Okay, I have been itching to get back to my writing ways. The last few weeks have been consumed in certain other pleasures of mine which demanded my attention. However, I am not the one who shall write for the sake of it either. That is belittling my craft I believe. Anyways, as it turns out a lot has been happening over the last few months everywhere. Political changes, cricket ups and downs and the usual happenings in our country have been grabbing eyeballs. However, the one incident that has obviously caught everyone by fire is the brutal gang-rape of the Delhi girl who eventually died a couple of days back.
Now, I am not going to add to the already inflated views of how bad our system is, how crude our politicians are and how these rapists should be publicly pulverized. All of the above mentioned points are true, we all know it. As for the rapists, I for one believe that death is too easy a punishment for them. If they were to be hanged tomorrow it wouldn’t mean anything. These are deranged maniacs who should live and suffer every second of their lives to realize the level of their act. I really don’t have an answer on how that would come about. But they should suffer; like the girl’s parents would for the rest of their lives. I repeat, death would be too easy; almost a relief. They have to suffer, every day. Or else, humanity would have failed.
What should we do then to change this on-going situation? One would have thought that after the way public anger has mounted on this issue, people would be a little subdued before they commit such heinous crimes. But no sir, cases are piling up - a 45 year old woman was gang-raped two days back in my city, a 17 year old girl committed suicide after being gang-raped a few days ago and then I heard the news of a 2-year old baby being tied up and raped! What has the world come to? What is happening to our country, our people? What is wrong with these minds? Have we lost every ounce of humanity from us?
Today, I am not an angry Indian, but a scared one, a thoughtful one. I have no interests in these candle-light vigils, slogan shouting and abusing the politicians. What would that serve? Think for a moment. This is not just a problem of law and order; this is also the problem of the mindset, the psyche. I believe for change to come in, it us who has to change first; me, you, everyone. That also includes women. And by that, I don’t for a second mean that they should change the way they dress or change the places they visit. That is absurd to think. But I ask for a change in the way many women in our society think. Isn't it a fact that right from our childhood days we were implied from our grannys and moms that the men of the house are superior to the women in the way they were treated in the family? I have a pretty massive joint family from my mother’s side. During our mealtimes in family gatherings, my granny would always say “Let the men eat first.” I would argue with her on numerous occasions, try and explain her, but would fail badly. I would have to hear the same old, “sanskar and sanskriti” dialogues. But it was amazing to note on how girls in the family would follow that train of thought without flinching once. Men in our household, even the teenage boys, would automatically believe that they ‘are’ superior. They have a ‘right’ to work; women on the other hand 'can't' of course. This I believe is the case in millions of other homes as well. Shouldn't this change? Isn't all this somehow connected to the horror going on in our society today?
And then we also have our fair dose of ‘feminists’ today who are shouting from rooftops to ‘demand’ respect and equality for women and the likes. Admirable sentiments those but here again I have a problem. I ask all those women to be honest to themselves and ask yourself the question - Haven’t you ever taken advantage of your ‘feminism’? By getting things done for you? By making men dance to your tunes ? Or it might even be a very simple thing like getting a seat in the bus ‘because’ you are a woman. Never, ever? Really? This is not meant to justify anything, but a train of thought which ultimately I believe adds to the larger picture. All I want to say is that if you want ‘equality’, then ‘believe’ yourselves to be equal first. You can’t have a convenient time for demanding equality. Don’t play the ‘we are women, we have to suffer’ game. Believe that you are good enough; fight if necessary. Tough? Yes. Impossible? Ask yourself that.
You might think why am I not saying anything against men? They are after all the main culprits. But I do not have anything new to add there. Because this is not the question of men vs women or us and them. This is an issue concerning every one of us. Thus I am not going to lecture any further on how ‘most men are chauvinists’ or dogs or whatever you might want to add to it. That is not going to help. I asked in my earlier lines for a change of mindset and that includes every one of us; men, women, everyone. All these are of course sounding too filmy perhaps, but that is a start I believe. You will hear about the rest of the ‘solutions’ in the coming days in any case.
The Delhi incident has laid everything bare for us. The face of our society lies in front of us ripped to shreds. It shows us that fear is imminent it is near you. You can be next. I live in fear of my dear ones. What are we going to tell our children? What are they going to tell theirs? Something has to give; everything it seems is coming to a tipping point. We want change, but I say change yourself first. Think over it. Think what qualities would you inculcate in your children. Think. The men who raped the girl were also the children of their mothers. Would their mothers have ever imagined their sons to be such inhumans? Can any parent ever think for a second that their child would grow up to be a rapist? Who is to blame then? Something here is surely going wrong and that has to change.
This incident, like every other would be forgotten soon enough. The only ones who would really remember it are the girl’s parents who are now scarred for life. They are the ones who would die a thousand deaths everyday. And for what?
Be the change people; before shouting slogans think how cleansed YOU are from inside. Be the change you want to see. Deep down inside most of us are hypocrites living in disguise. Learn to be human first. It might start with changing a very simple thing; like spitting on the road and in the same breath asking the Govt. to step down. Start with changing yourself first. Like Morgan Freeman says to Jim Carrey’s character in the Hollywood film ‘Bruce Almighty’- ‘You want to see a miracle son? Be the Miracle’.
We might not live to see a clean society; but our future generations might if we learn to be humans first (and not ‘proud’ Bengalis or ‘Punjabis’ or whatever). That girl might have breathed her last but can’t we believe that she gave a new breath for our society to live with? Think over it and the girl might not have died in vain after all.