Sunday, 30 December 2012

A Tiny String Of Hope

At present, I am on vacation with my family in the United Kingdom. News about India, however, still continues to reach us especially updates of the status of the Delhi gang-rape victim. Facebook is flooded with messages of people expressing their shock, angst, fury, frustration, despair and wrath. Despite being a frequent user, I refrain from paying much heed to the content posted by people on Facebook. Somehow I doubt the sincerity of their desire to actually do something that will actually make a difference...For example, without meaning to offend anyone, I do not see how changing your profile picture to a black dot (apparently symbolizing how shameful the state of affairs in our country are) is going to make a positive difference!

Today, I received the news that she died. A part of me was dejected because somehow I had a tiny ray of hope that she, who had succeeded in awakening so many emotions in so many people would not, herself, rest in slumber. The tragedy of our nation or, perhaps, of mankind, in general, is that we all have short-term memories! Once a person dies, we forget about him or her in some days and our life continues with its usual monotony. I hope that the protests that have been happening continue until justice is delivered instead of fizzing out like many other such instances. We all seem to have developed the bad habit of only living in the moment. Once a tragic moment has elapsed, we just forget about it, move on and focus on the other moments that are more likely to be pleasurable.

The media has played its role in bringing to light not just how unsafe women in our country are but also the mind-set of many of the people in our country who continue to treat women as second-class citizens that need to succumb to whatever they are being subjected to - for women, survival should matter (it is all about "saving intestines"); dignity is secondary, if at all, important.

I am not a radical feminist. I do not think it is a crime to objectify women based on their looks and on the basis of the sort of clothes they wear; these days, even men are subject to such objectification (for example, John Abraham in Dostana) even if it is to a lesser degree.  Yet I would like to live in a country where women are treated with respect.

This is where, I feel, the problem lies. How do you teach someone to respect a woman in a country where everyone wants a son over a daughter? How do you teach a family of well-to-do,"educated" individuals to respect a woman for what she is and not for the amount of dowry she is going to bring to the household? How do you teach a man working at the topmost executive level of his firm that it is not acceptable to displace his anger towards his boss by beating up his wife?
From the time a son is born, he looks at the way his father treats his mother. He sees how partial the mother is in his favour between him and his sister? How easy is it to change so many years of conditioning? I am not sure if candle-light marches or setting up fast-track courts is where the solution to the problem lies...It is a much bigger issue at a macro-level that we need to address.

Even though she is no more, I hope her demise will bring about a change that will make this country a better place for women. Although the government seems unmoved and has to make use of tear-gas machines in answer to the protests, the cries of the protesters and their pleas are, hopefully, real and will succeed in bringing about some positive changes in our country. I hope it isn't a lot that I am hoping for...

18 comments:

  1. Very well said it. In the Indian homes, there is one set of rules for sons another set of rules for daughters. This should be done away with.

    May she rest in peace.

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  2. Divya, it is a shame and the country like India has millions of light years to go to become a country where therr is respect and basic human decency in the population. It calls for the change in mindset at every single household level. Since, I am not in a position to impact billion plus people, I share the positive opinions with people i interact. Change is at individual level then the development shows at the national level. In my opinion it is not otherway. While the Govt of India at every level is utterly useless, their uselessness does not stop us at our personal level. I wish every individual makes an effort. Sincerely, Vani

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    1. That is so true! A change can make an impact at a global level only if it is accepted by all the local cultures...changing the way government bodies work is not going to make a difference at a 'national' level - we all need to change at a personal level for it to make a difference at the macro-level..No wonder they say, every little drop makes the ocean!

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  3. Rest in Peace! I am beyond sorry for what happened in your life..........

    In my prayers
    Vani

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    1. This isn't something that really impacted me at a personal level - I don't know her personally...but I do hope she is in peace in her better world and there is something positive that comes out of all the atrocities she had to endure...

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  4. you are right divya ji, no doubt this is a challenge...we have to pull all our energy and hope for this....we should not forget the success story of indian story....we came out of no education to females to education must society....no work outside to you can work attitude for females.....society is emerging from all the nonsense dogma to sensible environment...still some flavours of past irrational thinking....we have to work till the last breath of life..let us make this society safe, violence freee and happy confident.....

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  5. You know, as girls raised in urban homes, we're told that we're no different from men in any respect. Yet, when we grow older, we're told to dress appropriately, not go out after a specified hour. As for the girl, initially, I did feel that she wouldn't survive; the fact that she fought her rapists till the very end and even while being treated her will to survive and to be brought to justice is commendable. I can't think of anyone who would have wanted to live after being violated, the way she was.

    Also, what bothers me is the media circus. If you followed the news channels yesterday, all of them called eminent speakers from corporates to well-known lawyers, activists, former cops and asked for suggestions to ensure public safety of women. While all this is warranted, what really bothered me was the reportage that went on when the news of her death started trickling in... #RIPNirbhaya is still trending on Twitter. IBN has nicknamed her Braveheart, NDTV calls her Amanat and some other channel / publication has called Damini - is her life some sort of glorified tragedy? When you blame politicians for milking it, what the hell do you think you're doing?

    I'm hoping these protests don't fizzle out as they always have. We don't want sympathy, what we do hope for is some empathy when these crimes happen.

    In the show of solidarity that Mumbai is putting up, it also bothers me that no one in Mumbai is bothered about the rape that happened here last week; a Nepali woman was raped thrice on the same day - on her first day in Mumbai.

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    1. I have an issue with the way her death is being glorified...Also, the offenders getting punished - for me - is really not a victory! They were nobodies - they would be punished! If they were big-shots (as in the case of the Jessica Lal murder case), perhaps, they would have escaped....In our country, justice is easy if the culprit is a nobody....When they are 'somebodies' is where the real test lies...

      The media is unreliable - one rape case makes a story and suddenly everyone is reporting rape cases...So many cases go unreported...Change has to occur at the level of homes and in the way every member of society perceives a woman...Only then can true change happen!

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  6. I guess we don't need change just in India, but everywhere else. People say that boys and girls are equal, but they should also start believing in it now. Girls should be provided with the respect they deserve. Only then can the world be a better place for humanity !!!

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  7. You are right Divya, this time it needs to be beyond a profile pic, a FB status, a blog post or a living room dicussion..

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    1. Yes! Hope the protests do not fizzle out!

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  8. Sad indeed Divya! Hope things change for better! Best wishes for the New Year

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