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Friday, 21 December 2012

The Gang Rape: Now What?

This is in continuation to the endless discussions that are happening on the unfortunate and terrible incident of Sunday last.

An unsuspecting woman is subjected to dirty sexy comments, molested, beaten with iron rod all over her body, kicked repeatedly in the abdomen, and subjected to unheard of torture, brutally raped by half a dozen people, stripped, and thrown out of the running bus. Her friend beaten with iron rod all over his body, locked in the driver’s cabin, made to witness the death dance of half a dozen drunken men on his friend, stripped, and thrown out of the bus, too.

The woman undergoes five surgeries and is battling for her life in the hospital (I salute her fighting spirit and pray to god to give her all the courage that she needs to overcome this trauma, if at all it can be overcome); the man is serious but out of danger; some of the culprits have been arrested.

There is a huge and loud hue and cry all over the media over the incident. Several politicians, including UPA Chairperson, the Prime Minister, the Home Minister, and Delhi Chief Minister, condemn the incident. They go to the hospital and talk to the family and assure them of “all help”. Parliament is rocked. People in all walks of life condemn the incident in the strongest possible way. Fast track courts have been constituted. High Court demands a report from the Delhi Police. Social activists and psychiatrists analyse the incident, including the psychology of the criminals. The social networking media is overflowing with thousands of angry reactions. Hundreds of students and common people come out and demonstrate on the streets of Delhi demanding justice for the unfortunate woman. The whole of India is up in arms over the incident.

There are strong demands for awarding death penalty to the perpetrators of the cruelty including from some MPs; for castrating them chemically; for Bobbitizing them; for chopping off their hands and legs; for socially boycotting them; and so on and so forth. There have been descriptions in the newspapers and in social media on punishments for rape in other countries comparing with those in India.

Among all these noises, there is one thing which is completely overlooked by everybody. Everybody is talking about the gang rape the woman was subjected to. Everywhere it is the rape which is highlighted. But come to think of it, if they had only raped her and thrown her out, it would have only added another number to the hundreds of gang rapes in the capital. Maybe a couple of news items in the newspaper and some statistics. The CM might have visited the hospital, offered all help, announced a compensation (which the victim may or may not get*), and that is it. A few days later, everything would have been back to square one for everybody but her, her family and friends.

[*A nurse was raped in an East Delhi hospital by a member of staff of the same hospital nine years ago. She lost one of her eyes when the man pierced it with his finger while raping her. The CM announced financial compensation to her the same day. It was reported in the newspapers two years later that she had not yet got it despite vigorous follow-ups. I don’t know the present status.]

But it is not the rape that has brought the whole country together. It is the violence, the brutality, the barbarism committed by the criminals that has shocked humanity. And it makes it all the more disgusting when one realizes that such kind of brutality was utterly unnecessary and completely uncalled for. One woman could not have resisted the seven drunken devils (I only hope I am not denigrating the devils). With her friend locked up in the driver’s cabin with serious injuries, they could have done anything to the girl to their hearts-fill. And yet they chose to perpetrate unheard of torture on the woman. This is what sends a shock wave across all classes of people.

Is it only to destroy the evidence that they removed their dresses? Or is it also to shame them in public, after doing all what they did to her? It seems it is more of the latter than the former. They were not afraid of evidence at all. They were very sure to get away. They knew they would not be caught. That is why they left the man conscious which in turn enabled him to read and remember part of the number plate, which lead to identifying the bus and the criminals.

All right, now what?

How long are the media going to go on highlighting the incident? In another few days the news will be relegated to an inner page, because there may be other things to report, such as Gujarat and HP, Arvind Kejriwal, Gadkari, and several other “important” things. Or yet another rape! Students will go back to their universities, because they are concerned about their studies. Ordinary people will get on with their routine work.

It will be left to the woman to live the rest of her wretched life, what with most of her internal organs irrecoverably damaged or removed! She will have only her parents, close relatives and friends to share her sorrow with. It is also possible that she may again be shamed by the criminals’ advocates in the court. Remember, it has been highlighted more than once that it is the ‘provocative’ dress of women that lead to rapes, thus absolving the rapists of all their guilt. Rather they are depicted as the victims, who unfortunately fell for the ‘provocative’ dress of the women! What a shame!

There have also been talks of strengthening the law. It is utterly useless unless the laws are implemented in the right spirit, by the right people at the right time. This is not happening in India. Everything can be purchased with money, power, and influence. Every law can be thwarted if you have these. Laws are made to be broken. It has become kind of a phrase, “Do you know who my father is?” This is what some people ask the police most arrogantly (in Hindi, of course) when they are caught doing a crime. This is enough for the policeman to look the other way or be away from them as far as possible. If he does not ask this question, then the police look forward to be bribed.

There have been demands of compensation for the woman. No amount of compensation can replace what has been taken away from her. She has lost not only hers, but also her family’s life and livelihood. Every day of her future life will be painful for her. The mental agony she will have to go through might be unbearable. But looking at her fighting spirit, she might even lead a normal life several months from now.

Presently what can we do? Salute her fighting spirit! Pray for her fast recovery! Contribute to provide some solace to her! 

Is there a solution to such incidents? Can we prevent such incidents? While it is the responsibility of the police to bring the culprits to book once a crime has been committed, can we, as citizens of NCR do something to prevent such crimes? Do we have a little time to think and act?


  1. I do add an incident happened near Kaduthuruthy (kottayam) where a minor girl was raped for months by her own father.

    And the thoughtful factor is that the villagers are asking family to leave there village and home instead of offering help ?

    who is more guilty ? public or criminal ?
    may I repeat a cinema ganam " krishna nee evite" {where r u krishna}
    whre is the soul of public.?

    1. There are more questions than can be answered. The 'soul of the public' (I like the phrase), I think, has been stolen. What we need to do is to try to retrieve that.

  2. All this because of , may be, easy access to pornographic videos, now easily accessible through internet and CDs available in the market. Go to Palika Market people will follow you requesting Porno cds. Hence the minds of the certain people get perverted. In the West, all Cities, it is common even Live shows of Porno Shows . Now it has come to India...So they, the uneducated commons, after consuming Liquor or
    Drugs, want to do same "practical" things on Women.

    1. Well, this could be just one of the reasons, not "the" reason. Lack of education, lack of respect to your fellow beings, lack of discipline, all contribute to such actions. It looks like we need more psychiatrists than police personnel.

  3. Would the police have acted as swiftly as they have in this case, had the culprits been well off or belonged to influential families? Here, all the six guilty are from poor backgrounds - they lived in a slum. This is not for a moment to justify their sadistic cruelty. Just a thought.

  4. Yes, sympathies and sentiments of the people are temporary. If the culprits can be ideally punished, it may arrest such incidents at least to an extent. The bottom-line is that many people have lost their faith in our social security system.

    1. Corruption rules all fields. That is the big menace.

  5. I am afraid this is how India is evolving now.
    Swift and strict actions, awareness programs, and more measures to improve security will help.

    1. Yes, awareness programmes are the need of the hour. The general public are also partly responsible for this state of affairs. There is utter lack of discipline and respect for other living things.

  6. Received via e-mail:

    Dear Jayanthan

    As usual, a very timely and extremely thoughtful piece.


    1. Thank you, Dr Srivastava. Coming from you, this comment is very important for me.

  7. One of the facts or reason could be the 'fear factor' when breaking a law, committing a crime, which is unfortunately missing.It has to do a lot with the upbringing.
    Inculcating right spirit, thoughts are key.
    School kids breaking their school rules and getting away by parents 'fighting' for, 'justifying' their kids.
    Parents breaking traffic rules and getting away. All small things adds up.

  8. Yes, Sreerag, I agree with you. Good values need to be inculcated and, more importantly, practised from childhood.

  9. I do agree with your view on what united NCR with rest of India. The fact does remains that the problem is 3 dimensional. While it might take generations to change the mind-set of the society, a much more stringent laws and their enforcement can certainly prevent similar incidents. SSV

  10. Thank you, Shikha. Yes, 'enforcement' rather than 'making' or 'strengthening' laws is THE point. Our system needs regular dialysis - to clean its blood of corruption, cowardice, cruelty, indiscipline and such other vices.

  11. Well, no society is deprived of vices. Laws akin to the habits of the societies/ country and most importantly 'enforcements' of these law make any civilazation worthy of living. SSV

  12. The 22nd Universal Declaration of Human Rights states, “The society in which you live should help you to develop and to make the most of all the advantages (culture, work, social welfare) which are offered to you and to all the men and women in your country.”

    "Culture Begins at Home"