WITHOUT doubt, one is compelled to
salute the manner in which thousands across the country have
protested against gang rape of a 23-year-old woman, earlier this
month in India’s capital city. At the same time, one cannot but
speculate on whether this actually spells an end to heinous crimes
of this nature. Sadly, even demonstrations at Delhi’s India Gate
have not been tension-free. Attempts made by some factions to
politicize the issue and perpetuate violence have led to clashes
between the police and demonstrators. And this brings us to square
one. Demonstrations can attract media attention and create some
political pressure but cannot be expected to end such crimes.
Rather, they can also provoke tension, social as well as
Besides, how can it be forgotten that this is not the first time
that women in India have been victimized in such a brutal manner.
During Gujarat carnage, hundreds of Muslim women faced sexual
assaults, murders of their family members, including that of
unborn children carried by pregnant ones. The surviving ones have
yet to recover from that trauma.
Criminals in only a handful of these cases have been imprisoned.
Capital punishment has not been announced for any of the accused,
even though many were guilty of committing crimes such as rape,
murder, causing injury, damaging property and riotous behavior
repeatedly over a considerable stretch of time. It would be fair
if the respected protesters move beyond demanding justice for the
victim and capital punishment for criminals only in case of this
It is shameful that the girl was subjected to this heinous crime
in a public transport. No less shameful is the fact that
criminals, during Gujarat carnage, attacked women in their places
of residence. Why there is no demand for similar punishments for
crimes of the same nature?
Assuring punishment, however, does not guarantee that crimes of
this nature will cease occurring in India. The heinous manner in
which the 23-year-old girl was gang-raped and wounded reflects the
degree to which the country’s polity, society and administration
is afflicted by several evils. It is a tragedy that the country
which till date has been hailed for its cultural values and norms
is now being looked down upon by its own citizens because of the
And this demands introspection into what has really wrong. The
incident may not have taken place if even one or two of the gang
had objected and prevented others from moving ahead. True, the
local police cannot be absolved of their responsibility of not
being on patrol in the area. Yet, simply passing on the blame onto
the police, government and other officials does not remove the
malaise from where it really begins. Even capital punishment for
criminals does not guarantee this.
The malaise is increasing frenzy with which people, particularly
new generations, have become callous toward what was once viewed
as their social and cultural duty as well as obligation. They have
started giving more importance to abusing the same. This appears
to be trend, among those for whom values such as respect for women
and elders carry no importance. What has led men in Indian society
to this stage? What is responsible for a certain number of them
turning to crime?
Here, it may be noted, urban areas have in recent years reflected
an increase in criminal activities such as murder, drunken-driving
and also rapes. Should neo-rich culture be to a degree blamed for
this? Or does the actual fault lie in certain basic values being
absolutely ignored by new generation, particularly males? There is
no denying that tendency prevails among males of poorer sections
to start earning as soon as possible. The earning is needed to
partly supplement the family income. With the additional earning,
the new generation of males also have tendency to adopt fast
track, “fashionable” habits. Apart from dress, the latter include
cell phones, having a good time and being with “girl friends.”
Superficially, nothing seems wrong with this trend. Yet, this also
marks a break in this generation’s desire to spend more time at
home with their family members thus abandoning socio-cultural
values literally for the lust to be the “modern,” “fast-moving”
One may note here, little importance is given in several Indian
sections to ensure that male children imbibe strong values. Their
being money-earners is assumed to be enough.
A male child is still given greater preference than a female.
While the former is viewed as two extra hands to earn, the latter
is regarded as an extra mouth to feed and also a dowry burden.
Despite dowry being illegal, the trend continues. The dowry is now
linked with fashion and socioeconomic stature of involved parties.
The male, in comparison with female, has the right and authority
to lead his life as he wants to, with the latter viewed as a
secondary citizen, submissive to desires of the former. True,
there is no denying that there is nothing surprising or new about
this trend in India. This needs to be linked with increasing
aggressiveness in new generations of males to care little about
rules and laws when it comes to fulfilling their desires.
What else explains the increase in murder of elderly citizens in
Delhi accompanied by robbery?
Let us accept it, the Indian society is afflicted by a deep-rooted
malaise which needs to be checked. The 23-year-old medical intern
was not simply a victim of gang rapists, but of a deep-rooted
ailment that led the latter view and use her as nothing more than
a sex commodity. Of course, it is great that young ones across the
country have risen in protest against this incident. But till
substantial efforts are undertaken to change the mindset of Indian
males, females cannot be assured absolute security in India. The
age-old belief, education begins at home, needs to be given
greater importance. Education is not confined to simply learning
how to read and write but also includes adhering to basic
socio-cultural values, being mannered with respect for all,
particularly elderly and women!
The writer is
renowned columnist and journalist. The above article appeared on
Arab News website. She can be contacted at