Thursday, January 15, 2015

Who Should Be Blamed For The Rapes in India?

India Rape Epidemic
India is Raped by Nilanjana Roy
Who should be blamed for the rape? Obviously, without thinking too much, you will say, it’s the rapist and as the decision has been taken, you will pronounce him the GUILTY. And that’s the end of the whole discussion.

But what if I say, it happened because of you.

Yes, you, me and all us, I mean the society.

Because this man, whom you have pronounced guilty, is just an ugly face of our society hidden beneath a mask of civility.

I had this argument with an unknown girl on Omegle. The girl was adamant, does not want to leave her stance and keep saying, it is the rapist and you can not blame the whole society. And when I said, “Yes it is the rapist, but the society is equally responsible.” The girl was not interested in my argument. So, just to tell her and everyone else, who thinks in the similar way, it happened because of the society, not a single person.

If you take a thoughtful look at our society. A society which is divided in the name of castes, creed, religion, and social status. A society which does not treat women as women (even women do not equally treat women). A society which kills an unborn child if they learn it’s a girl child. A society which recognizes itself as Pundit, Rajput, and Chowdhary. A society which names their fellow members, chamaar, bhangi, mochi, jamadar, and chinki. A society which is likely to follow bizarre ideas rather than applying logic. A society which is you, me and all us.

Rape is one of the devastating things that could ever happen to a person. It leaves the victim scarred for the life and takes a lifetime to get over of it.

To understand, how rape become an epidemic in India, you need to understand the whole topic from the cultural and historical context, not with the current reference.

Comparatively, India is not same India as it was in our Sone Ki Chidiya stories. The 21st century India is a way more different than the 11th century India or prior. Whether if you look at the Rajput and the Chandelas in Northern India, the Chalukyas in the Western Ghats and the Cholas in Southern India, women in Classical India enjoyed the equal status as to the men. The women in Chola and Chalukya empires had right to education, right to ancestral property and equally qualified for the administrative position. The widow marriages were encouraged. Read Dr. R. Nagaswamy, and Wikipedia page about position of women in Chola, and Chalukya Empires, respectively.

However, things changed after the Muslim invasion. The Muslim invaders used rape and other war tools to humiliate and repress Hindu population of India. Read how rape being used as war tool on BBC, Washington Post, and Wikipedia. The Hindu women were asked to adopt Ghoonghat (or Purdah) for the sake of their own security. The widows were asked to follow Sati (an age-old custom where widows immolate themselves on their husband’s pyre), again for the reason to save themselves from rape and molestation. And child marriages became the norm, so the responsibility to save a girl’s dignity can be shared by two or more families.

But by the end of 19th century when things became a bit normal, Ghoonghat, Sati, Child Marriage and other precautionary measures which were instigated to save women from harassment became a tool of harassment. In the name of Pratha (customs), woman voice was repressed. Now, they were not allowed to have education, right in property, and work on the administrative post. They became confined to four walls of the house and a mere piece of bones and flesh, just to showcase and to complete the man fantasy.

For worse, an ill-minded section of the society started killing or abandoning the girl child, so that they can be free from the responsibility of a girl child. The practice was also fueled by dowry system (which was once started as good). So, in the name of Pratha or in the hunger to have a boy child, it becomes a customary tradition to kill or abandon a girl child in some region.

You can figure out how bad the situation if you scan India’s census data from 1901 to 2011. The sex ratio which was 972 females to 1000 males in 1901 dropped to 943 in 2011, and the situation was grave-like around 2001 when it dropped to 933 females to 1000 males. And with worsening of these numbers, numbers of rapes also increased in India. Read NYT, Firstpost and Quora, how lower sex ratio is related to increasing rapes in India or elsewhere.

Now examine current scenario, take everything into account, the historical perspective, the cultural perspective, and hunger for boy child fueled by no social equality, lack of education and politics. How can you blame the only rapist for rape, not whole society?

What I believe, it is time to change, not with street marches and social media campaigns but through education, I mean by educating our society, why all these customs were started and why we don’t need them, why we need to remove our age old chashma and need to treat everyone as equal, and most importantly why we need to save a girl child. Because if we do not act now, we will not be able to stop this ever.

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