This is among the few others, one of the most disgusting news of public apathy and crime against woman that I have come to know. A young girl in Guwahati was molested while she was returning from a friend’s party in a bar. Incidents as such happen daily in different parts of India. But this Guwahati incident was different and more ghastly because of how it was executed by the sick molesters. A group of boys were also partying that night in the bar. One of them passed a snide remark on the teenage girl. She complained to the bar management and the boys were thus forced out. They waited for her outside. As the girl left the bar, they grabbed her, molested her, pushed her, slapped her, abused her and ripped her clothes. This all happened on a very busy road, before the public view. Some other people saw this happening. But instead of helping the girl, they joined the molesters and started touching and stripping the girl. At that moment, someone from the group (or outside) made a video of this and uploaded it on youtube. I can’t say what was going on in the minds of those wolves. Maybe they thought that the person filming that incident wouldn’t leak it to the media or internet. They were all smiling with pride in that video. The teenage girl can be seen begging before those men. This kept on doing that until 30 minutes later, police intervened. Nobody was arrested that day. But with all the media frenzy that has been created around this incident, the molesters have been identified and 4 of them have been caught. In total, there were around 20-30 men in that crowd.
These kinds of incidents make me think about the way human brain acts and how can normal human beings act in such animalistic way. Maybe the boys from that bar were drunk but what about the other men outside? Maybe the boys from that bar were angry and wanted revenge but what about the other men outside? Did those men saw this as an opportunity to vent out their repressed sexual desires? Normal people can get very vile when they are acting in anonymity. Being a part of a mob gives a person the necessary anonymity to bring out his repressed animal desires. Also, when a person does something good or bad by himself, he takes the sole responsibility of the pride or guilt associated with his act. When a person is a part of a mob, the guilt is divided among every individual of the group and any single person does not takes himself as much guilty. But this is just one reason why those men acted in that despicable manner.
The kind of society that we generally have in India is highly patriarchal. In most of the rural and semi-urban areas, women are considered inferior to men. The boys are taught from their childhood that they are superior. A girl is taught that she should guard her chastity from her very teen-hood. Infact, every distant aunt and grandma and even the ignorant neighbour woman starts noticing when the girl hits puberty. I have seen that young girls are even scolded if they laugh loudly among a group of strangers or even cousins. Blow by blow, a girl is daily reminded that more than just a person, she (her virginity) is an object of honour for her whole family. If a family loses that honour, the girl is pointed as the culprit. Skimpy clothing, alcohol, pub culture are all taboo in most of the Indian societies. A girl who engages in such activities is considered wrong. People start taking her as easy, someone who is looking for sex everywhere and with everyone. If in case the girl lands in any trouble, the blame is thrown upon her. Instead of blaming the culprits, the society accuses the girl for wilful negligence and ostracizes her. This explains why many girls are brutally murdered by their own family members when they get out of line. This explains why those men didn’t feel even a speck of shame while molesting that teenage girl in Guwahati. She deserved it, they thought. Or atleast it won’t matter to her if we crossed some limits with her.
Today, all of us are sharing the pictures of those culprits on Facebook. Today we are tweeting about this incident, asking the state government to shoot those men and make an example of it. Those men are the mere products of the kind of male chauvinist ideologies that we are harbouring inside our society. We can kill those guilty men (though i am not hooting for that), but such people will keep on coming.
Some of the orthodox ones (you know who) among us will present the solution by curbing the rights of women and her freedom, by locking her inside the doors and trapping her body in a burqa. But such solutions further complicate the situation. First, who are men to say what time a girl should travel, what she should wear, whether she should drink or smoke – this is her life and she has every right to live it her way. Wouldn’t it be better if rather than teaching our girls about how to dress and guard her virginity, we teach our boys from their childhood that girls are equal to them and they should respect their freedom and rights? A just and equal society should be one where every person respects the freedom and right of every other person, irrespective of their gender, race or country.
To bring this,
We need a revolution in our society. We need to bring about a new generation of men and women. We need a revolution in our education system, the way parents bring their children. The idea that a woman’s sexual organs are anything more than what they are meant for is anachronistic and stupid. We should discard those old values and develop new ones. The need of the hour is to base our society on the ideas of science, rationality, freedom and equal human rights for everyone.