For days we have been debating this in our household... what can be done to stop this crime. We talked about capital punishment, castration and public humiliation. Nothing seems sufficient. Rape is not the only henious crime either, in general law enforcement in India has become a standing joke!
Protestors crowded the streets of Delhi. Many expressed their anger and anguish yet I have not seen the names or pictures of the perpetrators. Are we protecting their identity? The government promised swift action and the country will move on like we always have. Yet there have been so many other rape incidents in the news this past week. What about the 14 yr old in Ahmedabad or the 18 yr old in Patiala both of whom attempted suicide. The latter died.
I think back to the days I roamed the streets of Bangalore. My friends would laugh at my paranoia, but I never felt safe in the streets. Every time I worked late and returned home at night, the company bus would drop us off at a street corner a mile away from home. We would have to walk across a little hamlet to get home. I always checked who else was working late before I made a decision to work late. I always made sure I had company returning home alone at night. That is the true state of the country. My independence was never complete. Today I sit in another part of the world and worry about my kids getting home safely but thats a story for another day!
A few years back I visited India and travelled to many citites on a sight seeing vacation. I travelled by train a lot, roamed the streets of Delhi and other popular cities. I went devoid of jewellery, my eyes constantly on the look out for trouble. And I found them lurking around every corner. The guy who keeps staring at your breasts, the other guy who walks too close aiming to brush his body against yours. There was this guy who followed me the length of a railway station looking, staring! I turned to glare and he moved back a few inches. I walked towards the police force guarding the station and the man ran away. I later realised this guy was probably a chain snatcher. My mangal sutra went into the afe at home and stayed there for the rest of my trip. This my friends is the true state of India.
We call her Amanat, the name does not roll so easily from my tongue. For we failed to treasure and protect her. We mourn her death and vow to ensure it was not in vain. But we failed as a nation. So what do we do to make sure this does not happen again? I dont claim to know the solution but I do have a few ideas.
Every Indian, man or woman needs to go sign up for a self defence class. Teach your kids the value of humanity and respect. Teach them to stand strong and fight back, teach them to be brave and yet not foolhardy. Be armed and forewarned. It could be a pepper spray, or a taser but it will prove useful. Vote for the right leaders, we dont need puppets and pupeteers, we dont need corrupt politicians, we need visionaries and true leaders. Clean up the country, it is your responsibility and mine.