In last fortnight my country, and my city, has been part of massive protest rallies against a recent gang rape, the viciousness of which has shaken our very core. In spite of all the medical support, the rape victim did not survive, which made us broken hearted, scared and shaken. If there was one thing I wanted all this time, was girl to survive. I prayed for her, hoping that her indomitable courage and wish to live will stand in support of her body, and we can all show her how much she had forced us to introspect.
A 23 year old, with her boyfriend, had boarded a bus with four more passengers, from a crowded bus stop in Delhi at around 8:15pm. What is the possibility that all the others in the bus, including the driver and the attendant, knew each other and they were waiting for someone like her to step into the bus, so that they can have their share of sadistic pleasure? What were the possibilities that these men will drive the bus around Gurgaon expressway for around 45 minutes in the evening, undetected by the police PCR vans, a road which generally sees heavy traffic even into the nights? And yet that day all these near impossible events happened, and two people paid a price so heavy, that a nation awoke from its slumber to hang its head in shame.
Delhi has always been unsafe, at least since the time I have been staying in the city, which is for last four years. It’s the crime rate which does not bother me so much, as the attitude of people here does. This city is so callous towards women, so arrogant towards others, and extremely self centred to say the least. For a city with so much of heritage, history, infrastructure, administrative decision making capacities, the attitude of the residents here remains its Achilles Heel.
Crimes may be solved with good policing. But what to do about people who believe in female foeticide, dowry deaths, and subjugation of women? How do you reform a society filled with sick minds? Where do you start?
Since the incident I have heard various comments, including ‘Mothers should teach boys to respect women’ (what about fathers teaching the same?); ‘Agar bach jayegi toh zinda laash ho ke jiyegi’ (‘If she survives then she will be living dead’-really? And the perpetrators of the crime will dance with joy, I suppose?), which has incensed me. The victim must have done something to deserve this, a huge segment of the society which is not really part of the protestations, believe that, like they have always believed whenever women have been brutalised and violated. It is this thought scares me in this city. And I keep wondering, protests, fast track courts, increasing mobile PCR (Police Control Room) vans, or even new laws for safety of women, how far will these help if we still continue with our same mindset, that of women must be controlled by men?