Dear Mr. Prime Minister and others who may or may not be concerned,
I read you have “directed” Mr. Shinde to restore a sense of security in Delhi and see that incidents like last Sunday’s gang rape do not recur. And Mr. Shinde, I read, has assured you that he is monitoring the situation personally.
I was refraining myself from commenting, from reading too much, from saying anything at all actually. All for personal reasons. But that “direction”, Mr. Prime Minister, made me laugh and convinced me how nothing is ever going to change – not in Delhi and not in the rest of the country.
You see, Mr. Shinde is not quite doing anything personally. No. Because last evening, my friend while sitting in an auto at a traffic signal in South Delhi, felt two arms coming from somewhere, squeezing her breasts and leaving. She was too scared to step out and even look. The auto driver was smirking. She got home without being raped. She only had her breasts squeezed and she found herself thanking God for that.
This morning, a friend of mine, boarded the yellow line of the Delhi metro. She got into the general compartment. She got off two stops later. Not because she had reached her destination but because she was done with hands “accidentally” brushing against her buttocks. She tried screaming, but everyone just either looked on or looked away.
Another friend of mine was on her way to the protest at India gate in the morning. She was walking to get to the cycle rickshaw stand when a Ford Icon pulled up next to her, honked several times and two guys asked her if she would like to give her “jawani” up to them. Before she could react, they laughed and zipped away. She still went to the protest, held up her placard , stood against the water canons and tear gas.
Should I just stop here? I don’t know, really. I have many more of these stories. We all do. Just too many for our own good. And these are just three incidents since last night. Three incidents where each woman was thankful that she did not get raped, on that day. Three incidents that could have been rape. And I don’t even want to get into what is happening in the rest of the country. Although you may have some idea- like the three year old who was raped in a play school in Delhi, or the woman in north Bengal who was gang raped and set on fire, or the girl in Bhubaneswar who was gang-raped by 5 men.
So, Mr. Prime Minister, you see, we don’t need a sense of security in Delhi. We need a sense of security. Period. In the whole country, in every space, in every relation and at all times.
You know, just as well as I do, that a death penalty is not going to do it. Chemical castration does not yield anything at all either. We need speedy justice, yes. Fast tracking of rape cases, collection and preservation of evidence are the need of the hour. But all that will come after the rape. Even the death penalty and the castration. And what needs to stop here is the rape.
How does a society stop rape? I should start with what we don’t need. We do not need political leaders assigning “chowmein” and “free mixing of boys and girls” as reasons for rape. It is shameful that when India is being looked at as the emerging financial power by the world, we are struggling to establish the fact that it is the rapists rape. Nothing else rapes. Talking to strangers and half a bottle of vodka definitely do not have what it takes to rape. I don’t know though, where to begin with what we need. I am wondering if I should start with my very well educated neighbour who wants to slap girls who talk to strangers and ask to be raped or if I should start with the yellow eyed Police man in the Jangpura police station who had had a whole conversation with my breasts a year back about a lost phone. Or maybe I should start with the very important people in the central government that I met in my professional career who sat in their crisp suits and told us that the government has done enough for “all this violence and all” and that they need to focus of social-empowerment of women. Without doing anything further for “all this violence and all” though. I wonder how that agenda of the government has come along!
Ah! How easy it is to digress!
So yes coming back to the point. Mr. Shinde is not quite personally monitoring anything. We haven’t heard one word of apology from the Delhi Police or our shinning chowmein-hating-free society-abhorring political leaders. Mr. Shinde might be giving you reports every night, but, dear Sir, you must open up first to listen to the citizens who voted for you and trusted you with their safety and security.
I don’t know, Mr. Prime Minister, what your “direction” consists of but if I were you I would have put two words in my directive- STOP RAPE and then looked at my monitoring reports every night to see what we have achieved.
Do tell me, tell us, when you have time – what exact directions you have given thus far. We, the people, have the right to know how exactly you are planning to keep us safe. The tears in the Parliament, the water cannons at India Gate and the silence are not quite working for us.
Filed under: Opinion and facts, rape, sexual assault, The everyday stuff, The hardest part, victim blaming | Tagged: change, delhi | 1 Comment »