Saturday, March 7, 2015

India's Daughter - revisiting a tragedy

A young lady was brutally raped, beaten and violated with perverse intensity, beyond the farthest limits of irrational human behavior. Her intestines were pulled out with a rod,; penetrated multiple times; every known and visible part of her frail , stunned body was broken, bruised and torn beyond repair or medical help ; her body thrown out to die on a pavement from a moving bus like a piece of putrid flesh - all this without an iota of compunction, mercy or even the slightest tinge of remorse in the minds and hearts of those young men - who now face a death sentence in Tihar jail.
This is not only about rape. It is about the quality of a Human mind that can descend to such levels of depravity. As I watched the controversial documentary - what stuck me was the composure of the man who justified his act along with his friends. He was very clear in his mind that the young girl deserved what she got. His reasoning was not based on any rational system of thinking, or an ideology, not even an act of vengeance - No. It was a simple brute manifestation of pent up anger, frustration and a sense of lowliness in a society where glaring differences are visible. Yes, they were intoxicated, out of their minds, triggered by the effrontery of the young couple - but none of that justifies the sheer magnitude of their act. It had to be something else - probably, a symptom of a mental disease that is slowly taking root in urban India caused by the deep chasm between the haves and have not's; a feeling of alienation and helplessness caused by their marginalization over 60 years of independence. It is probably a state of mind that knows that there is no way upward in social ladder, and all that remains for them is sheer physical survival under harsh conditions with an occasional respite in cheap indulgences. Or perhaps, it is symptomatic of a society where a traditionally male dominated culture is threatened by a new surge of feminism that has rubbed shoulders with the West, and but not yet found their bearings, and threaten to upset age old value systems. It could also the proliferation of pornography, which in its worst form projects sexual violence as an acceptable form of physical intercourse; Or It could be sheer insanity and nothing else.. Anything is possible. My point is : These men have to be heard and studied. A documentary like "India's daughter" is an eye opener, and not to be brushed under the carpet or shouted out of circulation. We should hear them speak, allow their prosecutors come up with their convoluted arguments, watch their family and friends relive their agony over and over again. After all this - probably, we may perhaps begin to understand the root of this problem. This is the chastisement that we need.
We have already condemned the six men to their death, now why should deny them an opportunity to speak out their minds. By not doing so, we are merely closing our minds to a deeper understanding of this malaise. Let us take a leaf from how Developed countries handle this kind of insanity. Between 1970
and early eighties Ted Bundy - the most insane and brutal serial rapist and killer ever recorded killed over 50 young women all over the West Coast. When he was eventually caught, the American public could not believe what they saw or heard. Bundy was not only intelligent, educated. politically connected, but represented all that is best in American tradition. Flamboyant, well spoken -none would have believed that behind that fa├žade of charm lay a perverted mind so demented and seething with hatred. He was obviously found guilty and electrocuted in 1989. But not before they studied, understood the motivation and mind of such a beast. Numerous documentaries, private interviews, psychological evaluations and profiling were catalogued on Ted Bundy leading to far reaching legislations in many states on pornography and its use. Or take the case of Richard speck, who on a single nightmarish day in 1966, brutalized, raped and killed six nurses living in a dormitory for no reason whatsoever - but out of uncontrollable rage and drug abuse. A detailed study of Speck, based on his interviews and dialogues led to a deeper understanding of genetic makeup of violent behavior, which has since then become one of the standard profiling techniques to identify potential killers. I am not for a moment suggesting that all these documentations an studies have led to a decrease in crime or violence against women , but every such case allows us to adjust as a society to saner ways of living together.
The case of Nirbhaya , in many ways has removed the veil of social stigmata that is normally attached sexual violence in India. There is now a greater awareness on the need to curb such insensitive acts; but unless we allow the men who carry out these acts to speak their minds; it is not possible to learn, understand and redefine our practices or laws for a better and more safer India.
I request every one to watch this documentary and introspect. It is important to remember that society is only an abstraction. It is individuals, like you and me that matter, and are real. Every act of violence personified , is in some way a reflection of collective attitudes and beliefs. So let us try and find out the conditions that could have possibly driven a bunch of youngsters to cross the lines of sanity, and commit so atrocious a crime as this. All of us have to find answers within, and let this documentary trigger in us the right questions.
God bless...

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