Who is India's Daughter?

Statistics show a spike in the number of ghastly crimes against women. A major breakthrough in social awareness about rape in India came th...

Statistics show a spike in the number of ghastly crimes against women. A major breakthrough in social awareness about rape in India came thundering down the society after the 2012 Delhi assault. In spite of public outrage against such gross violations of fundamental human rights, a number of cases still continue to be reported- which is a worrying trend. Prominent faces from every nook and corner of the nation have stood up to protest against the acts. However, the big question is, how effective have they been? I was distraught the moment I read the headline yesterday: a ten year old girl had been raped and murdered indignantly. And all this, by a convict, who was released from jail just a day back! It is really appalling, and rather heart-wrenching, to learn that the vices of the modern society have absolutely decimated rationality- even if it be at its base minimum.

India is a nation of twelve hundred million people; out of which approximately 674 million are men, and the rest women. I tasked myself onto researching the sex ratio of the contemporary global world- and was, to be honest, upset with the result. For starters, the human sex ratio (as defined by the United Nations) is defined as the number of males per 100 of the female population. Aggregating the data sources and crunching the numbers lends a detestable sex ratio value of 106.98 to India. The lower the index is, the better it gets. India thus has, with this number, successfully ensured the 192nd position out of 201 countries, as far as this particular metric is concerned. Even India's traditional rival, Pakistan, has managed to make the cut, inching ahead of India by claiming a value of 105.75. China has a modest sex ratio of 88.03, and given the mammoth boundaries it stretches to, it is more than justified. But we're not done yet: this is not justifiable for India.

A quick glance through digitized records uploaded at the National Crime Records Bureau is perturbing: crimes and abuse against women are going up by the day, and there seems to be no predictable retardation to the present rate. In fact, it is expected to climb higher by the day. I believe numbers expose a lot of the hypocrisy the political legislators thrive on (and hence my affinity towards numbers?). Modi, while campaigning as Prime Ministerial candidate for the nation's front line right-winged party during the 2014 General Elections, had zeroed in on women's safety as one of his focal points. In fact, a lot of his schemes were supposedly devoted to the "wholehearted empowerment" of women- schemes including "Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao", and the like. But then again, as I said, numbers are antagonistic to these politicians. I compiled a graph from the reported rape cases per annum, extending through the years 2011 to 2014. And this is what the graph looks like: (Hint: Notice the upward slope after 2013). In all, the total figure of offences against the gentler sex in 2014 itself, was capped at 337,922.

India is the oriental chief of morality- then why is this distasteful vogue still breathing its life in the society? Women are the future of mankind. Humanity would come to an end if there were no women to exist. Yet, our so-called modernized world resorts to clinging onto the patriarchal system of family ethics. Women are still suppressed, and there are many limitations on their freedom. Some hardliner states have repeatedly, in the past, tried to derail any attempts at granting women a significant share of liberal freedom. The incident wherein a mere girl of ten was assaulted by a barbarous mind needs to be castigated to the strongest possible degree. How far can we stretch our tolerance levels? Can we really bend so low so as to cause such brutality to an angel of innocence- a fountain of virtues?

The Anti-Rape Regulations Bill of 2013, a progressive measure after the public hue and outcry as a direct consequence to the heinous attack on Jyoti Singh, direct the Courts to award life imprisonment to death sentences. Capital punishment is deplored by many intellectuals across the world. In the words of Anton Chekov, the death penalty is "outdated" and "immoral", and that the "State has not the right to take away what it cannot restore". However, it must also be known that the death penalty in India has not been abolished for the simple reason that its use is restricted by a mere count of three Constitutional words: "rarest of rare". It would present a stark juxtaposition if we were to compare the anti-rape laws in India to some of the world's other States, primarily the Islamic theocracies. For example, Afghanistan has laws that permit an offender to be shot in the head or hanged, depending on the severity of the torment caused to the victim. Saudi Arabia, undoubtedly, sets a precedent- public beheading of the guilty. China resorts to castration, while North Korea has settled with death by a firing squad as the penalty.

While we can possibly lambaste molestation attempts and spread as much awareness as may be humanly possible, the political executives need to get it right as well. If Chief Ministers brush away such incidents as "Sajano Ghotona" (claim as fixed), then it is a clear hint of irresponsibility on their part- an attempt to take the escapist route. Instead, the government machinery should make an immediate crackdown and provide all legal aid to the traumatized victims. The Judiciary must ensure that evidence is not tampered with by the State. It also must ensure that no convict is allowed to go off the radar: it must bring all of them to the book. The police must shun its lackadaisical attitude towards registering rape complaints, and actually serve as more efficient personnel during times of distress: and not merely ignoring their call of duty on the lines of jurisdiction.

Remember, for every woman who is deprived of her modesty, it serves as a blot on the face of our nation. It extends beyond the global, diplomatic aftermath- and ultimately affects all of us on a personal level in one way or the other. Would you like to have your children hear tales that India is a perverted nation, or rather have them hear that India is the melting pot of the long lost righteousness of the past? It's all in our hands. Let us contribute what we can, one at a time. I am certain, and I place my firm belief on your shoulder, dear reader, that you are sympathetic to the ideas I've shared over the discourse. I recall a hymn to God:

"Cheating and stealing.. Violence and crime,
Lord for my sake.. Teach me to take, 
One day at a time"

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  1. Well written. Yet when it comes to "Save the girl" people don't know even the basics. As we know "charity begins at home " , gender equality should be taught at the school level . I also firmly believe that if such an education is successfully imbibed then India shall lead with the "gentler sex" as her greatest strength.