The rape victim Brave Angel 'Nirbhaya' breathed her last in the wee hours of December 29 in Singapore.
Even as she battled for her life and in her death India has turned into a Republic of Rapists. Compared to 16,000 rapes in 2002, India in 2011 witnessed 24,000 rapes. Overall crimes against women have been on the rise too, witnessing a more than cent per cent jump during the decade from 1, 30,000 cases in 2002 to 2, 20,000 cases.
The onus of this horrific state of affairs does not rest on those six men alone. All Indians have to hang our heads in shame. In that sense, our Finance Minister Palanivel Chidambaram put it the best when he said: "As a man, I feel ashamed. All of you here in this room should also feel ashamed. Why do men behave like this? We acknowledge the public anger and recognize it." The FM said this at the press conference addressed jointly with Information and Broadcasting Minister Manish Tiwari as Nirbhaya battled for her life.
But my dear FM, why doesn’t our political class speak as much on khap panchayats and for a policeman in Punjab who was killed protecting his daughter’s dignity as they did in case of Foreign Direct Investment in retail sector. There was a lot of action after you became the home minister after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. Sir, India has a lot more hope from able ministers like you. We need action and not reaction.
Soon after her death, condolences and promises to strengthen the security of women are flowing from all quarters. Hope her death is not counted as one of the million rapes that take place in this Republic annually. Some are reported. Others suffer silently, and bear for all their life the stigma of being raped.
It is not the few rapists alone that are responsible for what happened to Sister Nirbhaya. All of us too are guilty.
While commissions are being set up and politics is being played over inhuman tragedy, law makers at both Central and state legislatures, cutting across party lines, face charges of sexual assault and indecent behaviour and remarks against women.
This is not limited to politics alone. Our leadership in every sector be, it education, judiciary, corporate or even media (cannot be a holy cow) is fraught with characterless people.
In my home town of Chennai, a student killed a teacher because she had complained to his parents that he needed improvement while some journos from a leading television channel were caught allegedly on spy cam and later arrested on an extortion complaint. If all such examples were to be compiled, it would make an epic bigger than the Mahabharata itself.
Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it. A lot many Indians believe that Mahabharata was a mere epic. But it is part of the Indian history as the seed of Mahabharata was sown in Vastraharan of Queen Draupadi in full view of the royal court. It was symptomatic of decay of moral standards, deteriorating law and order and lack of governance.
Similar is the situation in India in 2012. Then there was blind King Dhritarashtra and now we have a government that does not want to see or hear things around it. For most of the year, India witnessed policy paralysis, decision paralysis, scams, scandals, and inaction.
Even our future Prime Minister Rahul Gandhi, who toured Gujarat and clinched a few seats supposedly for his party, has gone underground. Will he tour only when his party has to win seats?
The assault on human dignity was the least Indians could expect as they were reeling under price rise as vegetables became costlier by 13.71 per cent year-on-year while prices of oil and fats surged by 17.92 per cent and cereals became costlier by 11.82 per cent.
However, none of this moved our corporate and management whiz kids who failed to pay salaries to their employees on time for a quarter of year in 2012. Topping the list was none other than Kingfisher chairman.
Several others too joined the rogues’ gallery while management teams kept the workers motivated to continue to work even as they revelled on exotic holidays, calendars exposing beaus on beaches, luxury cars and jazzy music systems.
To carry out their dreary existence some borrowed, and a few begged. Others committed suicide.
Change in India has come about as a consequence of circumstance and crisis, and has always been the result of exogenous forces. Most often, that force has been a crisis. I wonder how many more rapes will make a crisis for this government to act. Already three rapes take place every day in India.
This is how the year 2012 ended for Indians, though many expected the Mayan Calendar prediction on Doomsday on December 21. Unfortunately the world is still spinning, till further notice.