aren’t young boys and men vulnerable? I’m aware the percentage is far lesser, but that reality shouldn’t be eclipsed. The boys of today will believe all other forms of atrocities are social, except rape is ‘criminal,’ which needs to be dealt legally.

The anger I fear is directed to ourselves, dear countrymen and woman. We don’t want to change ourselves, but want others to. The same pattern was seen exactly a year ago when Anna went on this drive. Many renowned editors and journalists praise him for inspiring the current movement too-bringing people on the roads. While I appreciate there is NO leadership guiding them, (it is a very positive sign) hence the time to step back and think. What are we asking for? Why aren’t we willing to change from within ourselves? Why is an act that is so deep, intrusive is seen only as a criminal offence, which instead of being dealt with on a larger social level is to be solve by strict laws?

This too can lead to the road of fascism. The anger is deep-rooted. Most often when we ourselves are unable to deal with harsh realities. And nowhere do I remotely suggest that the offender should be allowed to go. I’m NOT hinting at easy law, my reading is right now all we seem to be obsessed with is ONLY this part. Because the real solution, to bring change from within is very tough and we don’t want the tough path, but it is time to break away from the usual easy path. Time to get real, address the issues head-on. Else once again an opportunity gone, where the youth can put their minds  together to see a different India, NOT the same in different forms…may be even worse. The change is us all and this is NOT what i want…

A vote for change

UP & Goa highlight 1 singular important point –voters, people are wanting CHANGE. Even if it means to take a risk. This highlights a fact that people are frustrated with their current leaders, patterns of governing & are willing to say NO the parties they’ve been loyal to.

People in UP have till now given every single party  a chance & now after rejecting the father, voters have pinned hope on the son. It is the same case in Goa.

In UP all parties have ruled beginning with Cong, then SP, then BJP, BJP with BSP, then BSP. Each & every party ditched the people of UP. A state that can determine the PM post literally has maximum amount of crime. A shameful record -Every day incidents of  rape, murder, cold blooded killing, people openly carrying arms are reported. One example was on the day the rally was taken out in support of Akhilesh Yadav, a person died because of celebration firing. That the trend isn’t likely to change, which is equally alarming.

The elections also highlighted the total failure of most exit polls & the media bias. Most were taken by surprise as with every passing week ground reports indicated it would be SP (Samajwadi Party). Various permutations & combinations were given till the last. What should also have been investigated post-elections is that all Brahmins (we are a casteist society), hardcore Hindus too have voted in favour of SP.

Now for me this is an imp point. The impending promises especially false ones, given to the lakhs in the name of ‘Hindutva,’ after the modern-day terror act of pulling down another religion’s place of worship on Dec 6, 1992. The provocations to kill in the name of religion, promising millions of swayed so-called Hindus that the BJP will a temple for them…BJP capitalized on this for years, good all these people who believed in them finally voted against their very own BJP. This is a Landmark decision.

I spoke to many taxi drivers in Mumbai, before & after the elections. They are a mirror of what happens back home. All had the same reply. Tiwari told me “Sirji (yes he never calls me ma’m) iss baar hum Yadavon ki party ko laenge. Sab saley ek jaise chor hai. Us Mayawati ne toh kuch nahi kiya, paise khake baith gaye..” murmurs of corruption, which i was aware of. Yes, I support women basically & in politics especially. So while I did know SP would be in power of seat, I’d wanted BSP to win.

That apart, the most interesting bit was of another taxi driver, his remarks were clear indicator of things to follow in UP. “Kahe ka Ram mandir. Na raha Ram, na hoga mandir, na rahega Bhajpa…” stunned I prodded him further. “Kahan se kahan gaye yeh neta log…kaun ayega bhote mangne ke liye, chal hat…nahi chahiye aise gaddar humey…” the total milking of public of UP in the name of Ram & a Ram mandir had now made the people of UP sit up & take note. The BJP’s non-stop false promises & moreover politicization of this issue that was emotional to the Hindus there who ‘trusted’ this fascist, right wing political party.

I sensed a feeling of being taken for a ride, ‘gaddar,’ hence asked the cabbie, what has turned them against their own faith? Would they vote for a Mulsim party & Muslim leader. “Arey yeh kahan bhaag jayenge..haan sab ek jaise hai. Lekin yeh kaun hai yeh toh humey pata hai. Pahle dekhe hai aur badley toh nahi na.. Humarey he apne nahi nikley isse aur bada dukh ka hai…” getting upset, he said their families, panchayats, all had taken the decision that it was time for them to change-imagine the overhaul change in their basic thinking that a let’s trust a Muslim party and leaders.

Closer home is Goa, not much of a difference. A state that’s seen more of Congress rule. Obviously, considering majority Christians in Goa have always supported Congress. But like in most Cong-dominated states what we’ve seen –consolidation of power in the hands of few favoured, family rule. Like in most Cong-dominated states we’ve seen consolidation of power in the hands of few favoured, family legacy rule-to the extent all family members got tickets to contest. In case of Alemaos. Voters had become victims of series of malpractices, increasing violence, breach of many policies-mainly environmental. Goans felt they’d been taken for granted, far too much.

In the last decade we saw huge amount of lands, Old Portugese homes being sold to Russians. Worse still, as the Russian Mafia stories were being told Old Goan families began getting disturbed. They hadn’t opposed the settling of migrants, foreign tourists, because they know their state thrives on tourism. However, their concerns about security, safety were valid, which the govt had blatantly ignored. Goans felt horrified to witness rapes, deaths in their back yards.

Worse was still to come for the peace loving, laid-back Goans, who began seeing large tracts of their coastal & green belt being offered on a silver platter to developers, 5/7 star hotels & resorts. Another next scam began unfolding, which sealed the fate of Congress permanently -The Mining scam. A woman activist highlighted the nexus between illegal miners & politicians, especially those close to Congress leaders.

Goa has far more greenery, untouched lands that were now under threat thanks to the mining industry. Also, it would have led to flattening of mountains & depletion of forests. The initiative taken by Philip Neri D’Souza & others was daunting & threatening. The outcome was a writing on the wall before the elections itself. Yet the Christians faced a moral dilemma. While on one hand the Church issued (which is everytime) the call to vote, but this time it was different -vote to keep communal parties away. The voters wanted a CHANGE. Now that meant traditionally in Goa it’s always been Congress or BJP led allies. This time it was the BJP.

This time however, the Christians were determined, they wanted to teach Cong a lesson. The one party that they had traditionally considered non-partisan, non-communal had let them down. On the other hand the Church also asked them to stay away from non-secular parties which put them in a quandary as they had no other choice.  A fundamentalist party with the current chief minister who in his last tenure scrapped 2 Christian holidays –St Francis Xavier’s Day & Good Friday; who said he hated Christians, this time round first apologized to Christians. Then defended himself saying he was given bad advice – he is educated, Goan who has NO knowledge I guess of his state brothers, for the sake of politics he also had to field 5 Christians to ensure he got majority. Manohar Parricker came to power with a majority. Such was the anger of Goans that most families who misused their power-Alemaos were ousted. And immediately on becoming the CM Parricker scrapped mining licences. At least for beginners this Goa govt seems to be on the right track.

The Christians like the Hindus in north too felt let down by the party that promised to protect them, to safeguard their religion & rights. They have trampled upon their own people time & again. Sadly religion, caste gender politics play a huge role in our country and our politicians & political parties have used, abused their vote banks like commodities. The winds of change have taken place, which doesn’t put any leader or party one above the other. It simply means more responsibility & safeguarding from misuse of power. 5 years is long, but the people are no longer patient, they have zero-tolerance to corruption which puts all parties & leaders on a permanent test.