Stop the madness! (2011)

So I heard, I read, I burned with furious rage. Then a sort of helplessness descended upon me. I was shocked at how ruthless and seemingly just my thoughts around public humiliation, mutilation and torture – could be. I hesitate to put those thoughts here – not for the fear of what the readers may think, but the fear of how intense they are. Yet, the punishment for these sick people is still not fair enough… and these are just thoughts – there was no concrete way to influence the cause which had churned up this whirlwind of extreme emotions.

Shock set in when I heard about the Delhi rape case. Indians – young and old had taken to the streets. The sheer intensity of the sick minds and their torturous deed that led to the death of the rape and violation victim (death being God’s act of mercy here since she had been damaged emotionally and her guts had been forced out of her and spilled on the roads of the rape site by the perpetrators of what was mildly put across as “the rape”) had started this internal turmoil. As if this one case that had grabbed the media’s attention and brought to light was not enough – it now seemed rape and torture was prevalent in big cities, small suburbs and villages as well.

In a country that worships the female avataars of the Supreme Power (MahaLakshmi, Durga Maa, Mata Saraswati, Kaali Ma, Amba maata – to name a few), it was as it is difficult to come to terms with the realities of child marriage, female infanticides, abortions and the evils of dowry and sati – and now this! And what of the morbid news of five year olds being raped. And we aren’t even mentioning those uncles and cousins and fathers and grandfathers thinking incest! Unbelievable, infuriating hypocrisy at its best! A blatant display of the pervert mind and sexual frustrations.

 Why blame the West for beaming in those movies, soaps and reality shows-flaunting a sexy leg, giving a sultry look, showing off the subtle curve of a breast? Indian media is no less at showing skin be it in a more-than-just-the-mid-riff bearing soaking sari, a micro-mini skit combined with a cleavage-dipping ultra-tight top, together in a hot spicy item number with all its heaving and thumping and jhatkas and matkas.

But if the Western women can wear what they do (be it straight from Hollywood or the fashion walks of Paris and Milan or something just thrown together) and not be gang raped, why blame the Indian girls for wanting to wear what they believe brings out their best in terms of femininity (be it Bollywood inspired or from the fashionistas that India proudly boasts of? Victimizing victims is what the social structure of India is brilliant at doing unfortunately.`

It’s time mothers and others from all walks of life inculcate the right values in their sons – respect for women, equal freedom to choice – be it career choices or dressing up, acceptance of the freedom exercised as long as harm comes to none by your act. Take the society, your friends, sisters, mothers around you and put the woman back on the pedestal that’s rightfully hers.

Use religion in a positive way – Hinduism also believes in “Shakti” – why all our deities have their women counterparts (Shiv-Shakti). Have you been seen the sculptures on the oh-so-many temple walls? Do any of the women have their faces covered completely in a ‘ghunkat’? Do they wear loose flowing clothes – or beautifully adorned bustiers and mid-riff exposing saris or dhotis? Do they not have the ‘solah-singhaar’ complete with jewellery, accessories for the hair and waists, a touch of make-up even?

And for all women out there – elegance is the new word for fashion! It’s time to get up and be you! Be a charming, attractive person you can be proud of – and feel safe in your skin – in your clothes and surroundings. And – whatever your age woman – learn to stand up for yourself and pick up some form of self-defense!

Being an NRI, it gives me great pride to talk about the positive aspects (and there are many) of India and the big achievements and successes of Indians around the world. But as a woman – when people in my country of residence read about the India of today, ask me questions on the status of women, the state of education, and humanity – I must admit, I put my head down in shame and say, “That’s not the India I left a decade ago.”

Today (March 11), I was at the hairdressers. the radio was on and the song was interrupted by the news. I call it an interruption since it was a rather nice foot-tapping song – and the news broadcast was rather disturbing. Yes, once again it was that of the Delhi rape case. And – heads turned towards me with very mixed expressions that flashed across those concerned faces…What could I do but hang my head in sheer shame at the time… WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE DONE if you were the only brown-skinned Indian among Europeans – 2 of whom knew you were from India as well… Well…

Sigh! It can’t get worse! A Swiss woman was raped today… Makes life for NRIs in Switzerland a touch difficult – don’t you think?

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