“You are anti-Hindu/Muslim,” “you are anti-national/anti-India,” “you are anti-left/right wing,” “if you are not a feminist, you are anti-feminism or even better – a male chauvinist pig.” You all have heard these statements right? I certainly have.
Today one more got added to my list – anti-woman. How did I end up getting that label, you ask?
It was lunch time and in the office canteen, the TV channels had just started flashing headlines about the killing of the four rape-accused in Telangana. Someone asked me what I thought of this killing/ ‘encounter in self-defence’ by the police. I said I don’t approve of it, and I find it deeply worrying.
“So, you are anti-woman? Don’t you think that the poor lady deserved justice?”
Reducing every argument to binaries – you are either on my side or you are anti-me, and if you are anti-me you don’t deserve to exist – it is a new malaise and it has gripped our society fast.
We, the so called ‘ordinary citizens’ of this country, are angry. And, we have reasons to be so.
We pay our taxes on time and yet the roads we travel on daily, break our bones, if not kill us. We enjoy the rain from our balcony, but dread to step outside – where is the guarantee that we will not slip into an open manhole or not get electrocuted – just because some civil servant chose to be callous. Or one of us chose to be greedy enough to steal the man-hole cover or enjoy TV at home with the stolen electricity.
We allow our kids to go to cinema, and we get their charred bodies in return. Then we run around courts and police stations for twenty years and sometimes even more, just to find that the perpetrators need to pay twenty lakhs to absolve themselves of their crime. This we call justice.
We admit our sick relatives in highly expensive private medical hospitals, only to see them burn alive. Why? Because some profit minded businessman/woman decided to block the emergency exits and put in a few extra beds instead. We rage and scream only to find the same management open another hospital and our elected representatives hobnobbing with them. In anger we decide to go to government hospitals, and are nibbled by rats, if not already killed by the abject negligence of the staff there.
Air and water – considered vital for life – a life guaranteed by our constitution, is no longer safe. But, who cares? If you are the privileged class, you buy masks, air and water purifiers. If you don’t belong to that class, how dare you complain?
We send our daughters out, and pray that they will not get mauled.
The police which is there to protect us, often play the opposite role – we are scared to go to them, and hire private security instead.
Our courts, which we believe are there to provide justice, often take so long to even hear our plea – it is hard to maintain our faith in them.
Strip them, lynch them, kill them, castrate them, stone them, hang them in public, maim them, shoot them, let their bodies rot. These cries are from us – we have known these people for long – either we are related, or live next to each other or we go to school, college or office with them, or we meet them at social events – we have always known them as decent, moral, civil, educated, god and government fearing, honest people, who would otherwise think twice to squat a mosquito. What turned us and them into these blood-thirsty monsters?
Our anger with the ‘system’ – a word, we use to blame everything on, is boiling over. Our patience is at an all time low. We don’t know who to hold accountable or who to turn to for justice. We are the instant noodles generation – we want results fast.
Everyday, we sit before our television sets, eat our dinner and watch the angry newsreaders roast some hapless victim. We say, “they deserved it, atleast someone gave it to them, if not me.” We feel some justice done. Momentarily, we feel good.
An extension of this blood-baying is what we are witnessing today in the ‘planned’ killing of the four men in Telengana. They were accused, not convicted – I know you will jump at me and say, but they confessed in jail. We all know how confessions are obtained in jail.
And even if they did what they are accused of – it was not for the police to deliver justice. They clearly transgressed. They got carried away in the hyperbole and the fire that’s raging everywhere.
Our courts are not perfect. It takes ages to deliver a verdict. We have a right to be angry. But, our anger is misdirected in this case. Just because a system isn’t working, it doesn’t give us the right to bypass the system. Rather our anger should be such that our elected representatives are forced to correct what ails our ‘system’- our courts and judiciary and the police force – in this case. But that takes time. It is hard work. Who has the patience and the gumption for it? We have to make 9 o’clock news, don’t we?
A candle light march, a Facebook post, a hashtag and now bursting crackers and tying rakhis on policemen make good visuals and give us momentary satisfaction – atleast till the next rape or a murder or both happen again.
Two wrongs don’t make it right, or does it?
No, I am not anti-woman. I am pro-human.