By Khawaja Ziya (Voice of Margin)
Noted retired Justice of Supreme Court of India again falls into the paternalist explanation that ‘boys have done by mistake and after all it’s a biological need’. We recollect one prominent leader of Hindi heart land, who once normalized ‘ladko se galti ho gayee’ (boys did a small mistake). How far we have travelled to correct out mindset, a mindset that finds no harm in an act of shame, an act of barbarians or I would say an act that no rationale and humane society would allow for? Such a narrative in the name of culture or biological need of the men finds an apt moment when an innocent woman and young girls are brutally raped and killed in a way that a common mind can never think.
The way rape victims are tortured, not only body parts are broken, crushed but the monstrous ways of crushing private parts are beyond my comprehension. Why such brutality. Are such minds an alien to our society? Does Indian society nurtures a thinking and socialization process that is inherently barbaric in nature and grows up within the family and kinship of our society? Or is it the fight of caste supremacy over the other low born castes? Or is that a manhood/boyhood demonstration by an act that makes nude and naked and open the real face of our very own great values that most Indian men adores of?
Is there any space left to feel ashamed as an individual of 21st century India? I am not putting another established case of how children are one of the soft and vulnerable population who are easily accessible to predators as they are known among the family and kith-kin network. The toughest task for a child and even a parent is to find who is a possible criminal and a danger to their child, is very difficult and risky to name until suffered. Just take a look at data given by National Crime Record Bureau (NCRB-2019), which states that the crime against children that were reported are 1,48,185. Please keep in mind with small consideration, of how difficult it is to report a crime in the police stations of our countryside. it is not less than a horrifying experience for common citizens to visit any police station.
An article published on September 30, 2020 written by Neeta Sharma reiterates that “children and women are most vulnerable among their own relatives and known people, compared to unknown people in the context of sex-related crime, according to government data”. A national agency, NCRB, which records criminal activities year wise, puts 2019 data that gives a startling fact that in 94.2 per cent of rape cases, the accused was known to the survivor and the family.
But my hunch is not limited to rape victim’s familiarity to the accused as they also include someone who are the by-products of chauvinist, patriarchal and upper caste dominant members of the society. The brutal authority attained traditionally to rape a girl from low caste in India doesn’t find acceptance anywhere in the world, even in most barbaric societies. This type of consciously chosen way to rape and give lesson not only to the already most excluded Dalits, Shudra families but to keep alive the entire community under the dominance is the most dangerous roots Indian caste society has.
Rape, torture, broken body parts and then forced arrangement of last funeral rituals are all against the Hindu customary practices, laws of the country and none that the human conscience could allow. But rape incident in Hathras of Uttar Pradesh is the most horrifying example of modern India. This is one such horrifying and mind shaking incident that narrates the involvement of even higher echelons of state agencies. How does governance help the most deprived who voted in order to find safeguards, when the constitutionalism is everyday shaken by the misogynists.
Unfortunate to the dead soul, the raped and tortured, didn’t even get her last respectful rituals. Her mother at least wanted to put turmeric (haldi) on her face before she was taken to wooden fire! It is never a practice to give burial after sunset in India among Hindus, the protector of Hinduism are burning the basic values of Sanatan Hindu culture.
Examining the number of cases filed under POCSO Act, girls have highest vulnerability at 25,934 than boys who were 258 out of 26,192 total cases reported. Even in outraging the modesty of children, it is again girls who found the brutal eyes of stalker, with girls 16,139 as victims and boys were 260 in numbers out of 16,399 total numbers reported (2019). The readers must be familiar that these data are collected from all Indian states and Union Territories relating to crime against children. There is an increase of 4.5 per cent in 2019.
I have mentioned the cases by NCRB not to glorify the best mechanism in recording higher cases but imagining about the way cases are increased every year when the ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ is the most acclaimed slogan of the ruling regimes. The crimes in most Hindi heartland is increasing- how does a student of social sciences understand this phenomenon would also depend upon the perspectives one usage. A humane and rationalist would die due to depression or would not sleep until the justice served to the victims- there are these voices in India at present in one hand. On the other side, a high level of joy is celebrated when an accused is hanged or given life-term after years of struggle and sufferings of the victims’ family by running pillar to post of the judicial systems of the country. Not quite long ago, with the hanging of Nirbhaya accused, citizens all across the country celebrated and felt relieved following the judgement by a Delhi court to hang all the four convicts. A wave of feeling emerged in the civil society that now all is well. But where and how it is all well? But the perception that India’s daughter Nirbhaya got justice is one such metaphor that kills hundreds of women everyday in India.
The family system in India has been an ancient agency to up-bring and socialize boys mindset that has allowed even the most educated minds to act like an barbaric animals. Do we have any responsibility as a citizen, rights and responsibility given by Indian constitution? Or the system remains rotten until the rotten, patriarchal and parochial castist mindset remains alive? Had there been any society that is modern, developed and has equal respect, dignity towards the life of their women and daughters, and not only for the GDP and high rising per capita income, Punjab and Haryana should have been the best example of developed states in India, but sadly it is not. Media , that ideally should be the fifth eye in a democratic society, is in the hands of similar political chauvinists’ hands and groups.
The views and opinions expressed by the writer are personal and do not necessarily reflect the official position of VOM or Kupwara Times.