By Yash Sharma
DURHAM (Ontario): I landed in New Delhi after spending almost a year in Canada and all I hear about is the shocking story of a girl who was gangraped, beaten and then dumped on the roadside to die last month.
Hundreds of people driving by saw this 23-year-old tormented soul lying naked in a pool of blood but none of them had the courage to take a step further and offer her help as she and her male friend bled for hours.
The only mistake the poor girl and her male friend made was to board this ill-fated bus in the heart of the city that was loaded with beasts craving for sexual gratification.
I was bewildered by this inhumane behaviour and spent the rest of my vacation reading about the huge political blame game triggered by this incident.
India may be a nation that boasts one of the fastest growing economies, a fast growing middle class and rising literacy rates. But does the common man see his own motherland as a safe place to live? Well, not anymore. As our country gradually acknowledges a boom in population, safety is becoming a thing of the past.
The number of sexual incidents against women are sky rocketing, but most of these cases are not reported as the victim fears a backlash from society in terms of her reputation. There are umpteen reports of even little girl not being spared. They are raped by brothers, uncles or relatives and sadly most of these victims are terrified to narrate their horrific experience to anyone as they fear the shame it would bring to their family.
The spine-chilling gangrape gave rise to nationwide protests that rightly created a huge political turmoil. The media began nailing the leaders in government who are responsible for the weak system that cannot prevent such unfortunate occurrences. Unfortunately, some spiritual leaders also wanted to be in the spotlight by passing derogatory remarks about women protestors.
What baffled me the most is the government’s frivolous approach to tackling this situation. The police were allowed to target protestors in a violent manner. Amidst all this, some politicians were not shying away from making derogatory remarks about women and when people protested they got away by merely withdrawing their statements.
This behaviour not only reflects the cowardly and misogynistic nature of a typical Indian male but also depicts their inability to steer their own thought process. In terms of how this incident has affected people in Canada, I have a few female colleagues who are now scared to even visit India for their vacation. Is this how we demonstrate our deep- rooted values and respect for the opposite sex to the rest of the world?
I feel every individual of our nation should take a pledge to protect women against these ghastly incidents in the future if we have to have India’s rough image changed. The government should also revise the laws that safeguard women and take immediate steps to expedite the legal process to bring justice to the victim.
The culprits must be made to suffer in front of the entire nation by subjecting them to punishments such as castration or the death penalty – it is the only way fear can be instilled in the minds of these lascivious beasts hiding in the crowd.
Respect women and happiness will follow. I pray for the lost soul.
(Yash Sharma is an international student at Durham College)