Thursday, April 17, 2014


By Promod Puri

(On the issue of rape and violence against women in India following are the notes and brief articles written for the Dubai-based The Indian Trumpet magazine December 2013 edition).

.....Bacha Lo Hamari Bachchi Ko

“Jo bhi karna hai kar lo, bas bacha lo hamari bachchi ko (do whatever you have to, just save our child)", the father had told the doctors. But they could not. She slipped into eternal sleep, leaving the family in deep mourning, and the nation awakened. A year later as her photograph hangs in the prayer room, the father says,"She was so full of life. Whenever we look at her picture, we see a different expression on her face. Sometimes she smiles, sometimes she wants to ask us something".

In that "something" she is asking why she is subjected to violent and horrendous rape attacks again and again in Bengal, Bihar, Mumbai, Goa, Delhi and all over the country including those countless unreported assaults and cover ups.

And she is as much in agony and distress to know the rape of a just three-year-old in a Delhi play school. She wants to know as to why sexual violence is increasing at an alarming rate in India.

She wants to be part of the serious and meaningful debate about the causes and solutions to fix this culture of violence and rape. She wants to be the inspiration and hope; she wants the candlelight vigils, protests, outrage and  slogans to continue with full enthusiasm.

She wants the mentality change.Yes, "sometimes she smiles" at that silver lining up in the horizon hoping for change, progress, an increased respect for humanity and a more educated and violence-free nation in the long run.

And she has that vision when no father will ever say again "bas bacha lo hamari bachchi ko".

Race Riots and Violence Against Women

The dateline is Muzaffarnagar!
Six gang-raped, 24 accused. Not a single arrest so far. And the story continues "the women, named names in their FIRs, but still see the accused roaming free". More Amanats, more Daminis and more Nirbhayas. Here in Muzzarfarnagar it is all under the cover of religion. A different front of race related rapes. But a willful criminality; happening again and again and again. The sparks from India Gate have not yet charred the evils within the lewd "spiritual" gurus, apathetic politicians and a high-profile journalist with "blatant Hypocrisy".  A year ago the government was pushed into action and quite extensive and intensive new laws were introduced; strong in wording, but weak in activation. The result, same rundown day after day. "Stringent" laws but with protractive straphangers. They say justice delayed, justice denied.  In the meantime, on an individual level "educating our sons" seems to be a small effort but an effective part of the campaign to clean up this "big mess".

Not Acceptable

Rape, violence, insecurity, injustice, domestic assault, inequality, exploitation and discrimination against women! None of these are acceptable anymore. Also not acceptable are the dowry system, bride burning, stalking, acid and chemical attacks, female feticide and infanticide, and Manu's gender based dictates. The contemporary Indian woman is striving to gain respect and dignity, safety and protection, justice and equal rights, and an environment where she can also realize her "dreams, career aspirations and life goals". Is anybody out there listening! Yes, the politicians and the government do listen. But with selective hearing they decide when to hear and when not to suit their own political agenda and strategies. Still the pounding must go on. The crusade does not stop on this front only. It is the front within to feel and recognize that the time is now over to accept the "back seat" which is not a "comfort zone" anymore.


Hammering Must Start Now

A lot of issues relating to rape and violence against women are on the anvil. The hammering must start more vigorously to create a just society where women feel secure and safe, respect and dignity, no more domestic violence, physical, sexual or acid attacks. And where women feel full efficacy of their competence and capabilities, candidly realize their dreams as well. The electrifying spark produced last December has enough glow to remove that centuries of darkness, and enough power to kickstart the revolution of women emancipation. Education of our future generation for gender equality and justice, as well as campaign of realization among women to instill self confidence are part of this compelling revolution of change. And those who have earnestly volunteered themselves to undertake these inspiring roles are to be commended.

It is Happening All The Time

It does happen, every day, every hour, every minute. Horrendous moments of agony traumatizing for the rest of life. Physical wounds may fade but indelible psychology scars remain for life.There is no solace. Snail-pace justice system, laws with wavering teeth, politicians' double talks and double standards, stupid remarks from the flourishing community of holy men (omg), all this and more nonsense are more injurious than healing. Meanwhile, victims "A,B,C,D..........." continue to fall into the net of lust, power or  extreme chauvinism. The "numbers" become statistics.

Waiting for that morning with fresh breeze to walk without fear and with confidence.


The Problem Rooted In Mindset

" Hang them, amputate them, life imprisonment, no parole,  flog them", whatsoever it be. Justice is served. The victims, the families and the empathetic segment of the society are somewhat relieved. A closure is drawn to carry on with life. Crime and criminals are exposed in front of public; fodder for some media. One horrendous incident followed by more. Life goes on. The "core" issue is still there.  Retributive sentences have "message for criminals". Does that work. May be, may be not. The problem is rooted in the "mindset". What can be done. Many combat zones. And the campaigns can go on at all the fronts simultaneously. However, the calling begins from home. The emergence of civilized society starts from home.

The Torch Is Lit

"............... that society is not devastated by the misdeeds of badman, but by the silence of the so-called good people”.This time, however, all the good people did not stay silence. Spontaneous outburst of anger spilled over the streets of Delhi and all over the country. Thousands got organized to rally in an unorganized and robust protest. Social media was the tool. Banners, slogans,  battle with police and their brutality became part of this historic march. Many got seriously hurt, tear gassed, but the bravehearts were able to lit the torch. And the struggle continues.....


Light At The End Of Tunnel

Is there light at the end of the tunnel! Hope so, but the passage is very long. Along the way the scenario looks same, seldom changes, rather seems repeated. But rays of light are increasing, boosting our resolve and promising a level field of equality, dignity, respect and freedom.

Where Is The Trust

Different situations, different reasons, but it can happen and it does happen! Acquaintances, relatives, "uncles", family pride, honor, customs and traditions, lust or pure addictions.Where is the trust, the shelter, the "shield"; where to plug. The walkways are frightening, and even the sidewalks have manholes with deceiving covers.


Fight On Many Fronts

Yes, we have to fight back. And the fight has many fronts, many battlegrounds. It is long and some times or most times frustrating. It is not woman versus man, but humanity against beasts. The latter exist in every fold of the society. Quite identifiable, and attack is the best strategy to defend.



If multi-armed Hindu Godesses Durga, Laxshmi, Kali and other related divine "sisters" and incarnations have to be reimagined and their portfolios redrawn then more arms have to be adjoined to each of them to represent the multi roles women play in the changing, complex and challenging contemporary society.


Combat Plan

Optimistic attitudes along with resolved and spirited combat plan are indeed encouraging signs of not only a victory over centuries old 'culture' of violence against women but treating them with reverence and dignity.


"Woh Subha Kabhi To Ayegi"

The desperate wordings in Talaash Azadi Ki...... has sparks of determination and hope, and that reminds me the revolutionary poetry of Sahir Ludhianavi :

वो सुबह कभी तो आयेगी, वो सुबह कभी तो आयेगी
इन काली सदियों के सर से, जब रात का आँचल ढलकेगा
जब दुःख के बादल पिघलेंगे, जब सुख का सागर छलकेगा
जब अंबर झूम के नाचेगा, जब धरती नग्में गायेगी
वो सुबह कभी तो आयेगी........