The more I read the views of the powerful, the more I get convinced that being born a woman is a curse in India which leads me to the bizarre conclusion that those who are killing the girl child in the womb are actually doing them a great favour.
When the 23- year- old medico was brutalized on a dark cold night in Delhi in December 2012, I felt ashamed that I was an Indian. Since then things have gone only worse.
But in December 2012 I had the same feeling that had over-whelmed me when I visited London in 1985. Every Indian and Pakistani I met on the streets had only one question- “how could you do what you did to Sikhs in 1984”. And I had no answer.
The way the graph of rapes and gang-rapes in the country is on the rise should make one shudder. But what is happening instead? The Shiv Sena calls it a fashion to report that someone is raped. In Uttar Pradesh Mulayam Singh is taking the credit for having the least rapes in the most populated state of the country. And now that there has been a rape in Meerut people are arguing whether Hindus or Muslims are responsible for this.
Rape is a very heinous offence with traumatic physical and psychological fall-out for the victim any where in the world. But what makes it worse in India is the fact that everyone and that includes politicians, the Khaps, policemen and the ‘unkindest cut of all’ even women who should fight for them are convinced that it was the woman who is responsible for what happened to her. In other words they are saying “You deserved it!”
Can there be anything more shameful for a country claiming to be a rising global power whose economy would overtake the US in a few years?
As I write this today, saddened by the trivilisation of the latest rape cases in Meerut and Muzzafarnagar I am reminded of what a young married woman said to me about two years back.
The December blot on the national conscience had not happened then. She was simply referring to something as normal as the visit of one of her friends to the prestigious India International Trade Fair at Pragati Maidan on a Sunday.
She told me that after experiencing the trauma of endless jostling, pushing and groping at this so-called International Trade Fair this friend had commented, “For the first time in my life I felt cursed that I was born a woman.”
Today as I read the morning newspapers and go through the diabolic Tweets and the colourful twists that such a heinous crime is eliciting I can do no more than throw the pertinent question that this woman had thrown at all of us.
Do we have an answer?
By: Amitabh Srivastava