Where do I start…?

Where do I start…?

It’s been a while since I blogged, I know.

Although I’ve been fortunate and have thus far “escaped” Covid, its effects have impacted me more than I expected. Lots of thinking about priorities, and how one should allocate one’s time, and probably a great deal of over-thinking things, has made me shy away from too much news.

For a former news and current affairs junkie, this has been a strange experience.

I no longer watch the news on TV.

I no longer listen to the BBC podcast while out running.

I skim through the morning papers as quickly as I can.

Pathetic? Probably.

Escapist? Probably.

Irresponsible? Quite possibly.

But it is what it is.

I’ve felt the need for a tighter, more personal focus.

And then…

Things happen here in India such that I can’t ignore them any longer, and though I know I’ll get trolled for daring to raise my voice against India, so be it.

The abuse I get whenever I criticise anything in India is nasty and usually liberally sprinkled with requests that I go back home. But today I feel so outraged that I’ll take the inevitable abuse on the chin.

MONDAY 15 AUGUST

India’s Independence Day.

Much fanfare.

Much patriotic waving of flags.

And from the ramparts of the Red Fort, the Indian Prime Minister said, and I quote the Hindustan Times:

Citizens must at all times uphold the dignity of women, Prime Minister Narendra Modi urged in his Independence Day speech on Monday, saying respect for women is an “important pillar for India’s growth”.

“A distortion has crept in our conduct, and we at times insult women. Can we take a pledge to get rid of this from our behaviour and values? It is important that in speech and conduct, we do nothing that lowers the dignity of women,” he said.

There was more of the same.

Fine words, Mr. Modi.

MONDAY 15 AUGUST

11 gang rapists and murderers walk free from jail. In Mr.Modi’s home state of Gujarat.

THE VERY SAME DAY AS THOSE FINE WORDS I JUST SHARED.

Again I will point you in the direction of the Hindustan Times:

The convicts, serving life imprisonment for the gang rape of a pregnant Bilkis Bano and murder of seven of her family members, were freed by the Gujarat government as part of its remission policy.

The men, who were also charged with killing the pregnant Muslim woman’s three-year-old daughter, were welcomed with sweets and garlands outside the jail.

For non-Indian readers, there a couple of facts that must be made clear, however unpleasant they may be.

The rapists and murderers are Hindus.

The victims were all Muslims.

The rapes and murder took place during a religious pogrom in Gujarat while Mr. Modi was the Chief Minister, riots that saw over 1000 people killed.

Mr. Modi is now our Prime Minister.

To say “I have no words” is not a platitude.

I really do have no words.

I am appalled.

As is this were not bad enough, in the same week a court in the southern state of Kerala granted bail to a man accused of sexual harassment, stating that there is no charge if the woman is wearing a sexually provocative outfit.

The court order read, “The photographs produced along with the bail application by the accused would reveal that the defacto complainant herself is wearing a dress which is sexually provocative. So Section 354A will not prima facie stand against the accused. 

The man in question has not one but two sexual harassment charges against him. And what did the court say about the second case?

It said this – it “is highly unbelievable that he will touch the body of the victim fully knowing that she is member of Scheduled Caste”.

Scheduled caste = lower caste, by the way.

So it is the woman’s fault for dressing in a certain way?

How could a man molest someone from a lower caste?

And as for the Gujarati murderers and rapists, well, let’s free them from jail and welcome them with garlands, shall we?

There you have it, dear reader.

The horrors that have forced me to stop being a silent bystander

4 Comments

  1. Tania Kumar

    Such atrocities can only happen in this country.. we seem to be regressing back in time esp in the context of women centric law n order. Not that the economic picture is any better with the Rupee rate at its weakest! As if dealing with the lack of infrastructure and sheer mismanagement esp during the 2nd covid wave wasn’t enough ?

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