No country for young women

“We even painted a few autos pink”.

(Note: “auto”, for the uninitiated, is like a small taxi, carries, or is supposed to carry, a maximum of two passengers at a time, and is a popular means of public transportation in most cities. In some countries in the region, variants of the “auto” are called “tuk-tuk”s.)

Silence descended on the group. Surely nothing could beat that.

It was the aftermath of another gruesome incident of rape. This time in a western metropolis. The high-level committee formed to address the issue and implement an action-plan to prevent a recurrence of such incidents was meeting. They had invited their counterparts from the capital, who had recent experience of implementing an action-plan after an even more gruesome incident had taken place there late last year, to participate.

(An earlier post emanating from that incident:

The invited team was sharing their experiences. They had seen how civil society’s collective conscience had finally been jolted into action. Both public and private agencies had left no stone unturned, it seems, in their quest to uplift the lot of women and ensure their safety.

A big company had taken early lead in the drive for emancipation of women by bringing out a women-only washing powder that will wash clothes clean only when used by a woman. It took the market by storm and left competitors wringing their clothes hands in despair.

A Mutual Fund company, boldly going where no man, or woman, had gone before, had launched a financial advisory service only for women, even encouraging them to invest money in their own poorly-performing financial products, for enhancing their feeling of security.

In his usual forthright and meaningless manner, the Finance Minister, joining the fray, had sent out a strong message for the emancipation of women in the country by announcing the launch of a women-only bank.

At each idea that was put forward, there was shock writ large on faces of members of the committee at the severity of measures taken. “No wonder that no further incidents had been reported from the capital. Once you introduce a women-only washing powder, a financial consultancy to advise women to invest in their own schemes and a women-only bank, surely nothing more would need to be done for the emancipation and security of women”, each one thought privately.

The shock turned to total disbelief when they were told that they had not stopped at that. They had even painted a few autos pink! Though they knew that such actions were the need of the hour, they were all silently wondering if they would ever be able to match the boldness of the team from the capital and implement them.

They also realised that the hard work of dreaming up meaningless solutions in the face of a gruesome crime had already been done. They did not have scope to pretend to come up with measures to address the situation in the interest of the people. All they had to do was implement. The reputation and careers they had built over years of trying to solve people’s problems through actions that were bound to fail from the outset, were at stake.

The invited team was justifiably proud of their efforts; in the face of huge odds a number of severe measures had been implemented without causing an iota of discomfort to the male population. They had managed to implement several measures requiring women to change their habits. For their own good, it must be clarified.

Meanwhile, in other normal events around the country:

  • A woman (a foreign tourist) camping in MP, got gangraped by a group of local men while she was camping in a jungle.
  • A woman managed to avoid getting raped in a moving car by jumping out of the car and sustaining grievous injuries in the process.
  • A British tourist (woman, who else!) jumped off a balcony in Agra to avoid getting molested by the owner of the hotel she was staying in.
  • Robbers gangrape a policewoman in Jharkhand. The woman, apparently, was taking her dead younger sister’s body to their hometown for cremation.

In view of several instances of foreign tourists being targeted, the government is considering banning all female tourists from entering the country in order to protect the country’s rich culture and heritage from being sullied by unjustified speculation overseas.

The government is also considering legislation to address the situation. One proposal being considered is to make it mandatory for crimes against women to be committed only by women.

A government spokesman has also said that these incidents should be a lesson for all. Calls from different sections of the population for a statehood here, greater autonomy there, stand exposed as politically motivated machinations of divisive elements. These incidents conclusively prove that be it Mumbai or Delhi, Madhya Pradesh or Agra, Jharkhand or anywhere else, we are united in our thinking and behaviour. We are one country.

15 thoughts on “No country for young women

  1. “They also realised that the hard work of dreaming up meaningless solutions in the face of a gruesome crime …” Women only stuff is undemocratic just as the quota system in hiring in USA to secure minority positions instead of merit is discriminatory as well. It is just a “make ’em feel good” window dressing. But the real issue is government’s inability to address the heart of these issues as it provides mere frosting for cake. A cake that is oppressed and subject to criminal exploitation. And of course commercial interests get on the band wagon not to combat injustice but to attract sales by singing the song of alleged compassion. The rapist is perhaps the evilest of criminals.

    • Absolutely right. The more the protection provided, whether it is to women, minorities, differently abled, the greater the schism between them and the rest. We have read in our history books that at the time of India’s independence, in 1947, one generation of the downtrodden and oppressed would be provided reserved opportunities to enable them to overcome their handicap and compete with the rest subsequently. Now, two generations later, have these reservations gone away? No sir. Have they increased? Yes sir. We might soon be making a minority out of the “normal”.

  2. Meanwhile, all government agencies have been reminded of their responsibilities:

    1. Police to arrive more than 24 hours after any rape is reported. Now, they are not even arriving, as they are waiting for the victims to come forth and make reports complete with full evidence that would stand up in court.

    2. Police to beat the female victims into admitting that they contributed to the rape due to their dressing, behaviour and speech. They should never shout “No!” as eminent psychologists have repeatedly, yes repeatedly, said that such responses only serve to provoke beasts, sorry, rapists.

    3. But not to worry, only female police are allowed to beat female victims. Their male counterparts will beat the fathers, brothers and husbands for daring to make a police report.

    4. These victims and their families should be ashamed for making scurrilous reports and sullying the good name of our country – don’t these people realise how hard we are all working to line our pockets and win more cricket matches.

    I can continue but risk taking the thunder out of all the good work done by government. So, I shall stop here. Whew!

  3. Heinous crimes. Blot to our nation. Who is safe here? What does the Govt. do? There is outrage all over but it still takes too long. Punishment needs to be swifter. When will you wake up from your slumber. Democracy is welcome but delay is unacceptable. Change. Accept that there is anger. My sympathies with the victims and their families and with all others whose cases go unreported.

  4. Dear friend, reports of rape are on the increase all over the world as if we are going backwards instead of forward on this issue (as well as many, many others unfortunately..).
    I take this opportunity to wish you a very happy New Year with lots of creative writing to keep us all amused and on our toes..

    • So true and so unfortunate. Sometimes I try to convince myself that it is all because of better MIS and better reporting, but then reason prevails. So many people seem to talk about progress and advancement, but I often wonder if there is such a thing. It seems to be a continuous circular motion. Some good, some not so good. We need to keep doing what we can in our spheres of influence.
      Thank you for your wishes and support. I wish you the same.

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