Ever since I read about the Gauhati incident in the papers, I was disturbed. Well, to even say ‘disturbed’ would be an understatement. Especially when the news of the videotaped incident gone viral on Internet hit the headlines, just one question popped up, ‘What kind of a society do we live in?’ Something that plays audience for a freak show as this? Something that allows teenagers to have access to liquor at an age when they have that incredible energy to become something useful in life? Something that allows anything and everything only to condemn all of it later when something as degrading as this incident takes place? Well, all I can think of right now is that we live in a country of extremes. Where in one corner of our country, teenagers booze around with a few getting assaulted and some abused, in another section of the same country, some get killed for protecting their girlfriends from a bunch of eve teasers. And yet in another corner of our country there is a parallel government that bars love marriages and does not allow females to carry cell phones assuming it would lead to corrupting morals in young people. Sometimes, I wonder if we live in a sane society because all said and done, nothing really matters to anyone apart from voicing opinions, lambasting all that is happening around and then come back to normal self only to realize that there is nothing more to be done (or should say, could be done!). And that makes us – a bunch of hypocrites! If we live in a society where criminals like Palande are caught after 7 years and where genocide still prevails and where some docs still determine sex only to abort the female fetus for more money considering that sex determination during pregnancy is illegal, where honor killings still appear as sensational news, where nothing right is treated as nothing wrong, I say there is something horrendously wrong in the way we live our lives. We have all become too thick skinned to comprehend brotherhood, too thick skinned to do more than raise our voice against anything wrong. In short, we are living a life without rules, without morals and without caution. Precisely, we are living a life worse than the five sensed animals! Shame!
And now coming to the crux of what I have in mind, what does it take to say NO to ABUSE? What does it take to prevent such incidents? We have all discussed over and over again as to what has happened should not have happened, what has happened is pathetic, whatever that has happened is disgusting and blah blah blah. But what next? Well, the two words ‘what next’ points towards a blank space where we are not sure what to think of. Please do not blame the police for anything and everything, by which I don’t mean to say they are absolutely corruption free but as civilians, what have we done and what must we do to prevent such incidents. This is the question that each one of us must be asking self.
I remember when I had come to Pune 6 years back, my roommate always used to tell me one thing, ‘Remember, as females, it is our sole responsibility to take good care of self. We just have to make sure we never fall in the wrong place, wrong time.’ And I had not comprehended it well enough, until the rape and murder case of a wipro employee at the hands of a cab driver raked havoc in the IT campus of Hinjewadi where I used to work then. The Wipro office was right across our office and I had felt that stab of unfathomable fear as I desperately tried guessing which part of that building the deceased would have been working had she been alive to see the other day. When something like that happens in real life and that too not a few blocks away from where we live/work/sleep, it just does not scare you, it makes you numb! Nights weren’t that safe to travel by cabs and it was a wake up call for the security and administration of all IT companies to cross check credentials of the cab drivers, considering in this particular case, the cab driver was a history sheeter. Not that I never travelled by cabs, but I always made sure from then onwards, that I was either talking to my hubby on phone or I had some friend with me, whenever I availed cab service. But that incident was just the beginning for the many nightmares that were to follow in Pune. And that is when I understood the meaning of what my roommate had said. In fact, it does make a lot of sense, especially for the generation of today. And now after closely following the recent news on how a teenager was molested by a crowd and how it has been videotaped, I can only say, women need to give more importance towards working on self defense rather than lazying around in some bar/lounge/pub, boozing away to glory thinking some knight in shining armour will come to her rescue if something bad were to happen. Either play safe or play hard. But don’t play the damsel in distress every time because every time may not have Lady luck watching benevolently over you!
And about the crowd that indulges in despicable acts, rules have to be made stricter. Eve teasers, rapists, child abusers and molesters must be punished so severe by the law that they should dread living each day, as if death would have been a better option. And more important the police and the civilians must shed all animosity and step across the barrier of fear by working together to plan safety of people, especially women and children. Here, not forgetting to mention people like this journo who videotaped the entire episode of Gauhati molestation case must be punished severely. He has not only misused his freedom of speech, but has failed as a human being by not calling the police on time, when a bunch of demented people were assaulting a teenage girl. Also the government must devise ways of increasing employment opportunities for the many of the unemployed youth considering there are many venues open for employment in various fields. It is a crucial step towards protecting the society fabric from tearing away because it is mostly this unemployed youth that gets carried away into indulging in unspeakable acts of malice, speaking of which I am reminded of this saying – ‘Idle mind is devil’s workshop’. Need say more?