Sunday, February 26, 2012

Assault on Women - A Reflection of our Society?

The last few days my mind has been plagued with many thoughts and questions, but sadly there are no answers. The events of sexual assaults against women reported in the media are intensely gruesome and defy logic or explanation. To say the least, it is extremely disturbing to imagine the reality of the nation that we live in.

Are such acts the true reflection of the mindset of our extremely narrow-minded, frustrated, judgmental, and hypocritical society? What makes some men behave the way they do and commit such gruesome acts? Is this part of our 5000 year old culture where acts of intimidation through brute force against women seem to be the accepted norm just like the evil practice of dowry that exists even today? Though there have been many such incidents, what has been shocking are these two cases that have rocked our nation the last few days.

The first was the horrifying ordeal of two teenage school girls who were raped in broad daylight by 15 men. One of the guys threatened to drink poison if she didn't meet him so the girl in a state of panic took her cousin along and went to that designated spot. What followed was sheer trauma for those two helpless schoolkids. They were intercepted by a gang of men, dragged to a field and raped. Hearing the commotion, some men working in the fields nearby came to see what was happening. Instead of saving the girls, they too joined in the act. This was just so shocking that such animals exist in our society and my heart goes out to to those two young girls who had to undergo such trauma at the hands of these beasts. There are so many questions but so few answers as to why such acts happen. Did they deserve to be raped? Absolutely not. Did they ask for it? No. Then why did it occur? Maybe to satisfy some sadistic inner frustration of some men? Or could be some base animal instinct to subjugate and torture the girls? Or maybe a clash of some deep-rooted hypocritical morals that exist in our society? So many questions but barely any answers to find out the cause why this disgusting, shameful incident had to occur.

Then there was this other incident in Kolkata where a 37 year old lady was raped at gun point in a moving car and later dumped. When she went to report the incident, the cops made lewd remarks about her drinking and partying, one of the ministers questioned her character and the honorable CM saw a political conspiracy behind the rape. Ms. CM, you being a woman, what would have won you accolades would have been if you had addressed the issue in the right manner, visited the victim, heard her story and offered heartfelt empathy for the trauma she has undergone, promised all the help and support to nab the accused.

No one was blaming you, Ms. CM. We all know that this act was committed by some mentally sick men and all that we expected from you was support in ensuring speedy justice and punishing the wrong-doers. This was your chance to prove that safety of women in Kolkata was of paramount importance to you and if such acts occur, a quick and strong punishment will be delivered that would serve as a lesson to all men so that they never think of committing such an act ever.

This was also a chance for your administration to prove that women can come forward and report such crimes without fear of undergoing more trauma under the hands of the administration. I salute this lady because her fight is not only for the safety of women in Kolkata but for the nation at large.

I think what has been more disturbing is the mindset and attitude towards the rape victim where she is treated like a criminal for a crime that's been committed against her. So kudos to this brave lady for her courage in taking this fight forward despite the slander against her character and the accusations that have been thrown around. She is divorced with two teenage kids. So what? If someone is a divorcee, does it give men a license to rape her? She frequents pubs and drinks? Isn't this hypocritical? Men can frequent bars and if a woman wants to go out for a drink, she is automatically stereotyped as available. Did she deserve to be raped for visiting a pub? No. And as a friend of mine Serena pointed out, even if she did take a lift from these educated well-to-do men of Kolkata, does it give them the right to rape her at gun point and then dump her? Absolutely not. A rape is still a crime and it is shocking that this crime permeates through all sections of our society.

So question is wherein lies the problem? It's definitely not the woman coz as we have seen irrespective of the clothes a woman wears, her racial profile, looks, or class, she can still be a victim. Isn't the deep-rooted problem with the men who commit such acts of subjugation and terror against women? Who are these men? Why do they go around raping women? What pleasure do they derive from such a cruel act?

We need to delve into the psyche of these men and try to find out why they are the way they are? Is there something wrong with the conditioning of our society where Moms and sisters can be elevated to a goddess status untouched by sex and there lies the other world where every other woman is available in their eyes? Is it a problem with our movies, whether it is the regional movies or Bollywood, eve teasing has always been shown as cool and happening? Do you think the depiction of women in these movies could have led to this mindset? What is wrong with our censor board who approved the display of such violence against women in our movies but shy away from natural acts of love like a simple kiss preferring instead to show the union of two roses or an umbrella appearing from nowhere leaving it to the viewer's imagination.

So many questions but no easy answers. Isn't there an inherent problem in our society as denoted in our movies and lives? Is there some kind of conflict in people's minds that leads to such sexual crimes against women? Don't the laws need to be overhauled and made more stringent so that wrongdoers are given such hefty punishments that will deter others from committing such a crime? There are no words to describe such barbaric acts but don't we need to address these issues before it spreads even further? Any solutions to prevent such crimes and make this world a safer place for all women?

At the time of writing this blog, several other rape cases were reported in the media. A young girl in Noida, a widowed mother of two in West Bengal and several others. Mamata Banerjee continues to blame the opposition CPM for the other three cases reported as well.

Friday, February 3, 2012

What to Tweet, What not to Tweet! Who's the Twitter Police?

Who are all these people telling us what to tweet, what not to tweet? Who appointed them as the Twitter Police? Everyone and anyone is suddenly coming up with an article on the do's n don't of tweeting. I say BS.

If I want to talk about food, I will. I love those umpteen food pics posted by friends, family strangers n all my favorite TLC hosts be it Nigella, Andrew Zimmern, Anthony Bourdain, and so on, I love them all. So who are these Twitter Police to dictate these terms and conditions and tell us not to post such pics? We've never had such rules and why now?

And yes, I do love to hear mundane stuff about people's lives like what they do, where they go, the movies they watch, the books they read, even inane stuff like killing mosquitoes at night. Yes, there are several tweets dedicated to mosquitoes and I love these updates coz it somehow makes them more human and realistic and I can relate and imagine the lives they lead. So when Denise Richards talks about her daughter getting the flu or Liz Hurley and Shane Warne flirt with each other for the umpteenth time on full Twitter view, or Piers Morgan and Lord Sugar have their usual spats, I feel an instant connection to whoever it is out there, whether I know them or not and it's a nice, warm feeling.

When a friend tweets that she's having a fruit salad for lunch, you get a peek into their lives and instantly feel like sharing your lunch though she lives halfway across the world. I love hearing about the challenges they face with their kids, schoolwork et al, the weather in their respective cities, even their daily woes be it work or household stuff; it's just so personal and nice and you feel closer to whoever it is out there. It is interesting to know what they like be it politics, sports, travel, social issues: People's thoughts are always so varied and fascinating that I love hearing their views whether I agree or not. And I've read some of the wittiest and original one-liners on Twitter.

So call it what u may Mr. or Ms. Twitter Police, please get your facts right because there's a whole wide audience out there and the reason why we are on Twitter may not be the same as your's so stop dictating. I personally hate self promotions and marketing tweets but it's upto whoever is posting them and I think it's a great platform which people visit for varied reasons and I respect that. Some may be to sell their wares and promote something, whereas for some of us it's pure entertainment and to connect with the larger world out there. Whatever the reason may be, Twitter is a free world and there are choices you can make as to who you want to follow based on your interests and similarly please respect our choices too however mundane and silly you may find it. Amen!