Subsisting in disarray, judgement, criticism and injustice since centuries, it’s yet another year for the Indian woman to acknowledge International Women’s Day, more in shame than pride.
Yes. It’s not because the Indian woman has been incapable or incompetent enough to stand in the society, but the mindset and circumstances that has provoked such kind of a debate nationwide. The issue being concerned here is the most heinous and barbarous of crimes towards women: RAPE. Countless cases of rape have been witnessed and judged in courts. Some getting justice while most them being treated with hopeless iniquity. However, the 2012 Delhi rape case, most famously known as the “Nirbhaya” rape case, has been of utmost strategic importance in influencing national sentiments. Not because the cases before this confronted liberal punishments and nonchalantly dealt by the society. The case of Nirbhaya sparked off nation-wide protests, dharnas and mass-movements for passing strict laws, increasing punishment for convicts and bringing about a change in the status of women in the Indian society. It’s been more than two years since then and we are yet to witness that “change”.
What’s the point in bringing up a two year old case? A filmmaker from UK did try to think on those lines and the result being the infamous documentary “India’s Daughter” that was aired on BBC and went viral within hours. It contained interviews of parents of the victim, one of the convicts (serving a jail sentence), a friend of the victim and 2 defence lawyers for the rapists. Each one of the interviews presented different analogies, perspectives and possible solutions to the problem of rape. The end result, however, was an incessant ban on the movie from TV as well as the internet. Now, being in a country where movies are more downloaded than watched in theatre or TV, can we actually not get a view of the content? It was claimed to have hurt national sentiments, exposed the convicts and contained offensive statements. While the convict seemed unregretful, blamed the victim and concluded the act as “message to the society”, the two defence lawyers remarked statements as follows- “She should not be put on the streets just like food”, “The woman is like a diamond. If you put the diamond on the street, certainly the dog will take it out. You can’t stop it”, “We have the best culture. In our culture there is no place for a woman”, “A woman who indulges in pre-marital affairs should be burnt alive”; all of them clearly presenting the mentality of a part of the so called “educated” section of our society. Feel the raging in your bones? Quite as expected.
Stop. Think for a moment. The lawyers argued that women provoke men with their way of clothing and carrying themselves. But we see rape cases of juveniles and much elderly people as well. Provocative clothing? Not necessarily.
Being powerful is being like a lady. If you tell people you are, you aren’t
- Margaret Thatcher
Does it literally hold true for women in our nation? Arguably, being the weaker and deprived sex of both, women have come a long way in terms of education, independency, self-righteousness and standing up for their rights. The part they missed out is being treated as equals and being accepted by the society in a neo-realist way. The fact remains that there is still a lack of acceptance for the independent and uplifted woman in a patriarchal society as ours. We celebrate a multitude of days to honour and greet women in our lives. Does that actually bring about a change in their status? We worship them as goddesses, respect them and love them. Yet we creep hypocrisy in our brains on polemic matters as rape.
The first step towards change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.
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It’s not a requirement to change our stands on women. It’s a necessity which keeps alarming with cases like that of Nirbhaya taking place in the society.