Saturday, 5 January 2013

Lighting the Torch

It has been almost three weeks now since the horrifying incident of rape on a moving bus jolted a nation out of its stupor. And a normally complacent public has taken to the streets to demand justice, and a normally apathetic government has responded in kind, and a normally slothful judiciary has taken cognizance. The media which normally buried such incidents in between sheaves of cricket controversies and defence scams has now been running this story and allied stories continuously for the past weeks. Not even an India-Pakistan cricket series, that normal bastion of public distraction can console a nation plunged into mourning. For you see, this is one cut that cuts too deep. Protest marches fuelled by anger and disdain have become epidemic across the country, as have shrines and places marked for respect. There is one just a little away from my home, and I assume from yours as well, proof of the fervour that has been ignited across the country.

The usage of the word normal in the above paragraph is not only a marker of my abject vocabulary, but an indicator of past history. This sort of shit happens, is perused by a callous public and relegated to a footnote in the annals of Indian rape history. The annals, are apparently quite lengthy as well, even though one may assume are completely made up of footnotes. Twenty Two thousand reported rapes a year in the latest statistic does not do India justice, we can expect the real number to be orders of magnitude higher. But credit where credit is due, this sordid business has not been relegated to any place other than the headlines. The media have not succumbed to their short term memory loss on this one. This rape victim has been anything but a normal one, and has refused to dissolve into the inky blackness of silence, instead lighting the torch of a movement against the apathy of the law and those who make it.

But you already know all this.

Which brings us onto the measures that a jilted society can now take to reform itself. As with most things of any import, these measure may follow one of two paths. To either lock up women in the confines of nascent safety laws, or to promote a freer and more open society. This is a debate that can broadly be classed as intuitive and counter-intuitive, and there are a few issues that have followed such lines. One of them is economics.

You see, when faced with the rampant dissolution of monarchies, the establishment of republics and democracies everywhere, and an increasing emphasis on trade and economic policy to feed and clothe a rapidly growing population, the powers that were in charge of their respective people had two paths to follow. One was to side with the poor(the intuitive path). The poor were the most needy, hence needed the most protection, the maximum amount of handouts and the maximum number of assurances. The idea was that we placed our trust in the poor to lift themselves out of poverty leveraging the benefits we gave them. The other was to side with rich(the counter intuitive path). To provide benefits to the richest people hoping that some of them would wish to grow their wealth, and thus provide employment to the poor. To hope that the richest of the rich would indulge themselves in philanthropy rather than philandering their wealth away.

These measures are otherwise known as socialism and capitalism, and while the one was an eminent failure, the other has helped countries like ours to grow, prosper and create a new middle class.

The same middle class that responded with such animosity to the barbaric treatment meted to one of its own. There have been worse cases in the poorer villages of India that no one knows anything about as the media is unwilling to cover anything that doesn't benefit itself. The rape of a middle class girl may have triggered an outrage, but it is an incident that will sell papers more likely than not. This middle class needs to recognize that protest marches and candlelight vigils will not have any effect on those of the criminal mentality who commit these crimes. Nor will it bring about any empathy in the people who struggle for their daily bread. The sort of people we tend to overlook as human beings are the ones most susceptible to moral and criminal turpitude.

The conversion of society as a whole to a more law abiding one presents many currently insurmountable challenges, but for now we must be content merely with stricter laws and policing. And treating those who behave like animals as such. No mercy should be shown to those who have shown none. Hang the bastards.

1 comment:

  1. I agree with the victim, these creatures don't deserve the mercy of a quick death.

    Thank you for speaking out about this. Perhaps this time we can bring about a change..