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.

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

NCR – Nightmare Capital Region

Do you believe that Mumbai is the worst city as far as traffic jams, water logging and crime is concerned?

Do you think Bangalore is very chaotic in the peak hours of traffic?

Then think again because NCR (The Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon belt) is here to beat both the cities. Gurgaon and Noida were slated to be the upcoming satellite towns which were supposed to elevated the National Capital region to another era of development. A few years down the line and you can hear horrifying stories of people stuck in endless traffic jams, power cuts, muddy water supplies and people frequently robbed off their belongings using brand new methods.

My Own Sob Story

Ever since I have shifted to Delhi from Chennai, my nightmare never seems to end. Chennai was paradise in comparison and I can’t stop being nostalgic. Anyways, on 14 August there was an announcement in my office that the buses would leave at 5 pm instead of their regular 6 pm timings because it was our Independence Day on the next day. I was hopeful that I might reach home on time. Around 4 pm it started raining cats and dogs. It was such a heavy downpour that I was quite sure of the impending doom.

That day I reached home at 12 am.

Yes, you read it right. It took me 7 hours to reach home. In fact for the first 2 hours the bus was not able to move even an inch because of the jam and it took the bus 5 hours to reach the Gurgaon Toll which is a 2 minute drive from my office during happy days. The streets were water clogged and there were vehicles parked in all the wrong places on the narrow roads. Result – Utter chaos.

The Mouse Trap called Udyog Vihar

Udyog Vihar is a huge area in Gurgaon where many Office complexes are situated including mine. Its just on your left as soon as you cross the Toll if you are coming from Dhaula Kuan. The whole area is a trap specially when its raining or during the peak office hours.

I would really like to meet the planner of Udyog Vihar and kick his sorry ass with so much might that his next seven generations are going to reel in pain. The foolish guy designed the whole office complex as if he was designing a residential colony. Narrow lanes and huge offices. Its something like this –

So you can very well imagine what would happen when it rains very heavily and all the narrow roads are water clogged and more than 50 office buses and hundreds of cars wrestle for space to reach the main highway. I could never understand why it was planned like this. Leaving aside people who stay at far away places, if you are living in Gurgaon, it might take you anything between 1-3 hours to reach home in peak time. And all this is happening when Gurgaon is occupied only upto 40% of its capacity. Imagine the plight when it would be 90% occupied!!

The toll is another sob story. If you are fortunate enough to get away from the narrow roads, you can easily waste 15-30 minutes at the toll if you don’t have a tag. Huge snaking rows of vehicles can be seen there even at midnight.

Waterlogging and Delhi

MCD is one department which I fail to understand. Water logging is nothing new in Delhi but this is one department which have been very consistently successful in not providing a solution. Delhites have one

option now – Pray to god that he stops sending rains towards the city. We don’t want them anymore. Let us live in peace.

According to this report, even the water logging near the Prime Minister’s house a day before the Independence Day celebrations could not move MCD in action. They blamed it on Gods and told that its not their fault that there was too much rain in such a small span of time.

The Growth and its disadvantages

India has been developing at a phenomenal rate and the number of people who have the money to buy a car have increased many-fold. Result – According to this report, Delhi already has 51 lakh vehicles on road with 950 vehicles being added daily. I won’t be surprised if one day we won’t have space to walk. What is now required is a robust public transportation system so that people don’t find the need to take out their cars. Its a distant dream but lets not give up hopes.

Water Water everywhere, not a drop to drink

Whenever I ask someone about the problems about living in Noida, the first concern which is raised is – Water availability. I was shocked to see yellow coloured water in one of my friend’s house. People have to store water in their houses because there is no definite water supply available and the water is generally muddy and inadequate by all standards.

Another problem is public transportation. If you are staying in Noida or Gurgaon and you don’t have a car, then you are doomed. There are no public buses or autorikshaws(in Gurgaon) available and all you can depend upon is your local rikshaw wala. The situation is severe specially in Gurgaon.

Solutions anyone?

Electricity and water are two very basic necessities which are the responsibility of the Government authorities but we have to make sure that we are not misusing them. We all know this but sadly, knowing something and implementing something are two different things. Pool vehicles whenever possible and save resources whenever possible.

Three things to be realized –

  • As Spiderman’s uncle said – With great power come great responsibility. The government needs to understand that.
  • The past always has a tricky way of coming back and biting you on the ankle – Zadie Smith.
  • We need to stop multiplying like cockroaches, otherwise there is really no solution which could help us.

And, oh, before I forget in all my frustration. HAPPY INDEPENDENCE DAY!!!! 😀

[All the photos are taken by me while I twirled my fingers stuck in the jam. The diagram is created by me]