Cobwebs of the mind

Note to readers: This post is slightly explicit in nature and might affect the sensibilities of some people.

A girl walking along a corridor stares back at a group of boys insolently staring at her.After she passes them, they snigger calling her a ‘randi’,which means a whore in Hindi.This is not an incident from some remote hinterland and neither are the boys some illiterate lumpen elements. These are youngsters in an engineering college in north India.

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Denigration of women,by terming her a whore,is commonly done for a variety of reasons.Reasons could vary from something as innocent as a girl looking a man directly in the eyes to the way she walks, the dresses she wears or the company she keeps.Sexual exploits of men are often seen as reinforcing commonly held perceptions of manhood but a woman’s even perceived transgressions can be termed sluttish.It can be shocking to note the sexually degrading terms very commonly used for women even in the so called ‘educated’ masses.This degradation also justifies the assault on such women in the minds of such people. One can stop a person from speaking words like ‘dented and painted’ but does that purge the thought from the minds of such people and from many others, who would in their minds, condone it. The spoken creates ripples but the unspoken remains buried in the depths ticking like a time bomb.

While sexual frustration is a reality for most Indian men brought up in a conservative society shackled with a rigid set of moral codes, the potpourri of a misogynistic attitude fostered by a healthy dose of a patriarchal upbringing revering a male child and stifling moral codes for a women are enough to develop an exceedingly regressive mentality.

While there would hardly be a man who might look away from a scantily dressed woman, the difference between a man with a normal sex drive versus a man who is capable of transgressing the boundaries lies in the filters through which a base impulse has to pass through. These filters are societal filters, education filters,family values and cultural upbringing, respect for individual and personal integrity filters. When these filters are missing, the impulse comes through as a base carnal instinct which is devoid of any other emotion.

In a society, where a woman oscillates from being a Goddess to a slut, it becomes trying to maintain a balance. As one observes the different behavioral patterns, one can easily differentiate three distinct classes –

1.People who are conservative imbibing a strict sense of gender specific moralities but are respectful towards women and intrinsically have strong family values and personal integrity
2.People who are conservative and have a misogynistic mindset
3.People who are liberal in views and truly view women as equals.

People in the second category are the most likely to transgress to crimes against women.But if we really want our country to progress and provide a common platform for women to be really ‘equal’, then the transformation needs to happen even for the first category of people.

When we talk about people’s regressive mindsets with women’s crimes serving as the context, we invariably direct it at men. But society doesn’t comprise of men alone, it comprises of women too. And regressive mindsets don’t just exist in the male population. As women, we too need to free ourselves from old adages and expectations or falling prey to commonly accepted gender stereotyping. These are questions that a woman needs to ask of herself.How equal is ‘equal’? Why do women still need knights in shining armor to rescue them ? Why do women still look for husbands who are more qualified and having better jobs than them ? Are we responsible for the choices we make or do we voluntarily shy away from making choices ? Do we stand up for what we think is right ? Yes, biologically men are stronger but we are not involved in hand-to-hand combat on a daily basis, so its time to stop thinking of ourselves as the weaker sex.Stop being sidelined or being victimized. As women, we need to stop appearing helpless and instead find solutions to solve practical problems.

The transformation is needed at multiple levels and needs to be tailored to address the different strata of society. Strategies for the grass root level would typically need to differ from the others.Gender sensitivity needs to be inculcated through awareness campaigns by the government and corporates. Rigid control needs to be followed in how women are represented in public media. Advertisements and films need to be monitored and corrected for skewed depictions of women. Films and popular public idols can play a huge role in driving home key messages,especially to people,at the grass root level. Strengthening judiciary and police to enable support systems for women and faster trials for cases. All women should mandatorily train in basic self-defence.Our education system should introduce value based education and a scientific temper.They should enable men and women to come together and interact in forums at an intellectual and emotional level.Inculcate sensitization and appreciation of a human being separate from the gender of the person.

A life time of conditioning cannot be undone in a day, but the liberation needs to happen from within and somewhere we all have to sit down and clear out some of those cobwebs from our minds.

Happy New Year 2013 to all my readers !

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38 thoughts on “Cobwebs of the mind

  1. I find it increasingly difficult to disagree with anything you write. Thank you for providing a very unbiased view point of the Gender equality in India, for that matter the world. After reading, watching and listening about what the media has to say about the recent Rape incident, I must say I was very much surprised by the media’s reaction to such a age old issue. I think you had pointed out the same in your last post. Now with this post you have further dissected the issue.

    1. Thanks for your comment Rohit ! Actually most of the reactions have only been around the immediate punishments that needs to be meted out. While there is no gainsaying the fact that deterrents are very much needed, we also need to bring to the fore so many other burning issues. Honestly speaking, the fact that the victim belonged to an educated class enabled the publicity. A same case happening to a laborer’s daughter, wouldn’t have attracted so much attention.

  2. That’s true moonstone, many more such cases have taken place regularly in Delhi alone in the past few years at least. A very brutal rape and murder is an infrequent crime, one that happens in every country once in a while because such criminal psychopaths exist in every country. But it is not this single episode in the country of 1.2 billion that has incited this outrage. It was just the last straw I suppose. Such extremely savage cases occur at regular intervals, hundreds more of rapes every day, tens of thousands of serious assaults, and millions of “eve teasing” every day in our country.

    Also, had the perpetrators in this case not been “nobodies”, and instead had been sons of ministers (the majority of whom are themselves rapists or protectors and friends of rapists) or powerful people, they would not have been arrested so quickly, nor would have the things moved so swiftly. And who knows who all they would have murdered to eliminate the witnesses and evidence.

    While social change will take time, what can be done immediately are two things. Sensitize, train and educate the related professional or corporate or official machinery- police, judiciary, media, students of all ages, politicians, employees, all identifiable “groups” and “organizations” in some sort of anti-sexism drive. It should be easier logistically to reach out to involve such identifiable and discreet groups, and the drive can be managed at the level of each management, just like they regularly hold talks or workshops on, say, quality control. What will they be informed? Well, how about starting with, women are humans too, same homo sapiens, guys. Same. Equal. Not a commodity like a potato or television.

    Removing the cobwebs. It will take time. But at least approach #1 should sow a seed. Where decades of serious and focused efforts have not convinced a large percentage about the importance of hygiene or the dangers of tobacco, of course, half hearted, unfunded efforts that themselves lack conviction, will take forever to imprint on the minds of the populace that women are equal human beings. We say Kerala is a model state, in social medicine. The female literacy, low maternal and neonatal mortality, and Quality of Life Index are what other states should try to emulate. But what about sexual misconduct and sexual crimes against women? Why this paradoxical disparity? I think, even decades before the men are convinced that even verbal abuse is reprobate, female foeticide is inhuman and reprehensible, and women are equals, many of them can at least learn what is indecent and what is criminal, and hesitate to do it. Just an incy wincy bit of hesitation would go a long way in the current scene of unrestrained torrent of assaults we have to wade through to get through our daily life.

    Secondly, the role of the punitive deterrent is extremely effective and important in making immediate measurable changes. For example, I have seen in the IIT that the fear of immediate termination from course in the event of being accused of or caught doing or abetting any illegal activity really does deter people from getting involved with many things that would not have alarmed them so much if they were students elsewhere. I heard of a guy getting terminated because he let his friend, who was running from the police, stay in his room for a night. Even the accusation of ragging will get one terminated. So, any kind of sexual misconduct and assault, even verbal, must be taken seriously by all managements of all organizations, and students and employees must fear being reported for violations. Not just the police taking things seriously, every citizen must take the abuse of the rights of the female human being seriously. I know, people will say it will be misused, but which law is not? Which law does not have loopholes, which law is not misused? People really do not think that not knowing (let alone following) traffic rules and abusing women is seriously criminal or illegal. It is all “chalta hai”, and equally innocuous, and even thrilling fun.

    It is not just the unsafe streets, women are sexually violated everwhere possible, in the most respectable institutions like schools, and “sacred” places like homes. From domestic helps to teachers to doctors, everyone is abused. None of them “deserves” it, contrary to what the men really believe. Because these things neither appear wrong to men, nor do these actions worry them about the consequences of being caught. I personally know how women (students, doctors and patients) in medical schools, hospitals are regularly sexually assaulted and abused, and these “pepetrators” are all respectable doctors, med students, reputable professors… One would think the students could complain, eh? To whom, the fraternal dean? To the leering H.O.D? When we talk of professions, tougher and more competitive the field, more the abuse, and more certain the silence of the victims. I have often seen the domestic help leaving the job because the man of the house flashed her or did worse things, but I have known residents who could not dare to throw away their career in spite of being actually regularly raped by the thesis guide. Every victim should have an approachable immediate go-to authority even she does not think of police, and this authority should help her go to police, if the need be, instead of hushing things down or intimidating her into withdrawing her accusations.

    1. And since the post already has a TW for explicit content, I will like to share my enlightenment about the answer men consider appropriate but do not say explicitly in hindi movies, to an FAQ. “Ghar me maa bahan nahi hai kya?” Answer: “Hai na, to kya apne maa bahan ko c*enge?” So, it is no use trying to tell these men that women deserve respect as fellow humans. They need to fear the consequences of disrespect. Respect will follow after a few generations.

      क्षमा शोभती उस भुजंग को
      जिसके पास गरल है
      उसका क्या जो दंतहीन
      विषरहित विनीत सरल है
      …..
      सच पूछो तो शर में ही
      बसती है दीप्ति विनय की
      संधिवचन सम्पूज्य उसीका
      जिसमे शक्ति विजय की

      सहनशीलता, क्षमा, दया को
      तभी पूजता जग है
      बल का दर्प चमकता उसके
      पीछे जब जगमग है

      And I agree with you, self defence training should take priority over other hobby classes for even kids.

      1. Phillyguy

        वाह Nomad वाह । रामधारी सिंह िदनकर की इन पंिक्त़़यों का क्या सही उप़़योग किया आपने । आनन्द आ गया । 

        I am a big fan of these lines and this philosophy in general. Quoted them when India went nuclear in 1998. Quote them now when I argue for the personal protection aspect of the American second amendment. How many jokers would call a woman a रंडी if they see the outline of a glock on her hip or in her purse? You got it, शून्य.

      2. Phillyguy

        वैसे Nomad these people, animals as they are, माँ, बहन are not people they respect. There was a study done sometime back about erotic fantasies, guess what was one of the big topics in India? Incest. That’s right. 

        The way the word भाभी is used in India, it’s an absolute abomination. 

        India is in trouble. A very large percentage of people are sick. And no moonstone, this isn’t because of repressed sexuality of Indian men. It’s deeper than that, much more ingrained. Let’s hope this is the tipping point, the bottom of the curve. 

  3. Moonstone, something is sucking us deep into the black hole of dehumanisation. That is a shattering yet perfect illustration you have put, the casually tossed label of randi by so-called engineering students. A major chunk of our populace is still living in very dark ages. Trust me, we cannot afford the luxury of democracy. I am not an advocate of the military rule nor do I believe it is fit for humans, but then how human we really are? Apparently, gradual eradication of illiteracy will lead to eventual sanity but the process may span decades or even a century.

    You have visualised cogent remedial measures and I strongly agree with you. I believe that critical processes like administration and judiciary have failed bitterly and are beyond repair. Everything below the Supreme Court should be scraped. Put in a mix of juries and magistrates. No case should be allowed to progress beyond SIX months.STOP! Flippant litigation should be severely punished. Talking of punishment, I never tire of advocating for deterrence. There should be nothing less than swift capital punishments for murder, rape and drug-pedaling. I agree with Nomad.

    I have come across a line of argument that says rape should not be made punishable by death and it should be punished by castration instead so that rapists don’t kill their victims after pillaging. My question is what would a rapist, of all creatures, in imminent danger of being castrated, do to the victim? What do you think the rapists were trying to do to the Delhi girl after they raped her in the bus, with crowbars and sticks? Open your eyes, they were beating her like mad to death.

    So, nothing scares men like death. Even those who commit suicide want to stop it in their last throes. Ask someone who has lain under a train and if he/she is still conscious, someone who has taken a leap off a high-rise, someone who has swallowed poison or string a noose and jumped. Remember the victims of war and genocides. Read Jean Paiul Sartre’s ‘The Wall’. Put in the fear of death in the hearts. Quick, off to the wall, next morning. What, in God’s name are the procedures to be followed now? People are raping six month old babies! Do you thing they are going to testify against their own crimes? Or will the babies be able to tell? Maybe God is planning to descend? Witnesses? There was this woman called Jessica Lall shot bang in the middle of a party and what did we have?

    Life term in India is a joke. There are killers and rapists who are out after putting in a eight or nine years in jail even as their victims suffer, in case of murdered people their dependents . Remember the Mumbai nurse who is comatose for over two decades now, acid burn victims wanting to die every living moment but groveling ahead. Remember the thousands, or millions, whose cases have not been reported or registered by the police. Remember the Khaps. Remember the politicians. A dead chief minister of a state. A deader prime minister of a nation.

    Someone I know posted a Facebook status today, “Anyone remember Ruchika Girhotra?” His cynicism is not out-of-place. I hope this case doesn’t take that trajectory. I hope it is the tipping point.

  4. Phillyguy

    Same behavior. The guy is a stud, but the woman is a slut. This double standard exists pretty much everywhere, in India it exists to a level where women are truly second class citizens. We should learn from Nordic cultures. In my experience they seem to be far ahead of the rest of the world. The women from there exhibit such confidence, it’s refreshing.

  5. Thanks Nomad, Phillyguy and Umashankar for the straight talk ! True, the short term aspect of punishment as a deterrent just cannot be overlooked. The changes I am talking about are more intrinsic and needs probably generations to implement. Social change is not easy, as you have rightly mentioned about the campaigns against tobacco, liquor and population control and many such measures have been going on since ages and still are. Change is painfully slow. In this case, however lives are at stake and while the change from within keeps happening, short term measures are definitely needed.
    Gender sensitization measures are needed and logistically, it would definitely be better to target specific groups first before looking at the larger population. For implementation of such measures for a country like India , a lot of fore planning and thought needs to be invested.
    US’s point of the girl being beaten to death is valid but I would argue that if there was 1 out of 10 cases previously where the girl is raped and murdered, it might start happening with frightening regularity once capital punishment is instituted. Saving the life of one innocent is more important that putting the guilty to death – if we believe this, then we need to give thought to the 9 others who might have been spared. To bring in capital punishment into the framework, would also mean re-looking at the punishments given out for other crimes. It will require an entire legal overhaul for all the crimes and not just rape. This might however, run into the danger of lowering the overall conviction rate. At a point, where most of the world is moving away from capital punishments, we need to be sure of the reasons for either accepting or rejecting capital punishments as a deterrent.
    Yes, US you are right about people having short term memories and the life term being not really what it should be. I think that is what needs to be set right. Quicker, stricter and harsher punishments.
    Nomad, your point of reducing sexual misconduct in organizations / educational institutions are valid and I would think, that this is already quite well implemented in IT organizations. This I can vouch for, as in more than 10 years of my working in an IT organization, I have never come across any kind sexual innuendos at work. These can indeed serve as a role model for other institutions. But incidents of eve teasing among the general public, which are smaller crimes as compared to rape but higher in volumes might need to be dealt with slightly differently because of the sheer logistics.

    My point is also around the fact, that we have currently lot of people advocating the short term changes like demands for punishment but the change is needed ‘within’ as well. Not just people walking on the street, but within us as individuals, as families.My illustration of the ‘randi’ calling incident was to bring to light the broader aspect of the entire society having an ill that needs to be cured.

    1. Phillyguy

      I think you have hit the nail on the head, moonstone. A social transformation is needed, and it starts with individuals. As you pointed out it needs to occur not just amongst men, but also among women. Why should a girl, any girl, settle for anything less than equality? It’s a civil rights issue. There many not be another Gandhi, Mandela or Martin Luther King walking around but there are half a billion women in India that need to stand up now! 

  6. Moonstone, I think you are absolutely right on all that you have written. As always, being a superb analyst and proactive strategist, you have addressed the matter with great insight, and I agree with you. I was in fact suggesting more ways of implementing what you have proposed, societal changes and better law enforcement. Is there somewhere you can take your proposal? We could start a movement! I am sure many more would join in with their ideas as well. What are your thoughts on the proposals already being submitted to government? I did not find any good articles on that.

    The most important point you have written Moonstone, that needs to be emphasized again and again, is the women need to change themselves too. I am reminded of a line in a movie, “Let’s say there was a little girl, and from the time she could understand, she was taught to fear… let’s say she was taught to fear daylight. She was taught that it was her enemy, that it would hurt her. And then one sunny day, you ask her to go outside and play and she won’t.” This is applicable to many kinds of darkness (not just feminine subjugation), and there is an important need for education, financial independence and a strong law and order system, for that idea of equality to take root, thrive and blossom.

    Phillyguy, I agree with you that one cannot wait for a civil rights leader to appear. Half of the 360 million females in age group 15-65 makes 180 million, and 180 million standing up for themselves would be enough to change things significantly. And I agree that the misogyny and the crimes against women do not stem from just sexual repression in India. It is a far more complex issue.

    Umashankar is right, justice needs to be swift. But I am not pro capital punishment, though such crimes do make me question my own stand. But I think making the police and judicial machinery more accessible, transparent, swift, efficient and corruption free at every level would itself make a large difference. There is a need for rapid penal and legal reforms, and the laughable sentences need to be updated with the times. My husband thinks it is stupid spending tax payers’ money to feed and keep alive and happy such vicious criminals, who in the first place had no regard for another human’s life. I don’t think it is as simple as that, when one takes into account the fallibility of even the best legal and judicial systems, and the implicit prejudices present in the fairest of minds. Right now, of course, those prejudices are weighing heavily against women, and therefore, crucial is the mind of the man that polices us and sits on the benches. So we come back to Moonstone’s point of undoing the centuries of conditioning.

    And the depiction of women by media is a separate can of worms, a multidimensional problem. I read this interesting article today: http://angelasbangalore.com/blogs/the-11-percent-truth-about-rape-in-india.html
    Reminded me how they show in movies that the only proper thing to do for a rape victim is to commit suicide. The couple of good movies that have been made about rape cannot overcome the thousands of movies made for decades that derogate women in many ways, and even when not showing violence, they depict “eve teasing” as harmless flirtation or machismo. This in a country where a flirtatious woman would immediately be labelled randi or c*akkad. No, thank you, if I am minding my own business, sitting in a train, I would not like even Dev Anand to sing me a beautiful Hemant Kumar song. Or maybe that’s just me…

    1. Phillyguy

      Films. Let’s not even go there, a whole another can of worms. I haven’t watched much regional cinema from India,  but Hindi cinema is full of sh*t. At least with Dev Anand/Hemant Kumar you could say that was borderline serenading. Now its out and out harrasement. Amitabh Bacchan has done it (jumma chumma-hum), Amir Khan has done it (khumbe jaisi-dil). And these are so called decent actors/decent people.

    2. Nomad, lets talk more about the ‘movement’ idea and see if it leads somewhere as there are a lot of people already ‘talking’/’writing’ about these things. That little girl example that you gave is absolutely making sense.
      Philliguy, Nomad, films is definitely a can of worms, the lesser we talk about them the better. The rape victim committing suicide is a cliched concept and so is the entire ‘honor’ thing around it. The way films depict the loss of honor, the entire honor killings as well start making sense !!! One thing in support, is that the films do reflect the society we live in.. but its time to make sensible cinema and act as catalysts of change and not reinforce prejudices. But film makers are mostly businessmen out there to make money and not to act as social catalysts ! This, therefore requires the censor board to act in the proper spirit.
      Thanks for the link.Its indeed a very good article.

  7. PhillyGuy

    One last thing moonstone and nomad and then I promise I will shut up. In case you decide to “do more”, start a “project/movement”, let me know. Moonstone will know how to reach me. In my limited experience in life, I have observed that often challenges have transformed into wonderful opportunities. In fact now I live by the mantra that every challenge is an opportunity. That being so, what better opportunity to work on than this? How so ever small our individual contributions may be. This is truly historic, a battleground seems to be forming between India’s past and India’s future. I know which side I am rooting for!

    1. Thank you Phillyguy. Though the topics of the discussion and the events leading up to them are grim, it has been heartening for me to know the thoughts of people like you.

  8. There is the other side of the coin as well, Ash! That someone has criminal tendencies is one thing – that he feels free to act upon it is another. The former requires social transformation. The latter can be curbed by better discipline in the respective departments of the government.

    Biologically stronger? Average Man vs Average Woman, maybe! Comes to fighting off a thug, I cannot see most men doing any better than most women – I certainly cannot!

    1. True Suresh. But the concern mounts when more and more of the population is identified with latent regressive tendencies which can be acted upon at their will. The push to cross over to the other side might be hampered by stringent punishments, but the question is whether we can reduce the number of people sitting on the wall.
      Yes,when it comes to facing barbarism like this, men and women are on the same scale. What difference did it make that a man was accompanying that female on that fateful night..

  9. I am dismayed that crime has become so common and that there is no deterrent for these monsters. And this problem has so many angles — mindset change, law and order, swifter justice, sensitization of police and society and many more.

  10. You know, Moonstone, many people are arguing everywhere that the ratio of number of rapes to population is very low in India as compared to many developed countries, even if one were to take into account the large number of unreported cases.

    First of all, one must also take into account that the criteria of rape in developed countries is very wide now, while the criteria of rape is very narrow (gotten better with some updates in recent years) here. Even if the incidence rate of rape in India is not higher than many other developed countries, nor is Delhi any more unsafe than, say, New York, still there are two important things that make the condition of a female worse off here (in the context of sexual assaults):

    1. If one is raped/ mugged/ assaulted, one cannot go to the police here. You can have no hope for justice. You cannot expect sensitive treatment by police, any proper counseling, or understanding from society. Oh, depending on the society you live in, they might ostracize you or anathematize you. There is no law and order machinery, and if you decide to go to the police, you will be harassed to death, even if the initial rape did not make you suicidal. That is what is wrong. Rakshak bhakshak ban gaya hai.

    2. I don’t have to be violated to the vilest level of rape or torture. I am violated a little everyday, most of the days from the age of 7 years or younger still. Cumulatively, what does that add up to? And no, most of the time, the little girls do not tell the parents, and many adults cannot tell their boyfriends/ husbands/ partners/ male friends. We just live with it, seething inside, with emotions varying from abjectness to rage (I have contemplated murdering, tasing, stabbing, castrating and throttling with bare hands my violators).

    When we are grown up, we discuss it with our friends, and sometimes with other female members of the family, and tips and tricks (to avoid, deter and punish) are shared. It is a thing in the woman’s world that men are not privy to. But I don’t believe that the men really don’t know this happens, esp the ones who are writing online that this does not exist, “at least not to the extent people are making a fuss about”.

    The only thing right now that I find promising in this whole episode is that it is no longer taboo to utter these words – rape, incest, eve teasing, sexual assault, it is out in the open. The secret shame of the Indian woman is no longer a secret. And with that, the transition will come – it will stop being the dead weight of shame, and the perpetrator will incur the deserved odium.

    1. Yes, I read certain comments in some other blogs to that effect, where the whole issue got side tracked into a discussion about the percentage of rapes. Frankly, I dont want to discuss the statistics. That’s not important. We know the reality.
      After living in India all my life, I can honestly say that women are not safe.Period. Each one of us have faced this at some point or the other and seethed inside.
      In a class of students, we don’t tell our children to look at the bottom performers and feel better because they are not at the bottom. We tell them to look up and strive to better.
      So, even if India is not at the rock bottom, why should we compare.Arguments for the sake of argument is what I witnessed and the entire issue lost focus.As you very rightly said, it is no longer taboo to talk aloud about such things. It has finally come out of the closet. At least for the urban women.

  11. Phillyguy

    Moonstone/Nomad,

    Read this one:

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/04/opinion/ghitis-women/index.html?hpt=hp_c1

    I love the last line there “unrelentingly firm demands.” Gandhi called this satyagraha. I am more of a Subhash Bose guy, but regardless of the technique, its the principle that is at stake. Unrelentingly, the world must move towards nothing but equality. Not just freedom from harassment, equality. Period. Equality of opportunity. Equal pay for equal work. Equal respect, regardless of gender/parenting roles.

  12. Good article. Some very nice articles which were published in today’s TOI.
    http://www.timescrest.com/culture/no-place-to-do-nothing-9523 – This articles is not telling us something we didn’t know but shows how even small things have got compromised in the process – both the freedom and the fact it has been normalized.

    Just read about a rapper called Honey Singh and the lyrics of his song. He sings ‘Main Hoon Baladkaari’. Read today’s paper about BJP minister Kailash Vijayvargiya’s views about how a woman will be punished if she crosses her limits.
    Our system is rotting.Our democracy has failed if it has elected to power men of such thoughts and repute.
    The question is where do we start ?

    1. Phillyguy

      We start moonstone, where such battles always start. In our homes, in our personal lives. Do not let this abnormal become the new normal. In our lives, for ourselves, our daughters/nieces, sisters and wives expect nothing short of equality. Where in the past we could have chosen the easier path, dont take it anymore. Once we are confident that part is covered then we can also contribute on “projects”. They don’t have to be “big” projects/movements. It could be as simple as finding NGOs/charities that provide scholarships to girls that would not be able continue their education without them. Those rupees go straight towards providing equality of opportunity!

      1. Phillyguy, that is such a profound truth, “We start moonstone, where such battles always start. In our homes, in our personal lives.” I sponsor two girls, and there have been times of financial crises, when I have wondered if I have bitten off more than I can chew. But, watching them grow, and getting an education fills my heart with immense peace, because I know I am ensuring a better future for them.

        The articles you and Moonstone have referred to are indeed good. Thanks.

        Moonstone, about the minister, I wonder. The politicians are saying more and more absurd things every day because they are either rapists themselves or have rapists in their inner circle of friends and supporters. It is a way of life for them, and suddenly they are supposed to condemn it instead of condoning it. They are in an awkward predicament, the despicable crooks. People are protesting on their own, without instigation from them, and they are not able to cash in on these protests in any proper way. It is a very troublesome situation for them. What next? What if people revolt? Against any of them? Maybe they are having sleepless nights!

  13. Very well said, moonstone!India is screaming for attention and change so that we avoid such incidents in the future. We see such incidents because these men were never taught to respect women…What is needed today is to actually remove ‘cobwebs of the mind’ – I liked that expression!!
    A complete change in attitude to women, a change in the legal process of dealing with the crime, and educating and ‘sensitizing’ men about women’s issues…..!! A meaningful post, indeed!

    1. True Panchali. And while we do the change in the external environment, we also need to change within. We all need to develop the attitude – “Yes, we can. This is not a man’s job. There is no such job.”
      We also need to question some baggage we have been carrying around and that only a woman can know, what baggage she carries.

  14. indrani

    The topic is indeed thought provoking. Transformation is required in minds of parents of each home.
    Well written post and the comments are good too, though I couldn’t go through all of them.

    1. Yes, Indrani. Today’s paper again has a equally horrific case which happened a while ago. Cant fathom what amount of education / transformation we are talking about for creatures such as these. They seem to be wild animals prowling the roads, only that they are not confined to a jungle which one can avoid.

  15. As you said, it can’t be done in a day but efforts should start now. Indians are the biggest hypocrite in the world, we have double standards for almost everything. Anyways, respecting women is a trait you learn from your family. A though provoking read, for men of course and a rather insightful discussion that followed.

    Happy New Year…:)

    1. Thanks for your comment, Saru.Actually its applicable for both men and women. If you read, there are so many crimes which are committed with women abetting it.. whether its dowry burning and a lot of other atrocities. So its an equal responsibility for all firstly, to respect others and secondly and more importantly , to respect yourself.

      Happy New Year to you too !

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