On the night of 12th of July, 2012, the city of Guwahati was jolted out of its idyllic reverie. An unsuspecting and helpless student of Class 11 was divested of all her dignity by a rambunctious group of nearly 20 men, who for the want of a better word, can only be described as Neanderthals. For thirty terrible and tortuously long minutes, the hapless girl was harassed, harangued and hounded by the unsympathetic and inhuman gang. A multitude of savage, sickening and sullied hands, grabbed, groped and got at the utterly defenceless and subjugated victim. After the mob had had their fill, what they had left behind as a shameful residue was a veritable detritus of shame, ignominy and incredulity.
What was most incredible about the shameful and nauseating episode was the filming of the despicable act by an amateurish camera. In an exhibition of almost nihilistic voyeurism, the gawking, gaping and grinning faces and ugly contours of the assaulters’ was captured on film even while the object of the heinous vilification was being traumatized to no end. The non-existent law and order was forced to act or rather react only after the macabre video went viral and at the time of writing, only three arrests have been made. I have deliberately refrained from scouring for and making a reference to the link containing the video as in my personal opinion, the greatest service one can do as a responsible citizen would be to desist from watching the same. However the cops of course need to have a good like at the same and ensure that the monstrous maniacs are apprehended post haste! Following this abominable incident, the nation expressed its collective outrage by venting their fury, frustration and force on various social media networks. However mere expression of affront or anger, although depicting the feelings of hurt, would not aid and abet in brining to end atrocities of this nature. Where the cause is systemic, the consequence would only be systematic.
This incident viewed in conjunction with a myriad others wherein the subject matter of crime has been a woman clearly depicts the inglorious tumble which socio-cultural values have taken in what is touted as the world’s most populous and oldest democracy. Diktats are issued by old and illiterate bandicoots for snuffing away the lives of many an innocuous woman (here in morbid sense of equality, men are not spared either), rapes and molestation abound as the feminine gender is viewed as a mere means to satiate carnal urges and lustful emotions. Even children of a tender age are not spared. At times even the protectors themselves turn perpetrators! A classic example being the hooligans in khakhi of the likes of the repulsive ACP Dhoble and his revolting cronies! A living, breathing illustration of the adage wherein the protective fence pillories the grass!
If crimes such as these ought to be prevented there ought to be a strong deterrent mechanism rather than a post-mortem grievance redressing means. The law dealing with such vicious crimes need to be made extremely stringent and extraordinarily efficient. We still follow an Indian Penal Code, parts of which are draconian and anti-diluviun. For example even though the Act provides for a stern punishment in the form of an imprisonment for life or for 7 years, in all those cases where a person has been engaged in rape, hardly any convictions are made and on the contrary, the victim is made to suffer untold misery and unabated agony by going through a whole rigmarole and maze of procedures. The insult and humiliation is further compounded as prosecutors seek to obtain ‘evidence’ of the actual crime.
Crimes relating to bodily abuse are those which are perennially scarring. Although the bodily hurt might over a period of time heal completely, the mental trauma is one which can never be obliterated. And in a country such as ours, the social stigma associated with such an experience is one which is more than sufficient to tarnish the mind and mental makeover of an innocent victim for life.
A country that does not respect the dignity of a woman can never hope to attain socio-cultural prosperity. A mass which treats a woman as a mere child bearing machine and as a race deemed to be subservient to the clamours and calls of her male counterpart is a collection of crass creatures. We can only hope (against all hopes) that this Guwahati howler acts as an eye-opener for the administration and that this act paradoxically paves the way for ushering in a set of preventive and deterrent reforms leading to a woman being accorded her rightful place in society. If that does not happen then we as a nation are doomed, and our values deserving only to wallow in the gutters and sewers and animalistic crime.