A Nation starved of Heroes
A 23- year old medical student is brutally raped by six depraved men in a moving bus in Nation’s capital. She and her friend were battered, stripped and thrown out of the bus to die. When police arrived there were many onlookers, who did not spare a cloth to cover their nakedness. Police had to get bed sheets from a hotel to cover them to take them to hospital. However, the media story got the imagination of young people and they thronged Delhi streets, fighting with police and also a police official lost his life in the violence. Later the girl dies in Singapore hospital. It is a horrible event and I hang my head in shame.
Some statistics state that two women are raped every hour in India. There is no security for women in this country. It is a cultural malady, social evil and crime against women. There was no hue and cry when it was almost daily news. Raping women has been there always in India. Even Christian nuns dedicated to serve people were raped; Muslim women were brutally raped in Gujarat, Maharastra and other States; Sikh women were not spared in 1984 anti-Sikh riots in Delhi; Dalits women are routinely raped in many rural areas that is not considered headline anymore; and tribal women were not spared in tribal belts. During communal and caste riots, rape was used as tool for suppression, revenge and teaching lesson to a whole community.
Suddenly, the victim in Delhi in December 2012 became the hero of middle class masses. How come young people became aware of this huge issue suddenly? The conscience of the middle class was woken up?
Sadly, Indian young people do not have heroes. This is a culture that is unable to produce genuine heroes. Politicians are considered corrupt. Film heroes do not deliver. Flyer businessmen are grounded. Intellectuals do not inspire. Religious leaders are seen with suspect. Sports personality could inconsistently show success. In this context, with media whipping up frenzy a victim of crime, social apathy, police inefficiency and lethargic governance becomes an icon. Collectively masses sense they are just victims and do not know how to survive.
Lawlessness in streets, anarchy in public places and frenzy in social media are not the solution. Simply, laws cannot protect women. Has anti-dowry law protected women from dowry deaths? Has the law that provides penal action against those who torment and harass SC and ST stopped such occurrences? There is a need for change in the mind-set, attitude towards women. A culture that respects, celebrates womanhood. Need to reform the media that does not portray women as objects of lust depriving them of the dignity. Create gender sensitivity among all – including Government bureaucrats, police, judiciary, educationists and politicians.
Instead of creating a cult and hero worship, let us create a culture that celebrates justice and righteousness.