Friday, December 28, 2012

Lets show some maturity today India….we owe the victim that much

The poor rape victim in Delhi, the braveheart, is dead. She fought a valiant battle, but her injuries were just too many. The brutes who assaulted her will have to pay for this. The case has suddenly changed from rape-and-assault to rape-and-murder. The death penalty is a near certainty. Today, there is extreme provocation for the people of Delhi; and for the people of India. How we behave is now on test.

If it is of any help, we must remember that the entire political class is on our side on this issue. All politicians – ranging from the Congress to the BJP to the Left to the regional parties – have expressed their extreme anger at the perpetrators of the crime and have repeatedly re-assured the people that they will make changes in the laws, in the policing set-up and the dispensation of justice. Save for a few, who I would like to think of as aberrations, most political leaders have behaved fairly and maturely for a change.

Unfortunately the same cannot be said of our TV channels. Especially a few amongst them, who have handled the issue without requisite sensitivity – sensationalizing the matter, blowing up unnecessary controversies, not being mindful of timing in covering certain aspects, and failing to manage the emotions of the crowds. Today, as the poor girl’s body comes back to India, our TV channels will face severe provocation. Provocation not from the girl’s death, but from the competitive nature of their business and the pressure of TRPs. We have seen in the past that TV channels see these developments as opportunities to increase viewership and monies; rather than opportunities to prove their worth. The biggest anchors will be out all day today. My fingers will remain crossed in the hope that they behave maturely; shun sensationalism for just this one moment; and focus rather on maintaining calm. If ever the TV channels had a chance to prove that they could be responsible, it is today. If there ever was one chance for TV channels to show how they can positively make an impact, it is today. What the TV channels do will decide whether there is violence and mayhem or peace and calm.

For peace and calm is what is likely to be at risk today. Especially in Delhi. The people are bound to be angry as they should be. The emotions are bound to run high, as they usually do. In a situation like this, it is not difficult to imagine how a few stray, anti-social elements of society can wreak havoc on the city’s life. If the public feels for the girl – as I no doubt think it does – it will maintain peace. And commit to keep the focus on the issue without letting it spin into a different direction.

The Delhi police has as expected shut off large parts of Delhi – especially India Gate and the vistas around it. This should not serve as a provocation by itself. This does not mean that they are stopping us from our right to protest. As mature, responsible people, we have to remember that there is a time for protesting, and there is a time for just mourning. Right now, the time is for mourning. The time is for keeping an arm around the girl’s family. Right now, we should only be thinking of what the girl’s family would want. The girl’s father – in spite of grave anger and shock – has always urged that peace be maintained. Unfortunately, early TV reports this morning – and guests who are being interviewed – are already starting to make this an issue.

We must also commit to keeping the issue apolitical. Some political parties will try to exploit this issue. The recent statements made by a few irresponsible politicians are bound to boom in our minds today. Yesterday, one TV channel ran the headline “Politicians shame India” after a few politicians have behaved like asses in the recent past. But I like to look at these idiots as aberrations. We cannot and should not generalize from these aberrations. Such aberrations exist in all parties – the Abhijit Mukherjees in the Congress, the Madhya Pradesh leader of the BJP (whose nephew raped a girl inside the party office), the Kakoli Dastedar’s of the TMC and the Anisur Rahman’s of the Left – are just aberrations. These aberrations don’t define the politics of the country. Each party has its leaders, its policies and a desire to serve the nation. Blindly attacking politicians – especially today under trying circumstances – will be just the wrong thing to do.

The biggest tribute we can pay to the victim is to make sure that we don’t let this opportunity to make changes pass. What we must do is put the political class on notice. The PM and Sonia Gandhi have given time-bound commitments to bring about reforms in laws which govern women’s issues. We have to make sure they adhere to these timelines. We also have to make sure we never forget the incident, as we do so many others. Our TV channels have to keep the focus alive, not jump to the next topic; our newspapers must make it their mission to ensure that changes are brought about.

The real truth is that today is a test for all of us. How we behave will demonstrate how mature we are as a society; how responsible we can be. If we indulge in violence, it will be the worst way of remembering the victim. If we however make this as a demonstration of our silent but firm resolve to get the changes done, we will prove just how strong we are as a nation….

1 comment:

  1. its time we equip and train women on self defense and tell the MALE member of the family to respect every women