A civilisational crisis in India

Amalendu Upadhyaya
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I have said many times that in terms of brutality and barbarianism, we are second to none in the world. We may be a political democracy but socially the roots of democracy are far away from our thoughts and actions. Every day, the trends, the brutality and enormity of violence particularly sexual violence against women is growing and crossing all the limits of a human behavior. This is not an issue of Hindus, Muslims, Christians or anybody else for that matter. The enormity reflects that the society as a whole is suffering from psychological disorder of the highest variety which need to be medicated otherwise it will take the form of an epidemic.

In the last 30 years, I have spoken and written on most of the things that we have faced. Situation remain the same. The information flow has increased. Writing is not our full occupation as we all are doing different kind of work for our daily survival. Many times, you don’t find words to express things which look repeating things. It is not that the things are not serious and should not be spoken about but in these over flow of information with selective outrage and selective leakages, you miss many things. It does not mean that you do not have an opinion on that. It simply means that the issue might have missed.

I do not subscribe to newspapers and magazine. It is perhaps over last one decade. There was a time when I used to subscribe nearly 10-12 papers, subscribed magazines and journals which became a problem. For the last one decade, I reduced the TV too. Rather than watching to rubbish put on us in the prime-time show, I would any day prefer a Kadar Khan- Govinda comedy.

I don’t follow the news except that I subscribe to many of the newspapers on twitter and hence it become the biggest news source for me. Now, that has resulted in my missing many things which do not attract headlines but then I feel this is the cost of something where a majority of things you do not like. I feel that has helped me a lot. It was for the first time since I grew up and perhaps the first time, I watched the elections fully was when Rajiv Gandhi came with a landslide mandate but the real prime time was when Rajiv lost to V P Singh. Now, after nearly 35 years, I did not watch TV or radio, even for a moment to update on ‘election’ results. I felt deeply satisfied otherwise I would have been highly tense.

A couple of days back, twitter was trending about #twinklesharma, a two year old child brutally raped and killed in the most barbaric way in Aligarh and the reason for this gruesome murder was that her parents had loan dispute with a Muslim neighbor who as reported, then kidnapped the little Twinkle, raped her and murdered her.

The Hindutva protagonists are very active whenever an accused in any crime case happens to be Muslim while the same remain quiet or defend the in-defensive when the accused are savarnas. Right from Kathua to Unnao, to numerous cases of violence against Dalit Adivasi women, the sexual violence is often perpetrated by the Savarnas and in many cases by the OBCs to teach the lesson to the people asking for their rights or justice but we never see them atoning or even condemning the act.

A crime is a crime is a crime and criminals of any religion and caste must be severely punished. Your crime does not become severe or lessor just because you happen to be from a particular religion or caste. If people whether ‘liberals’ or Islamic or Hindutvavadis want selective outrage then we do not stand with them.

We would definitely want a categorical statement by the government in this regard. In India, children are the most vulnerable and not only from outsiders but also from inside their families too. It is time, we start looking these issues beyond the narrow confines of not only caste and religion but also nationality.

It brings us back to another important question. A crime must be reported. A crime of heinous nature is normally committed to humiliate the opponent or his families or even his religion. There is no way to defend it whether it is Kathua or Unnao.

Just a few days back one lawmaker from Uttar Pradesh went to meet the rape accused. There is a conspicuous silence on those who were violated in Muzaffarnagar riots in 2013. The brave lawyer who fought for Asifa faced boycott by the lawyer fraternity in Jammu where despite brutality the Hindutva sympathizers took to the street.

Frankly, no Muslim or political party has defended the ghastly crime of Aligarh. It is important for all of us to not to communalise these by asking silly question why are you silent?

Anupam Kher kinds of motormouth have defended numerous acts of violence just under the pretext that when it happens on Hindus none speak. You can’t go on and on repeating these lies in such a thuggish way.

We demand Uttar Pradesh government act speedily, form special squad and also devise a long-term policy for the protection of women in general and children in particular who are more vulnerable than any one else. Equally important is that the cases are tried in fast track court and guilty brought to book. Delays in such cases only perpetuate victim-hood and only create credibility crisis on the institution of judiciary. But these issues are not merely related to law enforcement alone but building up a healthy society through social awakening and ensuring women and children know about their rights and understand fully well what is violence as well as violation.

The unspeakable violence on children must been condemned by all of us without any preconditions. As a society we need to think why are we producing people who perpetuate such violence. This is a serious question and we will have to deal with it in the coming days.

It is time we develop means and ways, attitude, norms in schools, colleges and home to protect our children. The barbaric and brutal violence that little Twinkle went through is a reminder of what kind of society have we become. We need serious pondering and rectifying measures. Just sloganeering and attempting to score some political mileage will not help us overcome our civilisational crisis.

Vidya Bhushan Rawat


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