31 December, 2012


1. Pakistan’s Malala and India’s Amanat were both brutalized by men: the former in the name of faith, the latter for the sake of lust. Both received massive native support, and full cooperation of the government. Both were air-lifted in air ambulances to foreign countries for better treatment. Lucky the former survives. And lucky the latter doesn’t. 

2. Yes, Amanat would not have been able to live life happily. A raped girl’s life ends in India effectively on that day. Her own family forsakes her. Indeed, she dies a thousand deaths. Every day and at every turn she receives a cut, unless she goes away, far, far away to a land of total strangers. 

3. With the brutal injuries she received she would always be a physical wreck. And suffer the pain of living every day. None of these protesters would come forward to marry her, to support her medical bill, to own her, or even to lend her a shoulder to cry on. If I were Amanat I would wish to die after this terrible, ghastly, haunting trauma.
4. I don’t believe a Heaven exists at all. But, for once, it better be, to receive such victims. What has the earth given to Amanat, anyway? She deserves so much. And needs to celebrate her wedding, still.

5. While the nation by and large genuinely felt outraged against this demonic and monstrous male barbarity, there were many who virtually ran an industry out of it. Media topped this. We shall discuss how. And several youth were completely idiotic; some were just there for a change, to while away their Christmas vacation. Others were completely unaware of what their demands were, or ought to be. Much after action was taken some kept asking for it! 

6. Failing to preempt the rape was a gruesome failure of our law enforcing machinery. If there were systems in place and if the officers failed to observe them, by all means they must be punished. And every possible step should now be taken to put them in place.

7. But given the situation did they do their job afterwards well? Yes, they did. Splendidly actually. The authorities, specially the police, showed enormous restraint in the face of completely misplaced outburst and at times plain hooliganism of the youth. They found out the bus and apprehended the culprits all within 48 hours. Which country does remarkably better than this under such trying circumstances and given such diversities? If anything I would say to them kudos, for once.

8. As for rape, per se, everyday women – even minors – are being raped all over India. Some by their own fathers. Some Dalit women by the police officers whom they approach for lodging a complaint against rape by the local gang-lord. When did these young men last ever arise for these hapless, voiceless girls and women? Why? Aren’t we supposed to be ONE country, ONE people? Or is the life of the middle class urban girl vastly richer than her rural counterpart’s. I hope Amanat would never have approved of this discrimination. 

9. How many of these protesting youth did raise the issue of rape in their FB posts or Twitter ever? What percentage of their total posts did that amount to? 

10. How many of them have fought pornography in public places, in press meant for the family, on hoardings? This was all but left to moral police of the right wing. 

11. What grievances did these youth have, anyway, even AFTER the culprits were apprehended, the Delhi Police Commissioner and the Home Minister of India had spelled out govt determination to mete out strict punishment, Rahul and Sonia met their delegates and sufficiently assured of unceasing action? Hang the culprits without trial, a la Taliban? What EXACTLY did they want the govt to do? What was the media coaxing them to do? Some tod-phod, obviously, for another sensational story for their TRP’s sake?

12. When these youth were going gaga with Team Anna this was precisely what we were saying: there are more issues than corruption; let us attend to them, too. But then these young men were unwilling to listen. Pity that the same Arvind Kejriwal now joins these protests, forgetting corruption, and Lokpal, for once, in whose name they held the nation to ransom for so long.

13. The clamour: The congress leaders should have visited the protesters
a. Whom should they have talked? Which protest site should they have gone to?
b. What happened when Sheila Dikshit visited Jantar Mantar
c. Where was the guarantee of civil and courteous behaviour by the protesters
d. And if the section that met them were convinced by the visiting leader, would the rest of the protesters have listened to their appeals?

14. BJP says: convene a special session of the parliament!
a. But you wasted half the winter session boycotting the parliament
b. A spate of bills are pending consideration already
c. Did you raise this question by bringing a private bill, by raising any point of order or by asking a question?
d. Did you launch an agitation ever on that issue?
e. Isn’t your demand articulated merely playing to the gallery, and for bashing the congress?

15. Now, about the posturing of the media. Most of these ‘metro’ and Delhi-focused English TV channels were brazenly provoking the youth. I remember, failing to see enough agitation, one anchor was asking his reporter repeatedly to ask the protesters what their demands were? Finally, they got the cue and suddenly started shouting their ‘demands’ which included PM’s resignation, CM’s resignation, hanging of the culprits. At another occasion the reporter happily – almost approvingly – relayed the demand that the PM and the Chief Justice of India should come to the site to meet the protesters! They wanted to hear what the govt is doing, and will do. Were they not watching the TV? The govt plans were duly reported publicly. Could the ‘reporter’ not remind them of this?

16. How often has any of these august media channels [Times Now and Headlines Today in particular] raise a series of debates on rape, or showed a documentary on this menace during the last year, and what percentage of their coverage time did it amount to? Indeed, how often have they reported the rural and Dalit and tribal rapes? How often have they visited these villages and tribes? 

17. Wisdom by hindsight may be forgiven but how can we ignore their moral posturing and admonishing tones? Are all the ministers, bureaucrats, police officers a bunch of jokers, no-do-gooders and stupid chair breakers that they must be given lessons by these novices whose only qualification is good English, and whose lethal weaponry is called a video camera? Can we not turn around and ask THEM what THEY did BEFORE this rape, to curb this menace?

18. Do the rapists descend from the Mars? Is rape born in a vacuum? Who rapes whom? How can we deny that our rapes are about US, by US, of US? It is produced in the kind of society made by US? Germinate and nurtured by media patronized by US? That from eve teasing, to female subordination, to female foeticide, to polygamy, to dowry deaths, to Khap panchayats, it is all about potential, virtual rape, in varying degrees?

19. And how many of our jurists came out to tell the protesters that after apprehending the culprits the ball effectively shifts to the judiciary, and is not an Executive domain beyond filing the charge sheet and harnessing evidences? How many celebrities – Amitabh Bachchan included – came out to counsel to these protesters peace and quiet? How many of our icons, our columnists and anchors and debaters told the protesters that the government did NOT rape the girl, the bus was not official, the rapists not govt employees – not even were they Congressmen? How many asked these youth if they are ready if
a. Prohibition was enforced in Delhi, since all the rapists were drunk?
b. Halting and checking private vehicles, including cars, staff buses of various companies, etc would be the norm?

20. Visit India Times or Indian Express website. Press page down twice. And there you will be taught how to do ‘it’, with whom, how often, and in what variations. Sufficiently illustrated. In plain erotic language fit for a sex manual or pornographic film. Open a supplement of Times of India, or any others of these august publications, [and I challenge you won’t if your mother or young sister is around] and count at least half a dozen busty, bikini-clad women completely needlessly planted on stories of all kind. Why does the media publish such stuff? Because WE buy it. We want it. So what is all this hypocrisy about sex? Rape, in so far as it arises from frustration born of denial of legitimate, consented adult sex, must be understood in larger social paradigm. If Miss Universe Competition is our largest viewed TV programme, surely we have got something grossly wrong about ourselves. Or are deceiving.

21. When just six months ago Kapil Sibal then IT Minister advocated some restraint from vulgarity the Internet liberators arose in hordes and these very same youth shouted him out. 

22. In the long run, rape can only be stopped, through a wholesale reorientation of our social order. It begins with our misplaced male hegemony, imbalanced gender sensitivity, female subordination. But it also results from our schism, our split personalities on the question of sex. Let’s not be prudish any more. It is hurting our innocent girls gruesomely. Let us address to sex, liberalize adult consented sex. Let regulated red light areas exist in migrant labour neighborhoods. Let public pornography be curtailed – from Internet to Indiatimes, everywhere. And let the rapists be tried swiftly and punished exemplarily so as to serve as adequate deterrent.

23. Uncomfortable reading this? I have been, too. But I have a right to express myself on this painful subject. It concerns me. I have cried when babies, angels, minor girls were raped. I have written at least half a dozen times on rape in the last one year alone. And because in the name of protest our nation – and our public life – was almost held to ransom for a fortnight. Delhi came under siege, the central government was stretched to the brink, the Rashtrapati Bhavan nearly came to be ‘occupied’. 

24. And because I shudder to think what would have happened if the rapists were / are Muslims? Worse, what if one of them happened to be a Palestinian, a visiting Pakistani?

Amanat, you suffered enormous pain; you left us. But we survive to suffer and share a bit of your pains each. And we intend to eradicate this pain for ever. By acting cool-headedly, dispassionately, determinedly, and open-mindedly. So that no Amanat ever again has to suffer your pains. We promise we each will do our bit. I am doing mine with this write-up.

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