But friends have reminded me that sometimes, less is more. Thus, this new post with short and succinct points to highlight the reasons behind the gang rape barbarism and rampant violence against women in India.
I now carefully coin the rape problem as an epidemic given the massive numbers of such incidents and the vast amount of geography they’re impacting. I’m also using the word apartheid because I am positive that is what it is: a nationwide apartheid against the women in India — the half a billion people.
I hope in the coming days, along with the candle light vigils and celebrity poetry and street dramas (no pun intended), we can come up with action plans to eradicate India (the entire subcontinent) of this epidemic and apartheid — once and for all.
I hope in the coming days, we can work together — hand in hand.
I was about to impress on my American friends who have a soft spot for India and its music, food and culture that as soon as the country is able to get rid of its horrible corruption, it will usher in an era of modernity, equality and progress.
Just at that time, the brutal gang rape of a young woman in Delhi followed by many similar, newly reported barbaric acts of violence shook us to the core.
Suddenly, all of us – Indians and Americans – sank to the new low that “modern” India is neither modern nor equal, let alone
corruption-free. We jolted realizing that progress never meant new shopping malls, fashion garments, shoes or food chains, or U.S. and Japan-made cars.
My American friends suddenly began keeping a measured distance from me with a carefully observed silence. Yet, their silence was loud.
I woke up to realize that India and the Indian people wherever they lived – especially men like me – were looked down upon by the
civilized world as uncivilized, violent and untouchable.
I hung my head in shame.
India’s all-pervasive, never-ending violence on women is now exposed as a new apartheid: similar to what the world had seen in South Africa or slave-era America. The only difference is that India’s apartheid is against its women. This is on top of the unspeakable division, disparity and discrimination India has continued along caste, religion or class lines.
Manifestations of this gender apartheid are similar to other horrific violations of human rights. Women are treated as subhuman beings with no dignity, respect or equality. Society takes its women for granted, exploits their talents and labor, and violates their rights.
Few question it. Others deny it. Most ignore it.
Indian entertainment industry exploits women as objects for sale. Bollywood thrives selling machismo, violence and rape.
Priests and far right conservatives blame the Indian woman for speaking up for fairness, dignity and justice: they demand punishment for the non-subservient. India has recently seen “honor killing” too — both in Hindu and Muslim communities.
The recent, exponential surge of rape crimes in the country – encompassing all castes, races, languages and religions – is now also
an epidemic. Symptoms of this epidemic are strikingly similar to any health epidemic India has ever experienced. In fact, in many ways, this epidemic is worse than cholera, small pox or plague because here, even if the victim individual and family do not die, it cripples and devastates them psychologically for the rest of their lives. Moreover, it is not localized in one geographical region. It is urban, and it is rural.
Symptoms of this new epidemic are equally disastrous: the attack is traumatizing and debilitating – often resulting a painful death. Hurt is extreme – both physical and emotional. A surviving victim often sinks into depression and commits suicide out of shame. In feudal-conservative societies like India, people consider constructive discussion of sexual violence a taboo, and shun the victim as outcast. People are fearful to get involved especially if it has connections with police or politics. Most schools do
not allow boys and girls to learn together, or have sex education. I have written before how God Created Indian Men.
In India and similar places, rape criminals, with a very small number of exceptions, are never bought to justice. Poor victims cannot find money or courage to go to the doctor, hospital, police or court. Even the few brave victims who lodge a complaint are often threatened with consequences and pressured to withdraw their cases. Nine out of ten complaints are never resolved.
Thousands of rape and violence cases in India could have been averted had there been a caring and efficient administration; timely intervention (along with vigilance on possible crimes — undercover or not) would promptly apprehend the criminals, delivering justice. That would create a sense of security for the others. Indian administrations have rarely created that sense of security; on countless occasions, the police or political leaders have either committed the crime, or sheltered the perpetrators. Many elected
lawmakers — including parliament and assembly members — have criminal records. Cronyism is a big, profit-making art there.
The silver lining on this dark cloud is that the younger generation is showing signs that it is no more going to accept such a globally-exposed horror and shame. The nationwide protests against the Delhi gang rape were unprecedented in modern Indian history. This is a watershed moment. Grassroots groups and non-governmental organizations working in India and supportive groups around the world can come to seize the moment and make this uprising a nonviolent revolution. International political and economic pressure would create enormous impact.
For me, I am going to tell my American friends to wake up to the height of reality that India is rising to eradicate this epidemic and
apartheid, once and for all. Young India is going to end India’s massive corruption too – through non-violent means.
Finally, a word of caution for those who’re crying blood. Violence is no answer to violence. Death penalty or mob lynching is prehistoric.
Let’s truly usher in a new, modern era of civilization.
Brooklyn, New York