Arjun Raina (UWCAC '11-'13)(India)
On 16th December 2012, a medical science student pursuing physiotherapy in New Delhi, India was barbarically raped and beaten up by 6 young men in a public bus – An unfortunate incident that stirred the entire nation, alongside alarming the rest of the world. Nine days before Christmas, this female became a victim of what was one of the most brutal rape cases ever witnessed by a country where rapes are more pervasive than air – Also a country that, on better days, claims to worship women. “Damini”, as media decided to name this girl, was soon going to get married to her friend who was also travelling with her that night and was beaten by those six men after which Damini was raped.
The news spread across the nation ferociously. People responded on television broadcasts, vehemently demanding justice for the poor girl and her friend. And, for the government’s utter indifference and incompetence to come up with a solution quickly, things soon got out of control. People protested, in large numbers, at India Gate – an eminent monument in the heart of Delhi. This was followed by a number of silent protests all across the country. A week into the protests, the mob at India Gate was agitated, especially women, at iconoclastic remarks made by some conservative political leaders and ended up with the police having to open ‘Lathi Charge’ on the mob – where the police controls mobs or protesters through coercion, after water cannons didn’t suffice.
The problem, however, is not just this one isolated incident. There are various facets to such an occurrence. Firstly, the usual lack of political will and competence to resolve any matter of public welfare and secondly, the social stigmas attached to a rape case. This surely is not the first rape case ever reported. More so, India is not the only place where rape is a truism of life.
The obstacle is that – a female rape victim who gathers herself and decides to soldier on for the rest of her life – is a notion rather rare in a society as dogmatic as the subcontinent. Once raped, the girl’s a zombie. She can’t marry, for if the in-laws find out, they will either kill her or demand more dowries. In fact, there are cases where the girl’s own family decides to abandon her if she confesses of being a rape victim. What does this say about a country where Goddesses are worshiped? Why then do hundreds and thousands of people walk thousand of kilometres just for the blessings of a Female Goddess?
This case, fortunately, opened the society to question itself in ways never imagined before – A society so blinded in the arrogance of its richness and culture that its about time it now questioned how fast it was straying from itself drowning deeper into the marsh of hypocrisy.
The entire nation was in absolute quandary as to what the next step was going to be. The realists argued that it was just another run of the mill hue and cry that will last for a couple of days and then another burning issue will soon take over and Damini will slowly fade to a mere memory. This is, unfortunately, the sad truth. What makes it worse is that the politicians exploit this and pacify the people till the day they eventually believe that democracy has failed and that women wont be treated any better in this country. The change that is necessary to eradicate such nuisance can’t happen overnight. All we can do is request the opposite sex to calm down till the government gathers the zeal to do something about this.
There are still rape cases being reported every single day and the problem only seems to be escalating. We are now a nation that struggles to prioritise between punishing the accused and bringing about a social change. Well, with a government as pathetic as ours, both will take eons!
-United Words Team-