TODAY -

'Kumbhakarnas' have 'waked up'!

Kajal Chatterjee *



The country witnessed an outrage to protest the Nirbhaya gang rape in the New Delhi bus and her eventual death. The same outrage is being witnessed today following the brutal Hyderabad gang rape cum murder. And all are asking why India has not seen any improvement since Nirbhaya days! Actually there lied no reason to see any difference.

Firstly, was that outrage following the New Delhi rape and murder case in December 2012 sincere enough to cause any drastic change for the better? Only if a middle class educated girl of the national capital(or a journalist in the Shakti Mills compound of Mumbai) gets sexually assaulted/raped/murdered; the "conscience" of the people, media, politicians and Bollywood stars get awakened overnight!

This class conscious mindset has again got exposed following the brutal incident in Hyderabad with the victim being an urban veterinarian and the alleged culprits being lorry drivers!

But when a vulnerable helpless 12-year old footpath dweller gets kidnapped by two lumpen drivers of a "glamorous" cab company in a Kolkata midnight gang raped murdered and her body thrown in a canal on morning or a Dalit/tribal woman meets the same fate in "non-glamorous" India; why don't those "conscientious" brigade come out on the streets with a "solemn" face and candle in hand?

Last year following the gangrape and murder of a 8 year old girl in Jammu and Kashmir's Kathua, we didn't witness such a massive outrage! Even sexual assaults on women from North-East in National Capital Region do not provoke any outrage against the monsters akin to the unprecedented scale which got witnessed in the case of Nirbhaya with even laws getting amended!

It seems that during the period of 7 years between Delhi atrocities on Nirbhaya to the latest sensational assault in Hyderabad; India hadn't witnessed any such similar incident !

Thus it gets clearly proved beyond doubt that only when any girl of middle class background aspiring to learn medicine or working as a journalist or veterinarian gets gang raped by the people of "low class" ie drivers, helpers or urchins; protest against such atrocities needs to be registered!

But if a mere daughter of footpath or of marginalised Bakarwal community gets brutally gang raped and murdered; then far from registering minimum protest, "enlightened" members of this class-conscious society prefer to pursue their careers, dine in high-end restaurants or remain immersed in the barbaric Bollywood, discos and night clubs!

When the decision to protest or not protest against gang rape takes place after taking into account the class and social status of the rapists and the victims; all norms of that "selective protest" turn into a farce and simply a fashion-show of "dented and painted women" as rightly pointed out by Abhijeet Mukherjee.

Secondly, though a woman gets raped every 20 minutes in India(according to a report), how many of the culprits get nabbed or punished? Despite registration of innumerable cases of rape and related murder since last 2 decades, only a poor rural caretaker has been hanged for his alleged role in the rape and murder of an urban middle-class girl of Kolkata!

Why have the rest of the innumerable rapists been allowed to escape gallows? Just because "tsunami of shock" didn't get registered in those cases or the "collective conscious" of this partial biased society didn't get "awakened" overnight! Is the justice system a "reality show" with the result dependent upon the sheer number of popular votes garnered!

Punishment should be awarded according to the gravity of the crime, not in proportion to the "shock" generated within the society! Can it be concluded that if the "collective conscience" of the society remain in slumber in any particular case of gang rape, the concerned rapists will be spared from their march towards the gallows!

The decision of awarding capital punishment or not should depend upon the gravity of the crime; not on the hypocrite attitude of the "Kumbhakarnas" whose "conscience" prefer to enjoy a sound sleep when "lesser folks" get gang raped and/or murdered, but instantly wake up when victims of the same crime hail from urban privileged stock with the culprits being of "low class"!

Only when the administration will act impartially and promptly nab the rapists and the judiciary religiously award capital punishment to the brutes, can an environment of security be presented to the fairer sex.

Thirdly, the ever-increasing incidents of rape and molestation is the direct fall out of the degrading character and mindset of this society which feel immense pleasure in voyeurism or anything associated with sex or display of female skin.

This is the very reason why the dirty pictures of Bollywood, where the camera continuously hovers over the cleavage of half-naked heroines, are instantly lapped up by the society, get dubbed as piece of "art" by the media and emerge as super-hit!

Unless the Censor Board and the relevant authorities act tough and terminate the shower of nakedness and obscenities in films, reality shows in TV, print media, billboards exploiting semi-naked feminine bodies to advertise even a gent's shoe or shaving cream; no power in the world can prevent the moral corruptness in the society where female bodies get treated as nothing but a product to be "consumed to the full"!


* Kajal Chatterjee wrote this article for The Sangai Express
The writer is based in Kolkata
This article was webcasted on December 12, 2019.



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