Tag Archives: Delhi

‘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…

How safe is Mumbai?

Any city is as safe as you’d want her to be in your mind. Yes. We will want to say Mumbai is ‘safer’ than Delhi. But is it? The number of crimes actually reported, detected, and overall the number of breach of security, safety of people actually leaves you wondering what a ridiculous premise we are defending- that Mumbai is one of the safest cosmo city in India.

We gloat that there aren’t so many instances of gang rapes in Mumbai. Do we even know the truth as regards crime? Well just read the number of rapes in the city on a daily basis, they out number the gang rapes number of Delhi. The violence against women, other citizens has increased many times. With the amount of slums in our city, I don’t think the police get half the number of crimes reported, forget detected.

This evening a couple walked out of Big Bazar, hand-in-hand. An on-coming Innova ran over this couple, the car driver sped, but was stopped by the Phoneix security & they were forced to take the injured couple to a nearby hospital. The bystanders mostly drivers helped the couple to get inside that Innova. The man’s skull was ripped & woman’s leg badly hurt. One will not know whether the man survived…or may be we will, but that’s not the point. Pl note the car sped away but was stopped by the security.

People are being robbed, mugged & threatened in Mumbai regularly. Most often the targets are women & senior citizens, the more vulnerable sections of society.  Everyday at least 3-4 chain snatching incidents are reported. Women’s Bags/purses are stolen. I-Pods, cell phones robbed. Many just don’t have the time to report. And many more children are kidnapped. So many missing persons that it’s easy to kidnap, mug somebody.

Travails of  local trains is another story. Male intruders just get inside women’s compartments-salesmen, including blind or wanting to sound politically correct, visually challenged, beggars, ones who just want cross over, the trains are never ending source of crimes. Well, they or any man shouldn’t be allowed inside women’s compartments. But this is tough to explain to the women themselves. With the women leading complex lives-wife, mother, daughter-in-law, struggling to fine balance its no surprise that this is taken in their stride as yet another ‘personal’ botheration.

Violence on local trains  too has increased. More & more instances of  molestation, which is daily. And most often others vociferously tell you it must’ve been a mistake, that would make you feel guilty for opening your mouth & yelling at the man who intruded in your space & ‘felt’ you. Being stalked or followed is so common nowadays that sadly women & more so men don’t realise its life-threatening, it is a breach of security. This happens so very often and women are scared to bits to lodge a complaint, worse still it’s brushed aside as ‘ignore such men’ & women are told treat it nonchalantly.

Often stalking culminates into a bigger crime. These stalkers usually attack those women, physically. And we have seen cases of acid attacks on women. Still acid is easily available without a prescription & can be bought over the counter. No on thinks of calling of more supervision.

Step out of your houses, whether in your own car or in taxis the safety on the roads of Bombay has worsened. There are more number of vehicles driving in the opposite direction on your side of the road. The constant tussle to overtake, at any cost, increases security risk. Road accidents have increased, road rage crimes have increased & so have deaths.

The city just doesn’t have facilities/amenities for senior citizens & physically challenged citizens. This in fact is is a time bomb ticking-to walk on our roads. Speeding vehicles, that give a damn & disrespect all traffic rules, signals & discipline. The footpaths are uneven, broken, tiles coming out & badly maintained. There are daily instances of accidents, falls, injuries.  There are no proper measured descends, slopes or ramps. The ill-maintained infrastructure takes toll on an individual on a daily basis.

Living in Mumbai is Worse still is for old, single people. It is life-threatening for them. Many face life threats from their domestic helps. There have been instances, like my own professor from Elphinstone College- Meher Jussawala, a literature genius who was killed by her help. House breaks, attacks on old women, senior citizens has been on the rise. Daily such crimes are not only reported, but are on the rise. Committing Suicide is a crime & just the apalling numbers of suicides in Mumbai city. the cut-throat competition leaves many feeling worthless, depressed. Loneliness is a killer disease for many & in a city there is no psychiatric help, social-community help, binding time, the people are unable to grapple with the loneliness disease. The suicides are also getting violent. Women jumping of sky scrapers, throwing their children from the terraces. This is NOT safe.

Walking on the road has become doubly dangerous. The manholes are left uncovered, with no danger alert signs. The number of people falling down the manholes has increased. Yet the issue isn’t taken seriously. Road accidents have increased, drunk driving cases have been just reduced, but the roads are unsafe. The increasing amount of traffic breaches is life threatening to others, especially the commuters.

Now apart from these let’s understand many other social issues. Members of Minorities-Muslim especially are rudely turned down in private societies for buying property. They are seen as terrorists. Muslims are denied basic right for housing, they are forced to live in ghettos. We perpetuate labelling & community/profile mapping. All of which is danger poser, for the community to begin with. They are not safe, they are being labelled for perpetuating violence. This leads to more intensified reactions. Racial profiling, community profiling is NOT right & & lead to more social also security problems.

Worse still is Mumbai is now on international & domestic terror radar/map. We are told we may not experience another 26/11, but the 13/7 type blasts can’t be stopped. That’s how seriously yours & my life is being taken by those for whose salary we pay taxes. !!!!

While Indians are obsessed with Kasab’s hanging, there are still many more heinous, violent killers, conspirators either out on bail, or roaming freely out of this country & out of the reach for our authorities. They continue to run the operations of their gangs here, they still make many an extortion call, issues threats, there are shoot outs, and now even bump off journalists. The level of gang activity may have been obviously kept far from public eye, but it continues to thrive.

Lastly, but most important is the fact that the police presence isn’t so prominent on our streets. Worse still, thanks to the way the Mumbai police force has deteriorated in the last few years, that no one fears them. They are not taken seriously & there is no faith. Do I think we are safe? We are safe as any other city, nothing more, nothing less.