The Rot Within

I believe that we are capable of change. At least I hope so. There was a time when we believed that the Earth was flat! And that the sun and the stars revolved around it! But we find such notions strange now. We laugh at its ridiculousness. But it took a radical new idea, backed by concrete data to change such longstanding and ultimately ludicrous belief. Our sense of patriarchy and power has been threatened. The advent of the Internet and the consequent free flow of information has meant that change is happening around us in a blistering pace. A pace which the common man (man=man, not person) has failed to keep up with. The danger to their hitherto unquestioned superiority hangs on a precarious balance. While everything else around him is changing, he clings desperately to his old and more often than not Draconian beliefs. His need to assert this twisted sense of superiority frequently manifests itself to horrible, even monstrous consequences.

Such an incident, nay atrocity occurred last week in New Delhi. An act so horrible and sadist in nature, that to speak of which would cause any sane human being to vomit his entrails out. Yet speak we must. For the crime itself has become so common place that a colleague of mine asked me, “why are they protesting over this rape? I mean they happen every day, don’t they?” I shuddered inside in the realisation that he asked me exactly the same question that was in my mind but had not voiced it yet. How had we become like this? How did we let ourselves become like this? How did we start to take such crimes, whose victim is rendered mentally, physically, emotionally, psychologically, shattered, whose victim is a fellow human being deserving of equal, if not more respect from us, as an everyday occurrence. May be the criminal is all within us. We let that happen to her, and countless other women. Nay, I should say the criminal is within us. Our failure to address the trauma women faced in course of her everyday life is what caused the horrific rape, and the consequent death of the victim. Our willingness to accept the constant threat as something regular and every day, and hence unimportant is what caused for a young women to lose her life.

Which brings me back to my initial point. People are capable of change. May be her death was the ‘radical idea’ we all needed to kick us all out of our stupor. Call for stricter law, more police presence are understandable. But its all reactive and ultimately ill-advised. Law can be bent or broken, and nobody wants a Police state. Do you? Sure changes can be slow. But change can gain pace when the circumstances are right. The Second World War with all its faults did wonders with regard to women’s right. The same goes for black slaves in American Civil War. This is our war. Our chance to mobilise our belief and bring about the change that we want, which has been long overdue. Its our duty to Her and countless others who have been victims of our apathy. Our chance to prove that we care. Our sisters needs us. Now, more than ever.

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