India, Rape, and Complacency
Nicholas Sparks wrote in his 1998 bestseller (Message in a Bottle), “That initial anger she had felt turned to sadness and now it had become something else, almost a dullness of sorts. Even though she was constantly in motion, it seemed as if nothing special ever happened to her anymore. Each day seemed exactly like the last, and she had trouble differentiating among them.”
While the context apropos which he had written the aforementioned lines might be different, it’s precisely what we have been seeing in our country of late. Be it the TV media, the social networks, or be it us; we seemingly have grown complacent and indifferent toward issues we thought once mattered to us (or do we still think they do?).
The Delhi gang rape case of 2012 had seen vigorous participation from the students (and even elders) whenever it came to protests, demands of women security, or those of a shift in the way such cases ought to be handled. Media undertook active coverage, government took a backfoot, a committee was formed under Justice Verma, a report was submitted, some changes were suggested, and everyone was content, happily married to a TRANSFORMED world.
Yes something has changed, and tangibly so. But it isn’t the legal structure, it isn’t the conviction rate in cases of rape, it isn’t the women security provisions, but it is the sense of our responsibility and the urge to do something. If you didn’t quite get it, let us put it straight – we have grown complacent, overly satisfied with what we have done (not that we have actually done something, if we come to think of it).
So here we are; having protested vigorously for the Delhi case (when everyone was, so that we could garner some of the limelight for ourselves as well) and having grown deliberately stalled and indifferent toward numerous others, which have been perpetrated. Yes, limelight was a significant underlying reason driving the protests many a times. There were people in one of those candle-light marches who would pose furiously for cameras before the march would start, and thereafter would laughingly chat along the course of it.
There are two important questions to mull over here. One, were the protests all over the country against the Delhi rape case a mere insignificant trivial? No they were definitely not (in fact we must be proud that so many people came together for a common cause). Second, and more important one, is that, why did the people actually protest? Were they too much emotionally affected by the case, or did they want to ride the bandwagon of limelight that was traversing throughout the country making news? While the answer wouldn’t be easy to locate, the current sense of complacency in our country suggests it is the latter one.
Come to think of it. A 20 year old college student was gang raped in Uttar Pradesh and burned alive. She succumbed to her injuries and died. How many of us protested citing flaws in women security? Does the fact that she was from a small town (unknown to a significant chunk of our population) called Etawah make the case somehow less important; so much so that she’s given only a very limited feature in the newspapers, facebook, and TV media, because the media is awfully aware that the news wouldn’t fetch it the kind of attention the Delhi case did?
So is it the reason? We can’t tell.
A few days back a female auto-rickshaw driver was sexually assaulted by 3 men in Chennai. How many of us even know about that? Or about the girl in Pratapgarh who was raped and her tongue chopped off? How many of the Lucknowites protested against the rape and murder of the girl who was stabbed so many times that the police attempted to fob the case off as a death due to dog bite.
And we thought we had changed everything by jumping in to protest whenever others did and wherever there was media coverage, right?
A friend of mine once told me, and I believe he did quite rightly so, that when there is a rape case, and the media covers it extensively and makes it pound on our senses again and again, it is only then that we actually get emotionally attached to it. When there is a lack of such participation by the media, we seem to pass it off as if we were indifferent to it, telling ourselves, ‘just another one.’ Not to mention those who would only protest to harvest the publicity crop.
The question that we truly need to ask ourselves is that, have we grown complacent? Or is it cynicism, or nihilism? Why have we stopped putting in efforts, in whatsoever manner we can?
I would never stop advocating for a female-safe country. And I would urge even you to not to. If something must change, it is the way women should be treated, and the way the culprits should be brought to justice. And if something must never change, it is our efforts for the same.
Author: S.S Niks
‘Freethinker’, ‘an agnostic’, ‘an atheist’!
Want constructive evolution!!
Tackle and combat the vagaries of life in whatever form I can!!!