Rape! Rape! Rape! Is this country going to the dogs? The thought can't not be brushed aside easily. So much of hype about rape! So much of protest against rape! So much of politics around rape! Has this country woken up to a new era of rape?
It looks that there is a new consciousness among the youth and students in this country against the obnoxious act of rape. India
stands out. Wow, Mera Bharat Mahan! More than half of the country has learned to live rape. No one’s conscience is disturbed when everyday three Dalit women are raped on an average in this country. Speak of conscience blunting! How about the rape of the Adivasi women? No one literally cares. A small column in an unseeable corner of newspapers! The rape of the North East! Sorry. The rape of North Eastern women! By the mainland Indians, by traders, by police and by the Indian army! Wah! Wah!! Speak of the fence eating the crop!
Don’t we remember the North Eastern women taking up to an unheard of protest method against the Indian army raping their women? Does this nation even recognize that there is one Irom Sharmila fasting for more than a decade now? The Khairlangis, the Dharmapuris, the Guwahatis, the Khandamals etc., etc. How come that some rapes are more gruesome than other rapes? If a girl belonging to some caste is raped, it terribly disturbs, not only the conscience but also the streets, the opposition and the government of the nation. Is there any difference in the body of women belonging to different castes and tribals and religions? May be, who knows! Just as blood is of different colours in different races and different castes!
Even in the social and political engineering of rape, as is the case in the recent Delhi
rape only a caste girl is chosen. Otherwise, it would not arouse the anger of the common youth, na? Did the rape precede the engineering or did the engineering precede the rape? It can be anybody’s guess. Why was rape of a girl used to whip the government? Once again it can be anybody’s guess. Shame on the government is the loud cry. How about shame on the men of this country? How about shame on the politicians? How about shame on the women of this country who have opted to keep quiet when they are not raped or one of their caste women was not raped? Is rape also sectarian? What a shame!
Is rape the problem? No, as history very clearly shows. It is the politics of rape that is the real problem. We know from time immemorial that rape has been used to settle scores among enemies, in times of war, in military strategies, in intelligence gathering, in civil wars and worst of all in caste atrocity and communal violence India. The way Indian army is let loose on the women of North East indicates a loathsome mindset in the ruling oligarchy. The ruling oligarchy keeps a calculated indifference to the way rape is used as a weapon among men to settle caste scores. This reveals a sickness and decay in the marrow of every bone in the body of this society. In this rottenness rape does not stand alone. Naked parading of women, honour killing, rampant child marriages etc. add to the wretchedness of women.
Is rape the problem in India? No. It is the attitude and the value towards women that are problems in India. That women are sex objects is a universal reality. That Dalit and Tribal women are easy sex objects for the caste forces is the Indian reality. Let us try denying this. The stark truth of a society of men that is putrid to the core will stare at us naked. The total disrespect for women and the camouflaging of this disrespect by spreading the banal and blatant lie that women are highly respected in India, that they are our mothers etc. are symptoms of this underlying plague. The permeation of this sickness is alarming. The sectarian and casteist callousness of this country to its women is a much deeper problem.
What else can you expect from a country that has established ceremonial and sanctified rape in the Devadasi system? Where are the youth and students against this broad daylight sexual orgy? How about the different festivals that legitimize quite religiously the procession of naked Dalit women carrying elements of worship for a few kilometres? Where is the conscience of this nation, of the forces that have engineered a high pitched battle against the rape of one woman in Delhi? Is Delhi so important for men? But it is in Delhi that one hears of frequent rapes and killing of women after rape. Delhi is the rape capital of India and that perhaps is why some political forces thought of rape as their next political strategy.
It will be naïve to dump rape as only a political tool. It is also a manifestation a deprivation of sex, healthy sex I mean. The double standards attached to Indian discourse on sex, the denial of space for men and women to socialize freely, the stigma attached to normal sexual behaviour among men and women, the spreading of prejudices about sex and its clandestine practice by all and sundry, the killing of female foetuses, the leniency to boys in the family upbringing, the litany can go on and on. All these keep adding bit by bit to the evolution of a psyche of rape.
What are we arriving at? In India you have the social rape. That is, Dalit and Adivasi women can be raped at will by the caste forces and the law of the land will turn the other way. It has done that in the last more than 65 years. You have the religious rape. Religion legitimizes the rape of women under different festivals and Devadasi system. You have the political rape. That is, rape as a weapon of revenge and settling scores. You have the systemic rape. That is, the law machines legitimizing rape as a ‘common’ thing among armed forces and law enforcers.
The most devastating aspect in the recent hype on rape in Delhi is the attitude of the media. Laudable are the efforts of any media that highlights the issue of rape. But why is this sudden focus on rape by the national media? It creates a myth that in India the media is hyper sensitive to the issue of rape. If India really had such a sensitive media many maladies of this country would have been reduced long ago. The media must take more than an equal share of the Indian society’s callousness towards the reality of rape.
Let us then safely conclude that the caste forces, the religious forces, the political forces, the ruling oligarchy and the different pillars such as the media are raping India on the whole. Many are clamouring for the blood of the rapists. ‘Kill them’ ‘hang them’ is the far cry of the so-called protestors against rape. Let them give a serious thought to the above-mentioned forces.
The issue of rape of women has to be tackled differently. It is a long drawn out programme of action and dealing with different issues that plague the country. It is as serious as nation building. If India is honest in its respect for women then its Parliament must have a minimum of 50% women members. No legitimization of any kind to reduce this proportional representation will absolve India of the stigma of being a rapist society.