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By Ajeet Bharti
Whatever the academic aspects of rapes are, whatever number of papers have been written about it, howsoever strict the punishments have been, assaults on females just keep coming to us every single day. This is not about India or Sudan or Japan as rapes/molestation cases are evenly spread out all around the world.
Earlier, as the UN data suggests, these cases were more visible in industrialised nations, however, this is now a world wide concern.
When we talk of rape, it is not just a forced penetrative sex by a man (or a group of men) but it also encompasses various other kinds of sexual advances towards women from gazing, staring, stalking, molestation, lewd comments, gestures and anything that makes women uncomfortable.
I, as a male and a human being, feel bad, disappointed and shamed because of various events that make this society a hell for women who are victims in one way or the other and all of us who can just feel bad because that’s perhaps all that is in our power.
I read a piece by an American student who explained her story about her stay in India. She blasted away many myths that foreigners have about India by bringing out the crudest forms of words, acts, gestures of sexual connotations that she went through.
Then I also read some comments on the story by other nationals from Germany, Canada, England, France etc. Many of them said that most of those advances/acts are ‘innocent’. They don’t mean any harm.
But is it? It is their perception that they are even considering such acts to be innocent!
Nirbhaya case, Mumbai rape case, Jaipur rape case… Keep adding random name and places and there will be a news on it. It has become so common that it is soon getting the status of default element of a society as the issue of corruption has become.
We, as brothers or fathers, feel enraged when we hear the news that someone commented on our sisters or daughters while she was on her way to school. But where is our sensibility when we hear of a rape?
Ours is a society where females, since birth, are considered and made to believe that they are to be ‘protected’ by their brothers or fathers or the male members of the family. This whole idea is anti women.
Not only the denial becomes a question mark on his so called social status as a male, but otherwise as well when he nurtures some feelings about a girl and is unable to tell. These feelings get repressed. As a result, every single female becomes some sort of a big moving target that he feels compelled to take a shot at!
There are several issues, apart from the individual and social ones, that might be responsible for these heinous acts. There is also a political angle to it. In any democracy, people invest faith in governments to make the state a place fit to live, free to express, and give a decent level of life.
When the state fails to provide education, job, food etc., it starts to fuel the already present individual repression, frustration of rejection, the unsaid/unexpressed desires. These build up a negative side of the individual who is very weak due to various conditions surrounding him and can’t control those resulting in various attempts ranging from stare, gaze, comments to gestures and forced behaviour leading to rape.
To think of elevating the mentality of the society and make it much more freer, is purely romantic. It can’t be done in a day. It takes a conscious effort from the government or policy makers to prepare a generation through education, counselling, behaviour modelling to remove the traces (which are in abundance) of patriarchal thinking and repression that our society as a collective entity ‘suffers’ from.
It is a disease. Patriarchy is central to it. The moment we attain a level of freedom in our thoughts that bequeaths respect for all genders, it will be a happy place to live in.
It is an individual problem which needs a political solution. State is an important component which, if it wills, can drastically reduce it in a period of two-three decades.
The punishment can never be a deterrent. I don’t think anyone doesn’t know that he will be punished for it. You propose anything. You execute murderers, you give life imprisonments but has the trend of murders gone down? No, data suggests otherwise.
So even if you punish that individual, society gains nothing. The victim or the eventual victims remain the same. It is not a solution rather a problem where stagnation of thinking is evident. Society is the victim and just seven years or a life term to the perpetrator is not good enough for a society that suffers.
In a political world, a global village, connected with fibre optics where information reaches everywhere in a jiffy, the society is at loss. It didn’t take a day that someone announced Indian society as ‘Jagadguru’ or the ‘teacher to the world’ and whole world started showing interest.
Our culture, once admired (and still by some), is in a negative evolution process. Evolution refines a culture, society in phases of time. But our graph is showing a decline and going to an ebb.
Individually, we can do only as much as regulate our thoughts and try to talk to others about it. It is a process that takes enormous amount of time. And a bigger attempt needs to be taken politically. An individual can not be responsible for educating others. It is a problem of collective conscious. And it needs to be addressed as such.
Till then, no punishment can be a deterrent as punishment rarely does anything positive to the society. You can jail a person, keep him away but that’s no guarantee there won’t be others because the society is still repressed, frustrated with various issues.
The city of Delhi has seen it all; from sultanate rule, to dynasties, and to colonial rule. From monarchy to democracy, Delhi has gone through its phases. But, in order to know and explore the nuances of Delhi, you must read these beautiful books.
1. City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi by William Dalrymple
This book was written while Dalrymple was still flirting with his love for the Medieval India. The author writes, "Moreover the city- so I soon discovered- possessed a bottomless seam of stories: tales receding far beyond history, deep into the cavernous chambers of myth and legend," and just like this, Dalrymple takes you in a tour to discover Discover Delhi.
2. Delhi by Heart: Impressions of a Pakistani Traveller by Raza Rumi
This book explores how the author explores his identity as a South Asian Muslim and how his city of Lahore is a mirror image of Delhi. Rumi, in this book, tries to co-relate the past with the present by comparing its festivals, streets, and markets.
3. Delirious Delhi: Inside India's Incredible Capital by DavePrager
This book is quite interesting. The story of this book revolves around the lives of Dave and Jenny who have recently moved to Delhi when their firm began to go down. The city of Delhi in this book is shown through their eyes as they try to make their way in the city that holds together a very large population.
4. The Heart has its Reasons by Krishna Sobti, Translated by Reema Anand, Meenakshi Swami
The original title of this book is "Dil - o - Danish". This book tells the reader about the streets of Old Delhi and almost transport the reader back in the past. This book is basically set in the 1920's, and tells the tale of a man's extramarital affair, his children out of wedlock, black magic, and Chandni Chowk's rich culture of sweets and the perils of being a widow. Interestingly, many have compared the author of this book to Jane Austen.
5. Delhi: A Novel by Khushwant Singh
Who would talk about Delhi and not remember Khushwant Singh? This amazing book is just like a narrative of the author's fulfilled love affair with the city and with a eunuch. The narrator in this book is an aging man who is trying to discover the city. This book is truly a masterpiece, where it takes the readers on the history of Delhi glimpsing at what makes the city what it is– simply beautiful.
There are some of the Indian cities which are older than time. Therefore, we must know which cities are they, and what has been their history!
1. Varanasi (1200 BC–)
Varanasi is one of the oldest cities of India, and has been a center of religious and cultural activity since the Bronze Age. In fact, this city might have been in existence from a very long time, since it finds mention in the Rig Veda. It is believed that the city of Varanasi was thriving for more than 1600 years before the fall of the Roman Empire in Europe. This city is one of the holiest places for Hindus and Jains, and even Lord Buddha gave his very first sermon here in 528 BC. In Hinduism, it is believed that dying in Varanasi brings salvation, which is the reason why the city is always brimming with pilgrims.
2. Ujjain (700/600 BC–)
Ujjain was once considered as one of the most prominent cities in the Middle India. In fact, the name of this city is repeatedly mentioned in the literature of that period, i.e. in the works of stalwarts like Kālidāsa. This city has seen the rise and fall of numerous empires, from the Mauryas to the Avantis, Nandas, and even the Guptas. This city, just like Varanasi, is also considered as one of the holiest cities in India, and hosts one of the officially recognized Kumbh melas, the Ujjain Simhastha Kumbh, in which people across the world take place.
3. Madurai (500 BC–)
Madurai been a major center of culture and trade for more than 2500 years. In fact, the name of this city has been mentioned in the writings of the great traveler, Megasthenes, and has been ruled by several empires from the Pandyas and the Cholas to the Karnata, and finally the British. Interestingly, ‘'Koodal,' was one of its ancient name which means 'a congregation of learned men'. There is no doubt that Madurai was an epicenter of scholars and religious teachers in the southern part of India.
4. Thanjavur (300 BC–)
Thanjavur was formerly known as Tanjore. This city is pretty famous for its Tanjore style of painting, which is a traditional style that is characterised by the use of gold foil, religious imagery, and simple compositions. This city is best known for being the home of the Great Living Chola Temples, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Till date, people across the world visit this place in order to experience its rich history and heritage.
By- Digital Hub
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Human hair wigs on display at a store Image source: Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash
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