People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 17

April 28, 2013


Devils and Their Advocates


G Mamatha


THESE days, I am afraid of candles. This is only a recently developed phobia and is not without reason. Earlier, I too thought that candles give us light and thus are very useful. Of course, some even tell that one's life should be modelled on a candle – selflessly giving light to others. But now I am afraid of them, particularly after doctors treating the five-year-old child who was raped by some brutes found candles in her genitals. Disgusting. Can anyone think of brutality worser than this? Yes, these lecherous perverts, maniacs, sadists...I am seething with anger and cannot think of more words to describe them as the very same doctors also found an oil bottle too. If one doesn't tremble with indignation on hearing this...a test for existing human traits has to be conducted.


It has become common these days to hear police announcements asking us not to trust unknown persons. But the crime this innocent five-year-old child committed was she trusted her neighbour, who is known. Abundant reports are there suggesting that majority of the sexual assaults are committed by those who are known to the victims. So the question naturally arises, whom to trust and whom not to? The society is encouraging a sense of distrust and misbelief among the people. You believe in none and none will believe you – you live on your own. This is a concept that is totally alien to human nature. Remember, 'man is a social animal'. Now, 'social' is consciously being erased.


'Security cannot be provided to everybody and these kind of things happen everywhere', stated our home minister. True, every woman faces a threat, receives a threat in our country. And all of them are not Mukesh Ambanis who can be provided with Z category security. While it took only a day or two, to act and provide security cover to Mukesh Ambani, days just pass by for the government that is 'looking', 'thinking', 'consulting' and 'discussing' for making this country a safe place for women and children. Meanwhile, predators, lurking all around, silently, publicly, brazenly and daringly go about doing their business – molesting, teasing, harassing, assaulting, raping and sodomising.


Moreover, women cannot trust even the security cover provided to them. Let us not forget that few years back, the bodyguards of the President of our country were accused of molesting a woman and are recently convicted for the crime too. To speak of the police stations, the less said the better. Police manuals are handy enough to sleep upon. Male police handle women, slap, grope and 'use' the 'occasion' to their 'satisfaction'. Trust, is thus another big issue. People repose the least trust in the police. But the home minister has that in abundance in the Delhi police commissioner and all his ilk!


Poor Lal Bahadur Shastri was innocent and does not know a thing. He thought of morality, conscience and resigned when a rail accident took place. May be in his innocence he thought resignation will prevent train accidents. Did train accidents stop? This is the lesson our wise police commissioner of Delhi had learnt from history in the academy in which he took training, aptly named after Lal Bahadur Shastri. So he claims, if resignations can stop a crime, he is ready to resign hundred times. (Of course, one doesn't understand how a person can resign hundred times.) The home minister in his statement in the parliament had implied, there is no necessity for him to resign even once. So let conscience, moral responsibility Rest In Peace (RIP) – for both the police commissioner and the home minister.


Coming to conscience and morality, think about it! A policeman has got the audacity to offer Rs 2000 to the father of the child to keep silence! That is the rate, he had decided, enough to cover the cost of the sufferings of the poor family. And he is not alone. There are many police officers, sarpanches, village elders to keep his 'august' company. The father of the child identified the person who offered the money. Now the government promises an investigation, vigilance enquiry and action upon the findings. Rapid action indeed! What about the oppressive mindset that gives rise to such perverted thinking? As any reading into such incidents where money is offered shows, it is only for poor, dalits, backward sections among the society that such an offering is made. Is it because the child comes from a poor family that they had the courage to offer money? Does this not show once again the dominant patriarchal, elitist attitudes prevalent in the society?


What is being done to prevent them? Nothing. The blame is always, even now, on girls. One says this happens only in India and not in Bharat. Another blames the dress, another blames the Western cultural influence on girls who are 'socialising' too much. By this time, one should be sick hearing all this. The 'august' house of the parliament too witnessed such a 'colourful' debate. When the Bill on preventing sexual harassment was being debated during the last session – the Nirbhaya Act, our parliamentarians homage to the Delhi rape victim – many of our parliamentarians came out in the open in their true colours. One of them had the courage and tenacity to comment about the dress of his fellow parliamentarian. Another proudly questioned, who in this house did not tease a woman when they were young. For this 'noble' soul, teasing is okay, but raping is not! All this while debating the act that intended to widen the gambit of the prevailing law and add to the existing protections for women. Incidentally, he won the award for Best Parliamentarian. Do we need more words?


Even for arguments sake, what dress did the five-year-old wear, what was the 'socialising' influence of 'Western culture' on her (not on those who had committed the horrific crime), or what is the Bharat and India she knows about? Ambedkar talking about the untouchables and touchables had once stated, “It is usual to hear all those who feel moved by the deplorable condition of the Untouchables unburden themselves by uttering the cry, ‘We must do something for the Untouchables.’ One seldom hears any of the persons interested in the problem saying, ‘Let us do something to change the Touchable Hindu’.” Similarly, please, it is time to stop talking about women and start thinking about how the patriarchal mindset needs to be changed.


Just like a campaign for the eradication of polio, a campaign that is both intensive and extensive should be launched to treat women as fellow human beings. It should teach that women command respect not because of their gender but because of simple reason that they too are humans, equally, if not more, capable in socio-economic and political functions. Candles should be lit, to clear the darkness clogged in the patriarchal minds. Candles should be placed not on the streets, but used as weapons to change the society, light it to become truly egalitarian.