Thursday, September 5, 2013

Rape - An outcome of a Sick Society

Rapes have become a widespread phenomenon in India. Quite often, we hear of rape news from different cities, towns and villages of our country. While the government and administration has certainly failed to provide a safe environment to the citizens, we (as Indian citizens) have also not actively participated in creating a secure and safe environment in the country. Government's attitude is apathetic (no doubt) but we are also more or less in the same league. 

The fact that many passersby did not even act after seeing a girl (lying near a road in unbearable pain), who was brutally raped and thrown out of a moving bus, only indicates the extent of self-centered abyss that we have fallen into. The fact that those on Police duty, on that fateful night, argued with each other regarding the jurisdiction area of the crime only indicates their lack of sense for humanity (leave alone the country). And even after Delhi gang rape, we as a society have created a new low in Mumbai. 

Now (after the Mumbai rape case), a new cycle of protests and outcries had begun. But isn't this simply a reaction of our frustration? And can we really reduce the rape incidents through this reactionary approach? I have pondered over these two questions for a long period of time and the answer that I get is that such protests are not effective instruments to force the government to improve governance. 

Protests can get you limelight but they will not help you in ending the menace of rape. 

Rape is not only demeaning to the victim but it is also demeaning to our culture as it questions the potency of Indians as responsible, active and effective citizens. Rapes highlight our inability to protect our sisters and daughters. The consistency of such events also indicate the existence of a deeper malaise that exists in our society. In order to remove this malaise, we must be aggressive in first preventing rapes but we must also focus on the root cause of this disease. 

Preventing Rapes
For preventing rapes, we must develop an offense mechanism that targets the offender OR prospective offender from four different directions, that is, governmental, legal, administrative and societal. A well planned and coordinated mechanism will leave no scope for the offender. While government, legal and administration will play a very prominent role, the stakeholders (i.e. us, the common people) of the society will need to take the lead in the prevention of any such rape attempt. 

Once, we take the lead we can force the government, legal and administrative systems to adapt according to the changing situations. We can force them to create an environment that minimizes the possibility of rape. 'What we should do and How we should do' is something that I intend to take in another article; however, one thing is absolutely clear that the preventing rape has to start with strong measures that are taken at societal level. 

A crime whose origin is the Society has to end with the help of Society only.

Target the Root Cause 
Once we have established a safe and secure environment for the citizens, then our target will be the root cause of such crimes. It is difficult to identify a single reason responsible for these crimes, therefore, in my viewpoint, a number of negative influences have collaborated to give rise to this evil. This is the principal reason for the spurt in the number of rape incidents. However, I would definitely like to highlight the negative influences that have led to such a situation:

Lack of adequate education for all 
Education is important because it not only improves the knowledge of the people (specifically, the kids) but it also helps them to give shape to their conduct in the society. While getting good marks is relevant in a competitive society, one can not ignore values to stay in competition. In India, kids education has to improve across variety of areas, for example, aptitude identification and development, grades, personality development, and values. While the teachers play a very prominent role, it is the family which is a more fertile ground for value based education. 

Erosion of values (at the family level) during the early stages of a child
Scientific research has proved that a child is most receptive to learning new things during the first five years of his life. While a person learns the entire life, his rate of learning and the ability to grasp new concepts declines as he becomes older. The learning in the formative years primarily comes from the family, therefore, the onus of social conduct of an adult is more with the family. The growing dominance of materialism and fulfillment of desires has resulted in a 'No holds barred' attitude. As a result, every family has become more focused on desire fulfillment which has facilitated the process of giving up the treasure of our values.

Lack of connect with Ancient Indian Culture
India has a rich cultural heritage which has sustained for more than 10,000 years. However, the concepts, philosophies and the beauty of our culture got distorted due to passage of time and our interaction with people from other civilizations. Nonetheless, time has arrived that we revisit our old Indian tradition and reset our living style and habits according to VEDAS and other scriptures. While connecting with our past, we must also inculcate a sense of pride in our identity as Indians. This will help us to become spiritual as well as nationalists. Once we connect with our roots, we will be able to experience a positive change in our mindsets. And this should also help the anti-social elements to become better human beings.  

Perverse and blind adoption of Western culture
Globalization has resulted in the intermingling of different cultures across the world. While globalization has some inherent benefits, it carried some baggage of garbage too. For example, globalization has allowed evils such as Porn, Pubs, Friday Nights, Drugs, Liquor, Gay marriages and Debt-based consumption to flourish in the global marketplace. The prospering of such evils has created an attitude of instant gratification. As India has actively participated in the process of globalization, we have been influenced by these evils too. 

In fact, Indians have been very receptive to the evils of globalization primarily due to a superficial inferiority complex. Such blind worship of Western culture has only shaken our foundations.

Time has come for us to not just ape Western morals in the name of modernism, but to learn from our own past.

Thank You!!