Saturday, December 22, 2012

A-Shamed Indian

Forty minutes…forty minutes is all that it took to absolutely crush a young girl’s dreams and aspirations, forty minutes to violate her so mercilessly that five days on, she continues to battle for her life. Forty minutes that brutally rubbed out and rewrote her fate because the Gods on earth had decided otherwise. 

The Delhi gang rape case has created a stir in the public like none other. Spontaneous protests, candle light vigils, protest marches, tear gas, water cannons, lathi charge- in the past five days, the city has seen it all. The protestors, young students, have braved it all. And what are they demanding? Not reservations, not jobs, not money… they just want justice for the 23 year old victim. Despite all their efforts the question remains unanswered, how will the six ruthless men be punished? Will they be sent to the death row? Will they spend the rest of their lives enjoying meals on the State’s expense? Or will they, like most other cases, be left free to plunder our girls?

The girl on the other hand faces an undeniably bleak future. In a series of surgeries, the doctors removed her gangrenous intestines. Her WBC count has fallen to 1500 which makes her more prone to infections. The normal WBC count is 4,000 to 11,000 cells per cubic millimeter and such low counts are often an early indicator of sepsis. Sepsis is a potentially deadly medical condition characterized by a whole-body inflammatory state caused by severe infection. The next 4 days are extremely critical for her survival.

Even if she does come back from the clutches of death…she has a not-so-normal life waiting for her. Till now she has responded very bravely, asking if her violators have been caught… but once the reality dawns on her… her optimism might waiver. I have not seen much in my life, but from what I have, she will be alone that juncture. Each day will become an unending series of misery and set-backs for her. Rare are the women who can take so much and still laugh. I pray she is one of them.

The outburst of the public anger has really stunned me. And the home minister’s statement left me asking for more. Isn’t it the most general, most standard statement the government makes? Did it contain even a shred of solid action being taken? The secretary who wrote it obviously had no authority to make radical public announcements. It was what we hear every time the people take to the roads. The same old promises.

My question: Who can take the necessary action? The people have no leader, the opposition is mum and those in power are just making appeals to the people to go home. For that matter why focus on just this case? The same day, other girls were also raped in the city. And many more probably were in the country. Is rape, without this kind of torture associated, not a heinous crime? Is it okay for a single man to rape a woman if he doesn’t push up an iron rod inside her? Is it okay if he doesn’t pull-off her finger nails? NO.

Living in the capital city of India, I have come to consider vulgar comments by men as just part of my life. Rude stares are just normal. Having to deal with uncles in DTC buses, who insist on rubbing every part of their body on ours’ is fairly usual. But Rape is something which cannot and should not be passed off as something less than an assault on the victim’s psyche. It is one of those crimes which leave the victim maimed for life- emotionally and physically. It is not a gun-shot wound which heals with time. It is a pain so intense, an emotion so stabbing that it kills the girl over and over again, a million times.

In the past five days, I have devised punishments which I think will serve these men right. But they are too drastic to be spoken of in a democracy, too cruel for the government to handle and of course, not legalized by the Constitution. It seems to me that the only act legal is Rape.   

P.S. Maybe we should really gift our defenders, protectors and politicians, bangles for Christmas. At least their soft music will shame them day and night, because I am honestly ashamed of being Indian. Just ASHAMED.