In the beginning of this year, the horrifying tale of Amanat or Nirbhaya or the nameless girl (who was brutally raped by sex starved dastards) became a staple diet for media outlets all over the world. Since then, the news regarding women from India has never been the same. Check out this damning Kindle single: India Dishonoured: Behind a nation’s war on women. Every day has produced at least one sordid tale of rape or sexual assault on Indian women. The question being asked around the world at this moment is ‘why does the world’s oldest culture not treat its women with due respect?’
Hindu mythology is filled with tales of goddesses like Durga, Kaali etc., mythological characters such as Sita, Panchali etc. Every Indian is well versed in the deeds of at least one of these female characters. Generally to the Indian male, his mother remains the cornerstone of his emotional support. He is also seen to be over-protective of his female siblings. Why is it then the Indian male cannot respect the life and dignity of another fellow female human being?
In the aftermath of the Nirbhaya episode, the Indian ruling elite were asked as to why did this ghastly incident ever occur? Their haughty answers clearly showed how out of sync they were with reality. The Indian media generally seen as argumentative sans any reason, vomited these gibberish to a frustrated Indian populace. Reactions and counter reactions were severe. And as all things in India, the issue died soon, while the ’rapes’ happily progressed.
The situation regarding women in India is pathetic. Thanks to the dowry economy, and the progresses in ultrasound scans,the girl child population in India with the exception of a few states is decreasing rapidly. On top of it we have stalking, sexual assaults, rapes and dowry deaths of a good percentage of the remaining females. Alas! it takes guts these days to be an Indian female living in India.
Now my readers might wonder from this blog as to why I am hyping it too much sitting in a foreign country? Again as I said, India is an idea of a country to the millions of NRIs around the globe and home to a billion other. Whatever happens in India or anywhere to an Indian, affects us all!
Now what is the solution to this issue? I would like to present some of my opinions for a constructive discussion.
- I believe first and foremost, mixed or co-ed schools must be compulsory to all Indians irrespective of caste or creed.
- Next sex education should begin in primary school itself. This education should explain to both genders the advantages of responsible consensual sex and the disadvantages of irresponsible and ghastly non-consensual sex.
- Dowry system in any form or factor must be severely dealt with by the society and judicial system.
- Honour killings in addition to aborting the girl child after determining the sex must be severely penalized with capital punishment.
- The judicial system needs to be revamped to tackle these cases efficiently and ruthlessly. Check out this book on the pathetic state of rape trials in India Public Secrets of Law: Rape Trials in India.
- The age for consensual sex must be determined as per the needs of the society and should resonate with the times that we live in.
- More women need to be involved in social and cultural leadership positions and the much awaited Women’s bill must be approved in the Parliament.
- The media and the film industry should understand that their visuals must resonate with the realities of modern India i.e., blatant export of western cultural ideas doesn’t have to work here.
All these are ideas, they might or might never work. The root cause here is one of lack of respect for the opposite sex. ‘How can we consider the opposite sex as one among equals’ should be the question for the Indian polity, civil society and the general public.
Women empowerment and gender equality have been a thorny issue for a long time worldwide. But many of the developed countries have shown the resolute to make the much needed changes. If India should have any thoughts of being the much hyped ‘Asian tiger of the 21st century’, it needs to learn to treat its daughters with fairness, dignity and respect.
Image Courtesy: http://veroniquegauthier.files.wordpress.com/2009/04/indian-lady2.jpg