Our Shame

The New Year celebrations in India were dampened by the recent incident at New Delhi. A 23 year girl who was gang raped by 6 men in a moving bus, succumbed to the injuries on the 29th of Dec after a 10 day brave battle. No other crime in the recent past has caused so much of a public reaction and the nation’s capital has witnessed protests of unprecedented scale in the last few days. The protestors had called for a nationwide ‘Bandh’ today, perhaps the first of its kind for a crime. This incident was is not something the world’s biggest democracy would be proud of.

The crime against women has been on the rise steadily and post the Delhi incident, the public, politicians, film stars and other leaders are unanimous on the opinions that there needs to be more severe punishment for sexual offenders. At the moment the nation seems to be divided between gallows and castration for the Delhi crime accused. This demand obviously comes from the logic that the fear of punishment would discourage people from committing such crimes.

But how true is that? Even post the Delhi incident (which attracted so much of attention across the nation), there has been dozens of similar offenses reported every single day. There was even another attempt of rape in a moving bus in Delhi. Considering what happened after the Delhi incident, one would expect a decline in such crimes atleast for a few days or weeks.But that’s not the case; sexual crimes continue to be committed on every single day.

Once the crime is committed, it is easy to label and accuse the criminals and there is a strong judicial system to take care of them. But the real question is – were they not criminals prior to committing this crime? ? The answer is Yes, they were. The potential was with them. But unfortunately there is no way to know of it, unless the crime is actually committed. In fact there are millions and millions of people who carry the potential to commit such a heinous crime, given a chance. Some of them might get a chance (god forbid) while most may not get a chance. These people who carry the potential to commit a crime are actually the nation’s worry than the ones who have actually committed it (which is a very small percentage). They are just waiting for that moment in dark street corners, their own houses, class rooms, trains and every other place imaginable.

Will fear prevent them from doing it? I guess not. Because these crimes are actually done several times in the mind and when the opportunity comes their mind is completely taken over by the impulse.

India was the home for world’s most ancient civilizations and taught the world love and compassion. Contentment is the natural result of love and compassion. Those days and gone now and in this new era of information technology and globalization, greed has taken over the society. Greed is the motivator in a capitalistic country and is always accompanied by a perpetual and insatiable lack and desire. We have moved from a world where people believed one could be perfectly happy without any possessions to a world where one is unhappy even with every possible comfort. And all these potential criminals carry this insatiable need for fulfillment in them, waiting for the right opportunity to satisfy it.

May the victims soul rest rest in peace.


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