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Sunday, there was a heinous crime committed in the capital city of India. A 23-year old was raped by 6 men, and they did not stop at that. After sexually assaulting her for an hour, they inserted a rod into her vagina, damaging her reproductive and digestive organs.

The whole nation is witnessing an uprising, as everyone stands united against the gang rape that shocked the country. Yes, it is a good thing India is asking for justice, but has anyone asked a question to themselves – justice for whom and against what? Do these people holding protests and demonstrations even realize that it is not only those 6 men who are criminals, and it is not only one woman who is a victim? Have we, as a nation, even thought about one second why this happened in the first place? Why do thousands of women get raped and assaulted in this country, every single day? Why do most of such cases go unreported and many a times, the criminal wanders free while the victim lives a scarred life? Has India forgotten about Aruna Shaunbag who is semi-comatose for 37 years while her rapist has led a normal life all this while, after spending just a few years behind bars?

Why are we creating such a furore over this particular case? Because it happened in the capital city of India! What about thousands of equally brutal crimes that are committed in the rural and backward regions of India? There are a number of women, young girls and boys, who are raped every day and still choose to stay silent because there is no one who will hear their voice. And also because they are forced to worry more about the hunger and staying alive than their dignity! Do we raise our voice for those helpless people, do we hold protests to bring their assualters to justice? For a big section of the Indian society, the poor people do not even exist! These young children go on with their lives with the memory of the crime etched in their memory and with a realization that it doesn’t matter to anyone else. Why don’t we feel bad about a 40-year old women raped by 3 men, one of them being the father of another rape victim this woman had helped! Why are we not shocked at the rape of a 3-year old girl? Why are we not shocked when a young boy is sexually assaulted by his teacher? Why do we not shed tears and hold protests when a farmer, who grows crops for us and expects only a very normal standard of life in return, commits suicide because he has given up on the system? Why is our reaction based on what media and politicians feed us?

The brutality of the crime cannot be overlooked but are we really looking at the mental state of these criminals when they commit such hideous act? Why does the main accused in this case does not even feel remorseful and he simply says “it just happened”. Can any sane person believe this statement? Every single day, we go though many moments where we become very angry with circumstances but do we let anything just ‘happen’? I am sure we control ourselves. So are these men not normal; are they sick; do they have some psychological problem that needs to be addressed? Maybe. But let us first look into the lives of such criminals; let us take a trip into the mind of a criminal.

A man lives in slum in inhuman conditions, where there is no clean water to drink, no hygienic place to stay, no education to give an opportunity for a good life, no electricity. He is born, lives like a pest, rather, treated like a pest by people and then he dies an anonymous death. Between those two events of his life, he looks at the other section of the society – the rich and powerful. He observes that these people go to fancy places to eat, waste half the food on their plates, go around in expensive cars and when they come face-to-face with him, they shoo him away like a dog. When he had no idea where his next meal will come from, these wealthy people get involved in scams worth thousands of crores rupees. He does not even have an idea what a million rupee means, and when he hears these people talking in billions, what does he feel? Most in his situation feel sorry for themselves and accept their fate with bitterness.

Then, there are others like Ram Singh, who want to give back to the society the treatment they have been receiving since the day they were born. There are many such Ram Singhs who decide that they would rather have their 15 minutes of fame, causing a damage to the society, than living a life of lowly existence. What does he do then? He finds ways to commit crimes – a robbery, an assault, a rape! He influences other weak men and takes them along since he is too scared to do it all alone. He finds an opportunity in a girl, who would be unable to defend herself against 6 drunk and crazy men. He ravages her, and then, hurts her so bad that she cannot lead a normal life, sending a message to the society that he was capable of something! He is sent to the jail and he might be hanged; but that doesn’t really bother him. He has got his 15 minutes of fame and he knows he need not worry about any more meals or a warm place to sleep till he is in jail. Who knows perhaps, when he is alone, he even smiles at himself at achieving a feat no one in his family has even been able to? Probably Ram Singh considers this as his victory since he could not really have any woman from that section of the society ever in his life and when he raped that girl, he knew he had full power over her life and he could decide her fate in those moments. He might have felt as powerful as he would have never felt or would never be able to feel in his whole life! For him, the victim was a symbol of everything he could not have, and so he decided to destroy her; for him, it was an act of rebellion against the atrocities he has been subjected to. We need to ask ourselves why does Ram Singh lead such a helpless existence that a crime for which he could be hanged, gives him an exhilarating feeling? Should’t we be worried that our society has reached that point where a particular section does not care what punishment they get if only they are able to do what they are sure they cannot achieve in their lifetime?

So what is responsible for crimes – the dress of the woman, the fact she was travelling at night, the lawlessness or it is the attitude of the society as a whole, who gives a shit to the poor people? Though these people form the larger section of the society, they don’t even exist for the other section! I think we all are accomplices in the crime that happened in the bus that night; I think we all are culprits for any act of immodesty committed against any woman on Indian soil. I am ashamed to say that it is not one Ram Singh who is the bad fish in the ocean; it is the politicians, the wealthy businessmen, the rich & powerful people, and us; we are the ones, creator of thousands of Ram Singhs, that are really responsible for any crime that happens in  our society.

I see these protestors screaming and shouting on the streets and I want to ask them – do they even know what they are fighting for? The police is already doing their bit, the criminals are behind bars and they will be severely punished and I am sure they will be made to pay for their crime. I am so sure because these men do not belong to a politician’s or a businessman’s family, because they are not wealthy to bribe someone and escape and because they belong to the larger section of the society which always gets punished. Now, I am not saying we should not raise our voices against what is wrong in the society but I think, in this case, the anger of the crowd is misdirected. And no one has ever achieved anything great with a misdirected anger or a misguided revolution.

The youth of India is capable and frustrated with the law, the state of affairs, and they want to do something good. It is a good sign, but what is the basic problem of the society? Only that men don’t respect women? Only that some men think they are above law and can do whatever they want? Only that most of the time, we get angry at such an incidence and then, some other news catches our attention and we abandon the case we were so fervently  supporting? The basic cause is the divide in the society, the attitude of those running the country and the impotence of the common man. We do not know what are we supposed to fight for. We don’t realize that when we are feeling emotions of helplessness, rage and sorrow over an event, it is because the media is making us feel those emotions. The media itself is also a puppet in the hands of the politicians who are just using such incidents as a vote-strategy. The media is creating frenzy over this particular case, but seeing the history, I am sure they will forget this terrible incidence as soon as they find something more worthwhile to raise their TRPs. The usual journey of anything shocking that happens in India is page 1 to page 5 to ‘who is interested anymore’.

Why don’t we rally against the corrupt politicians who control the wealth of the country and hide it away for their future generations while the current India is going through a crisis? Why don’t we hold a Sonia Gandhi, a Robert Vadera, a Manmohan Singh, a Shiela Dixit, a Hooda, a Mayawati responsible for the monstrous act that was committed and is being committed every day? Why don’t we rise against the rape that these people commit on our motherland every single moment? Let us join hands to stop the rape that started it all – of India, by corrupt politicians, TRP-hungry media, money-sucking industrialists, over-ambitious and easily-influenced youth (who are apparently ‘serving’ the country), the common man (voting the corrupt politicians into power year after year).

Yes, we need a radical change in the Indian society; yes, we need a revolution; yes, we need India to stand united against crimes. But the only question we need to ask ourselves before we stand up and fight is – do we know and understand what crime is? Are we sure that we are shooting the arrow in the right direction and on the right target? Why don’t we first do a root-cause anaylsis and then, we will be truly ready to carry forward an insurgency.

(This post contains strong language and adult content)

My insides convulse with rage and I grit my teeth in anger, every single time I hear someone say these words. I have heard many men pass such comments while giving their opinion about the sexual harassment women have to face in their everyday lives. So these sick men mean to say that every person who stared at a woman’s body, who groped her in a public place, who passed lewd comments on her while she walked on the road, or who raped her, was actually “invited” by the woman to do these things to her? Do they really think that a woman, by way of her dressing or walking or just by being good-looking, is asking the men to commit heinous crimes to her? Does this imply that every woman who covers herself properly and is not-so-pretty is safe from lechers? That further means that if you dress well and have a pleasing personality, the men have a right to commit sexual crimes against you? That’s how these sick bastards see women?

Some incidents, which I am sure have nothing to do with a woman’s looks or clothes or even her age:

  • A woman is gang-raped on a moving bus in the capital city of New Delhi. This woman is hanging between life and death while the criminals are at large.
  • A handicapped man tries to rape a woman in a moving train. When she resists, he throws her off the train, and then rapes her. She dies on railway tracks.
  • A minor girl is gang-raped by 12 men in Haryana.
  • A 50-year-old woman is ravaged by four strangers.
  • Girls are playing in a school near the compound wall, while a man approaches them, opens his pants, shows them his penis and starts shagging. The girls are too shocked to react while he is busy passing lewd remarks, pleased with his “show of his masculinity”.
  • A group of 18 men grope a woman, try to strip her clothes off, drag her by her hair, and all the while smile at the cameras that were filming them! The woman was abused for 45 minutes while the onlookers just captured the humiliation, instead of calling the police. To top it all, she was blamed as the authorities claimed that she was drunk and perhaps a prostitute.
  • A 19-year old rape victim is married to her tormentor since the family is unable to find a groom for her.

Did all of these women “ask for it”, “were looking for it”, “invited it upon themselves” or “deserved it”? Do you really think that they wanted to be hurt, physically and mentally, or they wanted to get killed in the process of asking for it?

These are just a few of the reported cases, there being many many more which are hushed by authorities, parents, society etc. And then, there are countless cases where a woman is asked for “favors” at her work place; she is groped in the crowded buses/trains; she is leered at, commented on etc etc. So the men who opine that the woman was asking for it really mean that a woman enjoys being molested, groped, raped/gang-raped and then likes being judged by the society for being the victim of such a crime! The emotions that I experience in hearing even so-called educated men utter these senseless words, is beyond shock and cannot be explained in words!

We Indians are probably the biggest hypocrites in the world. On one hand, we have many female deities and we perform elaborate prayers to them, however on the other hand, we treat our women like crap and then, blame her for “inviting it upon herself” or “a lesson taught well”. And above all, we have the guts to say this publicly and think it is such a macho statement to make!

I am sure such incidents are not unheard of in other countries as well. I am sure that women face many other crimes of violence against them, apart from sexual crimes. I am also sure that after every violence committed against a woman, there are at least 10 men proudly stating that the victim was responsible or deserved what happened to her. To such men, I have only one thing to say – guys, your mother is/was a woman too, and so is your daughter (if God has been kind enough to give you one)!

I think the men who accuse a woman to be guilty of making the crime happen, are actually themselves sick to the core and in need of psychological help. It is their frustration for not being successful in putting down women in general or a woman in specific that speaks when these dirty words escape their equally filthy mouth. Men, in general, are scared of women being better than them and hence, they find ways to curb their capabilities by destroying her dignity. And who the hell decided what a woman’s dignity is and how it can be rescinded? I am sure it must have been men who declared that once a woman loses her virginity, she is shamed and loses face in the society!

I challenge such men to dress up like a woman, cover themselves appropriately (according to their belief of proper attire for a woman) and walk the streets of any Indian city for a day. If they come back and tell me that not a single man tried to hit on them or touch them, I might reconsider my opinion. I am sure that though a man dressed up as a woman would definitely look hideous, yet at least one person will surely lech at him or ‘her’.

It gives me immense pain to admit that there are women who might have a similar opinion. But also on the other hand, there are men who lay down their lives in protecting a woman’s modesty. When Indian youth was organizing slut walks in the country last year, it was heart-warming to see men participate in these events, with as much passion was women did. Though there is a change in the thinking of the youth, the change needs to be more radical, and more penetrated to all the sections of the society. All men and women should understand that a sexual assault is painful to a woman not only physically, but also scars her mind for life. Many women commit suicide after experiencing a crime and many cases are not reported because of the shame associated with it. If women live in fear in a society, the nation cannot really progress, however strong economic resources it develops. All of us should learn ourselves and teach our children, respect for women. India is a country that boasts of women Prime Minister and President, it should not be anywhere on the list of the unsafe countries for women. I do not want Indian women to prefer staying abroad for the reasons of safety. I would love to see a day in my country when I will not have to fear going out alone even at night and I would have the freedom to dress as I choose.

To the men who think women invite it upon themselves – you are an asshole, so f*** off!

I end this post with my favorite quote by Rebecca West – “I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is; I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat or a prostitute.”

(P.S. If you are offended by the sentiments expressed in this post, in all probability, you are a man in the ‘sick’ category! In that case, I don’t care what you think!)

Yeah, one of those crazy days when you gotta do something insane to make yourself feel better. Its 15 degrees outside and drizzling. Not a big deal for an Indian…but for Qatar, it’s cold and unusual. The rain doesn’t really last this long in this country. This time, it’s been drizzling since morning, in fact since Friday evening. Today though the blanket of cloud has covered the whole sky, without even a trace of the sun! Needless to say, I am loving it. In my growing up years, I never liked the winters; suddenly, I love the cold weather. Perhaps it is because for the past 5-6 years, I have had too much sun in Qatar!
So back to the day. As soon as I got up, I knew today was going to be colder than usual, and I have been waiting for it. One reason is it’s mid-December, it is supposed to be cold! And also because the overcoat I bought so lovingly and impulsively was just sitting there in the closet; it had to come out! As soon as I realized the absence of sun in the sky, I was overjoyed. It was that feeling which can be described in just one word – “finally!” The ride to the office, the meetings, the work, everything seemed more interesting. I went to stand near the window several times during the day, just to admire the beautiful weather, the grey clouds covering the whole sky and I kept praying that the rain should not stop. It didn’t!

Then, at my usual time for a walk, I put on my coat (yes, the one I was dying to wear!) and stepped out of the house. I realized I forgot to pray for the rain to stop at 8:30! So, could a little bit of rain stop me from doing what I was so looking forward to – a walk in the cold weather? I thought, “what the heck,” took out the umbrella and went for my walk. And what a crazy yet wonderful thing to do! It was so gorgeous that all the beautiful Hindi and English songs started playing in my head. On the tune of classics like “pyar hua, ikraar hua” to “raindrops keep falling” playing in the background, I kept walking. The cold breeze blowing through my hair, touching my face, the pitter patter of the raindrops on the umbrella, the silence of the night, the grey sky (not black), the puddles of water on the road, and of course, the warmth of a new coat – an awesome experience 🙂

The onlookers must be thinking, while they themselves rushed to the warmth of their homes, “What a crazy lady…walking in the rain!” The crazy lady was in turn wondering, “What crazy people, sitting inside the homes with the doors shut in such a gorgeous weather!” Well, as they say, it’s about the perspective!

So though this might not have been the most insane thing I have ever done, but it was fun! It was a perfect end to a not-so-perfect day!

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