Tag: Delhi gang rape

Spread A Message

The Delhi gang rape incident is still fresh in the minds of many. An intolerable mix of anger and helplessness is how I remember the incident.

A few days after that angel from the Delhi gang rape succumbed to her injuries, a friend informed me about a peace protest that was taking place here in Bombay. I was caught up with some work and was unable to make it. Regretting not being able to participate, I then thought I’d try something else to protest, to convey the message that a lot of Delhiites were trying to convey in the mind-numbing winter cold, and for days on end. Here’s what I came up with. These are posters that I made that night, and that were on my car for almost a month since, before my family asked me to take them off because they didn’t like the attention the car got when they were traveling with me.

Make India safe for women

Teach your sons to behave
Respect women

Sure it was initially very, very awkward, with people staring at my car. But the cause and the purpose of it overshadowed the uncomfortable feeling quickly. And while I was doing what anyone at the peace-protest was, this way I could  protest for longer, and I got to cover more geographical area while driving around town.

Now, this brings me to another thought. Most of the heinous crimes are usually committed by illiterate men, but instances of household violence, eve-teasing and harassment at work, etc. tend to come from the literate, well-read and even the rich and famous. And if just posters could reform anyone, the world would have already been a lot better than it is. So, what I hoped to achieve by keeping the posters on long enough, was to have connected with like-minded people whom I could work with to find a workable solution to make India safe for women.

Now, with the posters gone, I’m essentially back at the drawing board with regard to figuring out a solution, but here are a few of the encouraging responses I got while the posters were still on:

  • I was at a company’s office on invitation, to address their team on strategy. While driving out of their office building, the security guard there asked me what the posters conveyed; he then appreciated the messages and said I was doing a good thing
  • An employee at a very popular cafe, who was helping me park outside the cafe into a tight parking spot, was thrilled on reading the messages. He shook my hand vigorously while praising the messages with a ‘you’re doing the right thing’ look. I gulped at the unexpected but encouraging reaction, as I thanked him
  • A girl sitting in an adjoining taxi while I was waiting at a signal light looked pleased. She instantly sat up in her seat, almost magically pulled out a camera and took a snap
  • This one took the cake. I was stuck in peak traffic at a place where 7 roads merged at a circle  (with no signals functioning). I noticed a car zip from behind me to my right, dodge a car or two and manage to line up on my side. The driver pulled down the window, honked to draw my attention, pointed to the posters and gave me an encouraging ‘thumbs up’, before vanishing into the sea of traffic

People still care. We all care a lot about such a cause. Everyone cares about their wives, sisters, daughters and mothers. All we need, is to take some time, work together, to find a solution, and to implement it. We have to do it. No one else will.

If you feel you have workable ideas or suggestions to make our country (and other countries) safer, I’d love to hear from you. It’ll be even better if we could discuss (over coffee, via email or any which way that works for you) and see if we can come up with a workable & easily replicable solution. You can reach me at shrutinshetty@gmail.com, or on Twitter @shrutinshetty.

I’ll leave you with this beautiful and touching sand art by Hari Krishna in memory of the Angel who was the victim of the Delhi gang rape.

The Different Same

On October 31, 1984, a lady was assassinated by 2 men from the Sikh community. What ensued was over 3000 Sikhs being massacred by a crazed people, in a span of under 4 days. Think about it, under 4 days, 3000+ innocent Sikhs were killed, because 2 “other” Sikhs killed that lady.

And what about justice? 49 of the rioters were sentenced to life imprisonment, and 3 were sentenced to over 10 years. But it would have taken way over 52 people to burn and kill over 3000 Sikhs, no? But that was justice then.

Fast forward to today, and one innocent girl was brutally raped and murdered in the most unimaginably gruesome way by 6 of the most degenerate and sickest forms of life on the planet. And yet, 1 week has passed since, and the Indian legal system is actually going by the law. It is considering putting the under-18 criminal before a Juvenile Board, instead of trying and punishing him like the rest of the 5 criminals. It is taking great efforts in the form of visits to his school, as well as putting him through tests to ascertain his age.

Yet, were there many people who cried when that lady in 1984 was killed? Were there so many people across the country who amassed for peace protests then, to regret the state of affairs, and to bring about a change? I don’t think so. I am not comparing two murders here. Both were horrible incidents that should never have taken place. What I am comparing, however, is the aftermath and the role of the judicial system, in both murders.

Why is killing of 3000+ innocent lives justified in retaliation for the murder of one particular lady, and with regard to murder of the second, the Indian legal system, as usual, with thumbs up their butts, is flipping through big law books, and referencing every possible associated law with everything from tests to ascertain the juvenile criminal’s age, to listening to the criminal’s requests to turn into state witnesses in hope for a lesser punishment?

Is the life of one lady any lesser than the other?

So why does the legal system have two sets of laws and principles, one for the powerful, and the other for the masses? The legal system seems to be reflecting the character of the current breed of politicians in such matters.

After the famous Japanese 3 wise monkeys (see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil), the political system in India seems to have become a fourth type of monkey, one that’s got only its own ass covered.

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