The Buck Stops Here

I wrote this in the aftermath of the Delhi gang-rape last year. I even sent it to a leading daily. But either they did not find it worthy enough to be published or I had not followed their specifications for sending in articles properly.

With the Mumbai gang-rape of a photo journalist last month and the lenient punishment meted out to the juvenile involved in the former case, I find myself at a loss yet again. Whom to blame? What to blame? How to put a stop? What to do?

The following article addresses just the first question. That too in the context of reactions almost 10 months back. But nonetheless I would still like an answer to that question…….

The Mayans predicted end of the ‘human race’ on the 21st day of the last month in the year 2012.

In a strange twist of fate, a few days ahead of the supposed Doomsday, a very disgusting display of a certain human race’s bestial tendency was being played out in a well known area of a better known city.

Not that the race in this part of the world had not seen, heard or witnessed such horrors being perpetrated on it before. It had probably seen worse but suddenly it occurred to this race that the incident was an indication of the end of ‘humanity’ and not ‘human race’.

As soon as the realization set in, this human race cried war. After all humanity had to be assuaged, it had to be avenged.

People in power were questioned, protests were organized, law and order situation of the country came under the scanner and the hitherto ‘indifferent’ youth from relatively privileged backgrounds spearheaded the whole upheaval.

Not so surprisingly the State apparatus refused to address the angry and disgusted crowd, buried its head in the sand like ostriches do and made no effort to own up to its shortcomings. Furthermore, the ‘law-keepers’ of the land, whose very functioning was being slammed (with good reason) took to brute force to control the crowds. When the situation spiraled out of control the same old lame excuses were repeated: ‘the crowd turned violent, there were anti-social elements, and we were just doing our duty….’

Opposition played their part well, encashing in on the turmoil to secure some brownie points against an already tottering and inert government.

And thus the human race continued its war to revive humanity.

Never once did it stop to re-examine its own role in the state of affairs. Never once was it ready to share the onus of the Frankenstein it had created over the years.

It turned a blind eye when it read about a hundred minors’ ordeal for god knows how many years; about the poor woman being devoured by the dark night day after day; about the village woman who was working towards making the society a better place every single day of her life and continued to do so even after some animals decided to ‘rob her of her dignity’.

The human race ate, drank, partied and was occasionally stirred when it read about a BPO employee’s plight, girls being molested in an upscale Mangalore pub or a woman in a Kolkata pub who met a similar fate. And then an incident so brutal, so uncouth, so revolting that it not just stirred but shook them out of their slumber. The only odd thing: such brutality was unheard of in their circle, their idea of ‘society’.

A particular section of this human race waited till it occurred to them; it made them realise that they are as much vulnerable as those that they don’t give a fig about, that they don’t want to talk about. To them humanity had ended because their kind felt cornered and threatened, not because they felt united for a cause that transcended all social classes and boundaries.

The Mayans had neither miscalculated nor misconstrued. It is the end of the human race in my country – devoid of reason, escapist, shifting the blame from one to the other, baying for another’s blood by way of solution to crimes that are perpetrated every day behind closed doors or in public.

Perhaps how parochial and superfluous the whole uproar is/was, can be summed up in the sentiments and concerns of a thorough city girl who opined that if women were to boycott ‘all things pretty and expensive in those shops’ (an excerpt from a front page article of a leading daily), it will send a message across to the State about the indispensability of women and thus make it aware of its responsibility.

Can someone please tell the young lady, it is not just her kind who faces the horrors of a male-dominated, patriarchal, medieval-minded human race which revels in the tag of ‘an emerging super-power to reckon with’ but does nothing to live up to this title?

(A disillusioned yet hopeful young city dweller)

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