India has been a peculiar country for long. It is only now that it has started changing into appalling and sometimes disgusting. Incidents in recent past, from Khap diktats on mobile phones to molestation in Guwahati and beating up of girls in Mangalore have cast a big question mark on the way we are “evolving” as a civilization. Incidents like these makes one stop and wonder whats wrong with this nation which boasts to be the spiritual leader of the world.
Indian Society in 2012 is at war with itself. It stands on a crossroads unable to decide where to go and equally unable to reconcile with the changes happening all around. There has been a defining change in the young Indian woman of today, in a stark contrast with what it was just one generation back. The urban Indian girl of today is as ambitious as any boy and wants to build her career outside the confines of matrimonial duties. She is willing to take challenges and is not the demure and shy girl of yore which defined them just 25 years back.
While a sweeping change happens, a parochial society stuck in time wrap stands squirming uncomfortably. An elder generation which has believed that a woman must remain under the protection of her father before her marriage, husband after marriage and son after widowhood, is not able to comes to terms with the new woman who feels suffocated under this protective regime and wants to break free. It is not happy to see that a girl wants to decide what she wants to become, how much she wants to study, the clothes she wants to wear and worse, the man she wants to marry. The distress of our society is the same as the agony of a Feudal lord who is forced to see his serfs getting freedom and challenge his authority. And it reacts in the same manner that landlord would react, by trying to curb the rebellion in the name of maintaining the status quo which has been there for centuries. We have seen the manifestation of this in the form of Khap Fatwas and honour killings.
While the elder generation is struggling to come to terms with changing times, we have a younger generation of deprived men with a misplaced sense of morality. Unable to digest the new girl who wears jeans and wants to enjoy her life as much as a boy would want to, these men feel marginalized in a world where they seemed to have missed the bus. We cannot dismiss these men from Guwahati and Mangalore as mere frustrated youth; for they are more sinister, like wolves in human skin. I am not able to place it correctly what exactly is wrong with them, a grudge against the women they can only dream of but never dream to get as they have become far superior than them; or a desperation to hold their territory, to push the girls back to their shells, to “show them their real place”. What perverse pleasure can one get by molesting a frightened lone girl on the streets? Have they dehumanized the women to such an extent that for these men, they are merely a female body – an amalgamation of body parts? Do they maintain score of the women they groped and touched in one day – 3 breasts, 2 thighs, 4 buttocks? What goes on in the minds of these young men of our nation?
Whatever be their motive behind the monstrosities, they do not realize the havoc they are creating in the social fabric of the Indian society. India is perhaps one of those few nations where the most barbaric and inhuman acts are committed in the name of culture and tradition. What can be a bigger irony than a young girl paraded naked on the streets by people who want to teach her Indian “values”? We have been hypocrites for a long time, now it seems that our transformation into savages is on the verge of completion. Chanakya had observed that the greatest threat to India does not come from the wrong deeds of the evil but the silence of the good. So while someone gets molested and beaten up in a crowded street of Kolkata or stoned to death in a village in Haryana, those who disagree choose to remain silent. The overall erosion in the sensitivities of the people is the saddest aspect of this.
The general apathy towards the crime against women is evident in our “culture” of making a villain out of a victim. If a girl was killed, she must have dishonoured her parents, if she was raped – must have provoked the criminal, if molested – her dress must be inappropriate. This is a shameless attempt of the society to find excuses for its impotency in providing security to its daughters. After the recent Mangalore incident, the Karnataka Women’s cell chief came forward to ‘appeal’ that girls should not attend parties. It is a fact that 65% of rape victims are children who are violated inside their own homes; will this enlightened buffoon come and tell them to avoid existing ? I do not know and do not want to know.