Saturday, September 14, 2013

Standing up For Women in India

The recent judgement of the Delhi court in connection with the December 16, 2012 gang rape case has sent a wave of happiness throughout the country. And why not? The manner in which the crime was committed and the whole of Delhi descended on the streets demanding death for the criminals of this heinous crime – it was nothing sort of victory for the Indian society that is sandwiched between the political class and corrupt bureaucrats. However, while the major section of the society wants death, there is a section that feels that strict punishment is necessary and death is not the option.

Now let me question the media since we the Indians are more influenced by it. Why is the media more concerned with rape cases in major cities like Delhi and Mumbai? Why not with the ghastly crimes committed in towns and villages? Is it something to do with TRPs? Why did the Indian society not rise and stand up for the victim in Kamduni in West Bengal? Why not against honour killings in Haryana and UP?

More important however, will a death penalty help in curbing crime against women? No, never. Let us get at the very root of this problem. Most rape cases throw up the fact that perpetrators of such crime have a background where education does not carry its value. In most household, the husband would beat up her wife in front of their little kids when she refuses to part away with her hard earned money to fulfil his crave for a pouch of liquor. The little kid will grow up having little respect for women.

In many families, the parents-in-law and husband would maltreat the newly wedded woman for the greed of more dowry. Come on, what are we up to? We treat women unfairly at our home and society and expect them to be treated fairly and be safe in the unknown world...

Remember the adage – charity begins at home! Even today in many middle class household the boy child is given new things to play with while the girl child gets the older things. So what does the boy learn as he grows up? Equality among the genders is another important factor here. Do we treat girls equal to the boys at home? If no, it’s high time to realize that we ensure that the girl’s safety lies in how we treat them in front of the boys.

If our repeated posts on Facebook or Twitter expressing grief and horror on such incidents are real to even some extent, shall we dare to protest against the wife being harassed by her husband adjacent to our home? Or shall we just turn a blind eye justifying our act since it was their personal matter?

Concluding this short post, I would like see an India where justice is delivered to victims of rape cases in a short span of pre-determined time interval and special courts be established for the same. Let us, the so called educated society of India, be a bit brave and not a mere coward playing into the hands of evil force.

Last but not the least; let us be the winds of change in how we look at a woman. Let each one of us pledge that while we are around nobody should dare to stare upon the dignity of women around us.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

India After 66 Years

Another 15th August for India. Another Independence Day for Indians. 66 years ago on this very day, the world realized that India is no more under the British dominance. 66 years ago the whole country celebrated with fervor the happiness of being free.

But today, after 66 years my mind asks whether we are really independent? Yes, we the Indians are no more ruled by the establishment of a foreign country. Another thought quickly rushes in – we are being ruled by elected representatives where the citizens are heard for a couple of months; and that too only before the elections. The elected representatives use their power for the rest of their term to choke our voices and to fill up their pockets. A part of me says – “that’s the main problem. Politics have destroyed the country”. Everybody around me says, “Politics is cheap and dirty. It has destroyed the very dream that Netaji Subhas Bose and Bhagat Singh had fought for.”

Hang on! While you keep blaming the political class for all the evil that India has seen, I vehemently ask you – “How are you different?” While your mind tries to quickly search for reasons for its own defense, I will tell you how much your actions have affected India.

So, let me start with the place where young minds reside in India. Facebook and Twitter. Already doing the rounds are cover photo and profile pic updates of Indian Flag, etc. As soon as the clock strikes 00:00, the only status update will consist of “Happy Independence Day”, “East or West – India is the best”. In Twitter, the trending topics would be “India”, “Independence Day”. Is it not the similar way in which our political parties react just before elections? They promise of what is to come if they are elected. They never like discussions on what they did for the last five years. Same it is for you. For the last 364 days your status updates had only shown IPL updates, SRK’s upcoming movies, the new gadget that you had bought, maximum shares and likes for photo-shopped pics of deformed babies and Sai Baba. You felt that these would help you get blessings from your deities and help the so called malnourished baby since you were sure that Facebook would donate 1$ for your like. And you call yourself “The Educated Indian class?” You are no different from the political class. You will never read posts that speak of how the political class has suppressed certain facts, leave out sharing them. You will care to read raunchy jokes and share them but will never care to share the Government’s apathy towards de-classification of Netaji files. Indians will feel proud to say that Netaji is their son and yet continue reading cheap books of Chetan Bhagat and JK Rowling rather than the ones by Anuj Dhar and Ramchandra Guha. And you feel you are being patriotic.

Now let me tell you about what you mostly do to make things done in India. Bribe! Oh look you are so disappointed. Your mind will protest that it’s not your fault. If you don’t bribe, your work remains undone. You will point out that to get your things done by the Government officials, whom you label as “non-sense, lazy and kaam-chor” are to be blamed for the same. So I have to assume you are nothing more than a dumb. You will, with sad eyes opine – “that’s the way it has been all these years”. You know that the Government has made enough avenues for you to seek and get your work done. You realize that a little bit of pain will make some changes but you, the common man will never care but will sweetly adjust. You will never stop and realize that this so called adjustment is harming the future of this country. You say – “Who cares? I might have to suffer for standing up.” And then you want the political class to be sensitive and do what is right. While you raise one finger at them, realize that the other three points at you. If you want change, be the change! A hint for you – RTI, Consumer Forum and Directorate of Public Grievances.

You are sad that political class has used minority class to increase their vote bank. The Indian media has coined a new word – Vote bank politics. Huh! Why should they not use them when the educated citizens will only marry their kids off within their caste? Why shouldn’t they when you refuse to protest when your mom/dad wants you to sacrifice your love since he/she is from the other caste. You have been selfish all along and no doubt the elected representative will reflect your mentality.

You feel paying taxes is your only duty. In that case please pay your taxes and don’t claim deductions. You call yourself an patriotic Indian! Yes, why not, on Independence Day you make sure that you spend more time going out for movies, shopping in malls and eating out in restaurants. But you will never for even 10 minutes think what the country needs and what you can do for the country. You will not spend a couple of minutes holding up your heads high and saluting the National Flag. Yes, you would rather do it in Facebook. Hypocrisy at its height!

It is an individual that makes a difference to the society. One such name in the present days is Arvind Kejriwal. He and his team knows well that complaining does not help in India and hence they have taken up the broom to sweep all the dirt that presently exists within the Indian political class. While many have been generous to this promise of change, most of you feel that power corrupts and hence you continue doing what you do best – complain. That’s what most of you do best in India – complain!

Dear countrymen, all is not lost. There is still time to mend. On this Independence Day let us pledge that we will follow Rabindranath Tagore’s words – “Jodi tor daak shune keu na ashe, tobe ekla cholo re” [If nobody responds to your call, go alone]. You as an individual can achieve a lot for the country if you desire. The country needs you, will you stand up? Only time will tell.

Wish you a very Happy Independence Day! Jai Hind! Vande Mataram!