When victim is the culprit

waveIf you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality. – Bishop Desmond Tutu

So when my eyes fell upon this news article according to which girls in Kanpur have to adhere to certain ‘safety’ measures taken by the colleges to discourage sexual harassment, my first impulse was a bewildered laughter. And what are those ‘safety measures’? Well, its quite simple and basic actually. They can’t wear jeans in colleges anymore. One clean sweep and we have taken a giant stride towards freeing our country of rapists and molesters!

Run! Quick! Cover the girls!

It reminds me of an ostrich, digging a hole and burying his head as soon as he senses danger.

This isn’t something new. Women have always been accused of inviting rapes and harassment because they were wearing ‘provocative’ dresses(how jeans is provocative is something beyond me). And its not just women. Recently, Indians in Australia were told by the authorities that they invited the attacks because they carry laptops and mp3 players openly(this was something not even worth a bewildered laugh from me). And haven’t we blamed the poor for their conditions instead of the socio economic structure and how the rich suck their blood?  So, what is it with us? Why is a victim the culprit?

The Utopia

Since our birth, we are seasoned to look at the world with rose tinted glasses. Good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. God works in black and white, there are no greys. So, when a man is stabbed in a deserted lane, he is accused of inviting trouble by going there in the first place. He must have done something wrong for God to punish him with the lightening of his wrath. Death, rape, robbery, molestation does not happen to people who are good. Who remain in their limits.

Believe me, I know people who supported the recent beating up of girls in a pub in Mangalore. People are living in a fairy land created by God and they will go to any extend to maintain its sanctity. It does not matter to them that they are breaking the very laws which they have created to guard the sanctity. It does not matter to them that they are shielding the thief who stabbed the man.

Aha! A scapegoat!

Incompetency is a huge albatross to carry. Law enforcing agencies are full of incompetent people who are there just to collect money or with people who don’t have a clue about their responsibilities. And too bad if your vote bank is full of religious fanatics. Even if the government try to think about amending the age old laws which were made to curb the freedom of an individual, the fanatics will be at their throats talking about God’s will and the holy shit.

So, what happens when an illiterate housewife named Zafran Bibi goes to the police claiming that she was raped and was pregnant? She is accused of adultery and sentenced to death by stoning. For a rapist to be convicted, the crime has to be confirmed by four male eyewitnesses and the rapist must confess, they said.

Suffering and Happiness

We feel relieved and in control of our lives when we see someone suffer or when we spot a fresh scapegoat. Its a human trait. Nothing to be ashamed of. We feel more close to God.

‘Thank God, It was not me.’, we say. God has blessed me and I must be good. Relieved. Happy. Unscathed.

We forget the fact that the whole society rides on the same wave. There is nothing disjoint here. We all go up together and we all come crashing down together. Its like cancer. You can’t tell your hand that everything is all right when you have a brain tumor.

Good old Fate

Its funny how while explaining the action and its outcome for other people, we tend to emphasise on their psyche but when we find ourselves in that situation, then its all about the situation. Its threatening to our ego to accept our internal failures. Its safe to say that you were at the wrong place at the wrong time. Oh God what did I do? and all that crap!

Well! You were riding the wave and it came crashing down!

When a team wins, its skills and hard work and happiness. When it loses, we burn effigies. Suddenly from being the victims of our over-pressurization, they are now the culprits.

In the End

And so you ask, ‘What about the innocent bystanders?’ But we are in a time of revolution. If you are a bystander, you are not innocent. – Abbie Hoffman

Maybe its easier to blame someone who is weak. Its less trouble. We live happily in Neverland till tragedy is at our doorsteps. We need some sort of a vicarious brain machine to wake us up. We need to live ‘those’ moments which pull you to reality and make you realize that a victim needs the whole helping hand instead of a finger pointing at him.

Maybe we need to realize that the girls in Kanpur need a free distribution of chili powder and Karate classes instead of a ban on wearing jeans.

Maybe we need to realize that stoning a woman to death will not stop the next rape.

Maybe we need to realize that every culprit was once a suppressed victim.

Kalyug’s Ram Sena

Ramayana depicts Ram Sena as an army of monkeys who helped Sri Ram to build a bridge to Sri Lanka and saved Sita from the clutches of Ravan. In Kalyug, Ram Sena means a bunch of illiterate, unemployed and brainwashed monkeys who beat up and molest girls just because, according to them, the girls are not in sync with the “Indian” culture. Well, how times change! 

So, according to the Taliban-inspired-Ram-Sena, women in India are supposed to maintain a certain amount of decorum. But then, if that is the case, all of us should completely abide to the norms set by our culture. If they are forcing girls and boys to disown the “pub” and “mall” culture, then they should make sure that the following are followed too:

  • Girls should only wear saree or salwaar-kameez. All the girls wearing jeans, skirts or pants should be beaten up. 
  • Boys should only wear Kurta or other regional dresses. Jeans and other western dresses should not be allowed.
  • Girls should not work and sit at home and learn the various household activities. 
  • Love marriages should not be allowed. Only parents should have the right to choose the spouse for their kids.
  • All the pubs in the country should be closed down.
  • All the shops selling foreign attires and goods should be closed or burned down.
  • All the malls should be closed down.
  • All the couples roaming around in public areas should be harassed and beaten up.
  • Girls should not move out of their homes alone. They should always be accompanied by an elder male member.

I am sure, the brainwashed Sena will be jumping with excitement to implement all the above mentioned points. Although, there are a few questions I would love to ask them:

  1. How many of the Ram Sainiks don’t drink liquor themselves? Is it only girls who are not supposed to drink? Its ok if guys drink and indulge in all kind of inappropriate activities?
  2. How many of the Ram Sainiks have not molested girls or eve-teased them? After what we all saw on television, it can be easily concluded that they were quite dexterous and I won’t be surprised if they would have practiced using Mannequins.
  3. How many of the Ram Sainiks have beaten up a gang of boys eveteasing a girl, or a man beating up his wife, or a police officer taking a bribe? Of course, they won’t do all these measly tasks when they have more interesting tasks like beating up girls.
  4. How many of the Ram Sainiks don’t have girlfriends and don’t roam around with girls? Are all of them Hanuman Bhakts and have taken an oath of staying unmarried for their entire life? I think “Perverts” and “Hypocrites” will be small words for them.
  5. Do the Ram Sainiks realise that this is a Democracy and people who visit pubs are above 18 years of age and all capable of understanding the Indian Culture by themselves? When something has to be banned, it is the government which will decide that and not a bunch of uneducated, rustic and directionless men who are a part of an organization which is used by politicians during elections for various illegal activities.
  6. Do the Ram Sainiks realize that there is a difference between India and Afganistan and they are turning the former into the latter? Should I be glad that they didn’t stone the girls to death instead of beating them up?

India is full of such Hypocrite people who can be mislead and do anything for money. What happened in Mangalore was a shameful act which just goes to show what a bunch of illiterate people we are. And, then we go ahead and belittle movies like Slumdog Millionare which show the reality to the world. If you can’t digest that, then too bad!!

I was going through a few articles on the internet about what happened in Mangalore, and here are a few gems :

  • “We acted like brothers. There is no need to apologize for an act done with good intention.” – Prasad Attavar, state convener, Sri Rama Sena. [[Oh!! That is how brothers behave! Slap, shove and punch sisters?? Guess, I have to revisit my basics.]]
  • “Drinking by women is not Indian culture. It’ll morally degrade our society. Women are our mothers and they should behave like that” – Prasad Attavar, state convener, Sri Rama Sena. Full story here. [[What about drinking by men?? Care to comment on that sir?? And that is how we treat our mothers??]]
  • ” Women have to be protected as the law has failed. Parents are worried about their wards going astray in materialistic pursuits. We are the custodians of Indian culture” – Sri Ram Sena (SRS) founder Pramod Mutalik. Full story here. [[Which law has failed if a woman is drinking in a pub?? Do we have laws for that too??]]
  • “There is no need to raise such a hue and cry about the incident.” – Sri Ram Sena (SRS) founder Pramod Mutalik. [[Yes! No one was raped or killed. Everyone is alive.]]
  • “The Karnataka government will not allow pub culture to grow in the state. “ – Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa. Full story here. [[And what about the culture where men beat up women? Care to stop that?]]

I am disgusted, ashamed and sick by the mere thought that I am breathing the same air as these people. I am sorry to call such people my countrymen. I am sorry to be a part of a nation where people take pride in killing their daughters if they fall in love with a guy outside their community, where people rape nuns and where people beat up a girl because she is sitting in a pub. Of course, you can argue that we are better off than Afganistan. But, don’t worry. We are getting there.

Here is a video of the brotherly love. The images might be disturbing.

Mumbai Attacks : The week that was

It has been a week now since the ruthless attacks. Public anger has never been so omnipresent and neither have our politicians come under such a heavy scrutiny(no wonder they have been royally goofing up and giving tactless statements which is doing nothing less than fuelling the fire). Targeting foreign nationals in the attacks was one foolish move by the terrorists because the whole world is now upon them like red ants. Statements which included words like “Stateless actors” which intended on shrugging off the responsibilities were not bought by anyone and laughed at. Incidences like a movie director taking a walk in the burnt down Taj were blown out of proportion by the media while the public gulped the news in disbelief(Sometimes the media do comes handy).

THE GREAT INDIAN FUMBLE

It had been a week of revelations. A coup de theatre beyond an equal. Two days into the ghastly event and three statements made by our politicians were elemental in converting the tide into a tsunami. 
R.R Patil made a juvenile statement about the incident being a “small one” and dug the grave of his political career. 
BJP Vice President Abbas Naqvi puddled in troubled waters when he made the “women wearing powder and lipstick and burning candles” remark. The audacity of it was that he himself was wearing a coat while he defamed the Indians for aping the west and its an entirely different story that he was asked to comment on something else.  
The icing on the cake came from Kerela’s CM V.S. Achuthanandan who ended up making a statement which could be considered the worst insult someone can inflict on a martyr’s family. Of course, a lot of pressure went into making him apologize but the harm was already done. Sample this:

mumbai

On the other hand, the attacks opened up the Pandora’s box and everyone from the Intelligence Agencies to the Maharashtra Government and the Center turned a beetroot red. Our PM mumbled a few inaudible statements about setting up a federal spy agency and creating four NSG hubs while the nation came in terms with the fact that the Navy and the Coast Guard ignored the intercept from RAW that these attacks were expected, that the intelligence agencies had informed a year ago that such an attack was in the pipeline and that the U.S. informed India twice about the upcoming sea attack on Mumbai. The Government gave a jaw dropping performance making the citizens realize that their lives really don’t matter. The word politician ended up becoming a swear word and the nation realized that human life was the cheapest commodity in our country.
The way the whole operation was handled also came under the scanner. A minister taking 90 minutes to respond to such a critical situation, the NSG commandos transported from airport in BEST buses and shoved in the 1500 room Taj without any night vision equipment knowing very well that there was no electricity in the hotel and policemen wearing outdated bullet proof jackets was something which the common man was not ready to watch on live television. The crudity of it all was hard hitting.

THE REACTIONS

Israel offered help but India denied it without a second thought. Pakistan Government and media were busy vehemently denying any connection with the attacks. It was not surprising that Pakistan rejected the list sent by India stating that they wanted more proofs. I am sure that even if we dance in front of them with proof in our hands, they will even go to the extend of putting hot rods in their eyes to ignore us. The main accused of the 1993 blasts is still to be handed to us, even after ample proof of his involvement and whereabouts in his plush bungalow in Pakistan, so we can expect some action on this recent event in another 20 years. Ofcourse, there were some sane people who understood the gravity of the situation. You can read three very balanced articles by eminent Pakistani columnists here.

Although people have been dying left right and center in India since ages, the whole world suddenly woke up to the fact because this time the target were foreign nationals too. Atleast 26 of them lost their lives and although Delhi, Jaipur and Ahmadabad had gone through such similar attacks this year, the repercussion which the Mumbai attacks created were something else. Its good in many ways because this time, the “Rice” boiled with a lot of pressure over Pakistan. Lets just hope that the pressure mounts instead of subsiding.

WE THE PEOPLE

I don’t think India has seen such massive reaction from the citizens since a long time. People flooded the roads and the media projected the anger beautifully. For the first time I thought that they were doing something constructive, no matter how melodramatically. Its not just that we are condemning Pakistan(maybe we are too tired to do that now, because its of no use), but this time we were questioning our own security system. I just saw an operation done by a news channel where they were checking the security at one of the Delhi Railway Stations. Nothing has been done and its as vulnerable as it was earlier and that too when there have been reports that Delhi is the next target. A similar operation was done in Mumbai and the policemen were caught napping as a revolver was taken inside the railway station.

We have been pointing fingers at the politicians about being irresponsible but how much cliched it might sound, we have to be the change we want to see. We, as citizens of this nation, are also irresponsible at the grassroot level. Leave alone taking responsibilities about important issues, how many of us don’t bribe traffic police officers, litter of the road, do illegal constructions and break traffic rules? Did we succeed as a generation who considers themselves as Indians first and then something else? Isn’t it ironical that we need a tragedy of such humongous scale to unite us? Oscillating the Government from BJP to Congress and back to BJP is not going to play the trick and we all know that. Both the parties have an equally bad track record. Its the “people” of this nation who have to change, and those “people” include the “politicians” and “all of us”. 

Lets not become this guy who spit all his venom on a Jet air-hostess. Generalizing and putting a whole community in a box is the last thing which we should indulge in right now. Hats off to all those who stood up and actually did something to help the victims. I know one of them and you can find her here

FINALLY

Even though India has a go ahead for the air attacks in case the Pakistan Government fails to raise the terrorist camps to the ground, I am not sure if the Indian Government might actually take the step. I hope we don’t forget this incidence like so many other and our Government take the necessary steps without wasting ages to ponder over them. We don’t have that liberty left and it definitely doesn’t work when we end up being called “a known softie”.

Some interesting reads:

Dear Mr. Terrorist

Reflecting on Mumbai

For Heroes of Mumbai, Terror was a call to action

[photograph courtesy Times of India]

Delhi Bomb Blasts – A pigeon’s view

Hi. My name is Sherley. I am a pigeon and I have been born and brought up in a place called Delhi. I can speak and read English, just like Dory in Finding Nemo. I have known Amit from the last two months. I come to eat grains on his terrace where his mom put the grains every morning. We have been friends since then. He tells me about his life and I tell him about mine(although there isn’t much to tell from my side except my affairs).

Yesterday I was flying over a place which they called Connaught Place. It was a beautiful place with lights, fountains and smiling people enjoying themselves. Suddenly there was a blinding flash of light(which Amit termed as a bomb blast later, although I am still not sure how they do that) and everything turned dark. People were running here and there. There was chaos. People were dying. I sat on a building watching the scene below and trying to understand what was happening. I heard someone say that there were more blasts. More blood. More people died.

My mind was in a whirlpool. I asked Amit about it the next day. He was very angry. He told me that all this was happening for a piece of land. He said that we should give back that wretched land which has taken so many lives and ask all the terrorists to fu*k off.

“Will people stop dying then?”, I asked him.

“It’s not that easy. Even if India separates from that chunk, other people will start demanding for their separate lands and then we will be having terrorists from some other places killing people who don’t give a shit about all this. People who just want to live happily with their families, buy groceries, get married and have kids.”, he said.

He told me that humans can’t live in an Utopian society. It won’t work. He asked me if I was able to understand what he was saying. I told him very frankly that none of this made much sense to me. We fight only for females. If a pigeon has made a nest on a tree, no other pigeon will come and kill him to occupy that nest. True that cats kill us, but they are a different specie and we are their food. They don’t kill us for fun.

They say that 30 people died yesterday. People who were just out there buying something or having a good time with their family. Amit was not smiling no matter how good a joke I told him to cheer him up. He asked me to leave him alone for some time. I asked him to take care and flew to a high branch. As I saw the crowd of humans below, I was fascinated by their lifestyle. They have made such great inventions. They have cars, TV, medicines, mobiles, movies, aeroplanes, rockets and so many other things which my species cannot even think of conceptualising. But then what is the point of having all this when you can’t trust your own species. A pigeon lives in the fear that a cat might kill him. A human lives in the fear that another human might kill him. Isn’t that a pity?

Amit once told me that he could never understand why God took away the Dinosaurs. He said that they were more intelligent than humans. I think he is right because from what I saw yesterday, I think even a mosquito is more intelligent. Too much of a brain is a bad thing, I guess. It allows you to divide all that which does not need division. It allows you to create all that which should have never been created. It allows you to be turned into someone who should never have existed.

Thank God I am a pigeon. A “stupid” bird who just eats, sleeps, have sex and bring up their kids. A very boring life by human standards. *chuckles*

Now off I go to fly high in the free sky.

The Indian Olympic Medal Dream

Humans have a very peculiar habit of jumping into two things – Beds and Conclusions. Although this post has nothing to do with the former tendency but the latter is quite flustering specially when it comes from sane earthlings.

Every Olympic ends up brimming the hopes of all the Indians to the hilt. Funnily it reminds me of the poor Indian farmers during the British Raj ( wait..I think they still exist) who used to look at the skies for a few godsend drops of water for their lands. We look at our troop of soldiers(read players) with beseeching eyes in a similar way. We want them to bring Gold medals. Each one of them. Even if they don’t match the skyrocketing world standards of sports or even if they have been battered and bruised by the red tape. We still need the proverbial medal. And God forbid, if they fail ( which they do without failing), we tear them apart like hungry vultures.

What chafes me to no ends is the illogical comparisons with US of A and China. USA has a total of more than 2400 medals till date while India has not even mustered half a century even though India has 17% of the Earth’s population to its disposal.

Can there be a more vague and obscure argument? Can we get anymore foolishly funny?

Why Can’t we face it?

India is a developing nation. According to a 2008 estimation, the Indian population stands at a staggering 1,132,446,000. Out of that 27.5% of the population is living below poverty line. The adult literacy rate is 61.3%. India has the highest rate of malnutrition among children under the age of three as compared to the other countries ( It was 46% in 2007). According to the NSSO survey in 2000, 10% of the population at that time( around 106 million people) were unemployed. A 2007 report by the state-run National Commission for Enterprises in the Unorganised Sector (NCEUS) found that 65% of Indians, or 750 million people, lived on less than 20 rupees per day.

A developing nation has many burning issues to resolve before it can think of accumulating medals in an international sports event and compete with developed nations. In a developing nation like India, people still worry about their next meal and think twice before dishing out the next 10 Rupees note. India is not all about towns and cities. A huge percentage(72.22%) of Indian population lives in villages. Most of the people there won’t even know what Olympics is.

India has many hurdles to cross, to at least provide the population with a decent lifestyle. When a person does not have to worry about his family’s next meal, then he can think of an Olympic medal. And, yes, there is another side of the coin too.

The Indian Mentality towards a sports culture

If we consider an average middle class Indian family, how many of us have the courage to encourage our children into sports? We all have a certain mentality that life as a sportsman would be nothing else but a life wasted. And are we wrong? The government does not provide any sort of infrastructure to encourage sports. If you go and see the conditions of Government schools in India, you will be shocked by the condition of some of them. It would be a miracle if children find proper classrooms, leave aside a playground with all the facilities. Even in an average Public School, you can’t even dream of a swimming pool and horse riding facilities.

Even after jumping over all these barriers(whether it may be because of parent’s inclination or the child’s stubbornness), if someone is able to meet up to the international standards, the red tape kills the talent. All of us have heard of innumerable stories of sportsmen dying in penury and not receiving any help from government agencies despite their contribution towards sports. Which parents would allow their children to jump into such a profession?

With all due respect to Abhinav Bindra’s talent, he had a family support system behind him which provided him ample facilities and encouragement to excel in his chosen sport. I wonder what would have happened to him if he would have belonged to a middle class family with a pressure of becoming an Engineer on his head?

And then we compare our sportsmen with those belonging to nations where sports is a profession as common and successful as Medicine or Engineering, where children get all the facilities from the very beginning and they are groomed in the line of their interest from the inception of that interest. How fair is that?

Only a rocket can take you to the Moon

According to this very interesting report, India is not able to perform in the Olympics due to Low Social mobility. If the people of a nation are better informed, they perform better. It also cites an example of a rich nation which started performing well after the radio connectivity grew.

So, essentially, if we want to reach the moon, we have to build a rocket. If we want loads of medals, we need to put loads of efforts into other areas too.

  • The government needs to provide facilities and encouragement to upcoming sportsmen.
  • We have to encourage our children to choose a sport of their liking and excel in that.
  • Children have to be provided facilities from the elementary levels.
  • Sports should be a proper subject and not just a filler in-between other subjects.

As the nation will develop, the awareness will grow automatically. There are examples of many nations about how to go for it. We have a sports ministry. Don’t we?

Lets not look at the reflection of the moon in the water and cry for it. Lets make a rocket. And if we can’t then lets just shut up.

Related Interesting Reads

Here are a few links which I found very interesting and would like to share –

More than two sides to this coin by Pr3rna

Priorities by Ish

Thinking about Abhinav Bindra not just India’s gold medal by Nita