In the last few weeks, the country’s attention has been focused on a heinous incident of rape in Delhi. No doubt, not only was it a rape, it was a very gruesome and gory incident which would shock the conscience of any person. However the important p
oint is to consider various aspects of the matter dispassionately and not in the manner in which it has been discussed in the media. First of all, there is a clamour for stronger laws. The law is strong enough. Incidentally, the law against rape was made in British times and for the information of readers, rape was considered a crime in India even before it was considered a crime in England. That law still stands and subject to the evidence people are regularly convicted for rape. The question arises : how effective the police is and that is where the problem lies. What we need is better policing, more honest policing, more accurate collection of evidence and to ensure that conviction is carried out. Instead of that whenever rape occurs, the police are quite lethargic, they don’t record the evidence correctly and by the time the case comes up for hearing after many years, in most cases, the accused goes free. That has to be addressed. The law should not be tinkered with. There is a clamour that death penalty should be given for rape. The world over the death penalty is being abolished even for murder. Where is the question of giving a death penalty for rape? The Government should not even consider this. Yes, imprisonment, there may not be a limit, 4 years or 7 years, life imprisonment, that a judge can see from case to case what the accused deserves, it should be given. That is one. Secondly, it was not only a rape; it was what in Hindi can be called ‘Nanga Naach.’ A bus is there, six people in the bus are assaulting a hapless woman who is being escorted by husband or boy friend and the driver of the bus is going around allowing this to happen. What kind of animal was this driver? What kind of a society is coming up? Who are these people? Is it the result of extra money coming into some people’s hands? We all know social scientists will note that rape itself is not a sexual act, it is not a sexual desire of a person that drives him to rape. Rape is more the denigration of the woman, the showing of power of superiority over women. It is an assault, the ‘impotent’ power of a man to show that he is powerful. A man who is really powerful will not stoop to this level. So who are these people? What are they trying to show? What kind of a society we are building? I think this matter deserves attention from the social reform point of view. Merely making the law more stringent the law is already stringent why is the law not being implemented and why is society still doing all this? And incidentally after this incident happened on 16 December, hundreds more rapes have happened in India. It is not just the one incident, but that one incident has provoked outrage. There is another question which calls for attention. Why has this particular rape become a point of rage among the citizens of Delhi? Who are these people who are angry? After all, this woman was not from their State or society. It is not that a high class woman has been raped. Dalit women are being regularly raped by high class people. What is happening to that? Who is protesting against them? Now this girl’s identity is being kept secret. What is her identity? She comes from a small village in the Ballia district of Uttar Pradesh. Why should her name be hidden? I don’t understand what’s happening in this country. Now somebody is saying that the rape law should be made in her name. I think this is all tokenism. We are not addressing the issue. The issues that we have to address are first to have a more sane society where people don’t lose their temper very quickly, second, women should get protection and the police should be quick and firm and honest and three which is very important is that a society should look into this question as to how women can be empowered. In my opinion the best way to empower a woman is that every school and college going girl should be taught the martial arts of judo and karate to protect themselves. How can a man catch her without her consent? In my mind, touching a woman without her consent is a rape. But our courts are also strange. There are cases where a woman is living with a man. The man has proved that I will marry you and then refuses to marry, people call it rape. She has been willingly living with him for years, how is that rape? Then when one Bombay film producer told her that I will make you a heroine, she now goes to court that he raped me 16 times. How can you rape a person 16 times? On the one hand we are very angry about this incident and on the other hand the incidents which are pure exploitation for financial reason, we call them rape. We must address this question seriously and dispassionately. According to me, the wise people who are social scientists should sit down and I don’t think any amendment in law is required. What is required is better policing. The Bombay Police Commissioner has made a very good statement which I liked. He said, ‘this is a result of Sanskritiheen Shiksha.’ It is education without culture. If we do not imbibe our culture into the educational system and just mindlessly copy the western form of education, this is the result. A man who knows little English, a man who has got a little better job thinks he is King; he can buy everybody including the police. All this must stop.