I can never forget the day I had to visit a police station to report the loss of my driving licence. I went in with my heart hammering, scared to death, and all ready to run out if they tried anything funny. All the gory stories of the protectors of the public raping and abusing women were running in my head.
The shocking and heinous incident of gang rape and now murder in Delhi has the whole of India in frenzy. While I and women and at least some men all over the country are super glad that people have at last woken up to the fact that something is very drastically wrong, will it change things as they stand?
Even at the cost of sounding very cynical, I must admit that I have serious doubts that men (and disgustingly many women) are going to evolve into more civilised individuals just because there is so much hue and cry over the issue.
What really is the issue here? For me the only issue is and always has been the treatment and perception of women in a country where women are prayed to as goddesses but in reality considered second rate citizens. A country where girls and bahus have to hide themselves under a ghoonghat, a purdah even within the confines of their homes to shield themselves from the prying and preying eyes of men who are like their fathers and brothers. Then again there are fathers who don’t think twice about molesting and abusing their own daughters. Where women ill-treat their daughters-in-law, where girls cannot go where they want to, wear what they want to because it’s not safe enough, where women are pawed and poked in buses, where daughters and wives and bahus have to take permission from their fathers, husbands and their families to step out of the house, where women refuse to respect each other or themselves because they believe they are not as good as men and men are gods...
Women and men get raped everyday when we bow down and let others seduce us in to becoming and doing something we really don’t want to, stripping us of our values and principles because we are afraid, afraid for our lives, our loved ones, our respect, and our peace of mind.
A society takes a long period of time to become sick. This happens when basic human values start to get eroded and do not get passed from one generation to another. When we cannot even take care to talk to other people without being rude or without bothering about other’s feelings or respecting others value system, sooner or later we are not going to be bothered about hitting him, stealing, thieving, murdering, beating and killing.
The fact that a large percentage of population lives in extreme poverty while the policy makers live in great luxury is not a coincidence. It is by design for vote bank politics. These policy makers are not bothered about so many millions living a life of penury. As our society grows, it may be sad but certain, that eve-teasing, molesting, raping, and corruption will be considered the done-thing. Or they are already the accepted thing.
Is it that the only solution to stop this degradation of society lies in strengthening of the justice system? I do not think so. Yes it will make the criminals afraid of the consequences of their actions and also bring in a closure in the minds of the victims; it may not be enough to stem the rot. While this is one of the very important ways of decriminalising the human population, for me, the one most important thing we forget to do is to humanise and educate the masses. The process needs to begin from within each of us, within our minds and hearts. That can only be done by us as parents, husbands, wives, brothers, sisters, grandparents, friends, children by setting examples. This calls for strengthening the most important social unit – The Family. Good family values will go a long way in stemming the rot. Till then, the fear of the law may help.
Morals, values and principles may be different for different people, however, there has to be one value and principle no one can deny and should be instilled in every human, “you cannot and will not hurt or harm another human”. Shri Shri Ravi Shankar recently said, “I say nothing will work without reviving human values. Let's resolve to make the world a better place for men, women & children”.
Then and only then will the rape, molestation, abuse and murder of the human mind and life stop.