What I want to do is, to go about changing the mindsets, the culture and the general outlook of the society in independent India. There are thousand of "I"s right now. Nearly more than half of us will die out in a few weeks' or months' time. Some of us will not and will go ahead and do whatever they can, to bring about changes at small or big levels.
What our peoples need is a stolid change in outlook, mindset and culture, such that it encompasses the issues of female foeticide/infanticide, sexism or gender discrimination, illiteracy and the general disrespect towards women portrayed now and again in forms of assaults and rapes. Such a change cannot be brought about in one day, one month or even one year. But the conception can. The beginning can begin. It can be kindled. And begin we must.
There are so many factors involved in such a horrible event, one may say. We can (and should) blame the political systems for the slow, cumbersome, unfair and almost unjust methods they employ for handling such catastrophes. We can and should blame them for improper barricading, etc. But, what still baffles me, still perplexes me, is the psyche of the rapist. The man. Always the man. I cannot speak of any other country as well as I can of my own. I cannot fully represent the people for mine is a diverse homeland. Even then, I sure can understand some and most part of their mindsets and attempt to understand the rest. When it comes to the psyche of the rapist, leaving the politics out, for some time (although they play a major role in perpetration of any such crime), what is it that drives them to commit such an act? I'm going to read up on this but till then, let me put my own thoughts down.
Indeed, the disrespect towards women. Them being considered as commodities slash objects of utilization--tools. Each to their own. The condescension. Such an outlook towards women ingrained so firmly that it's anything but normal. It's something that grows in the minds of these men along with the growing skin on their bodies. It's cemented. It keeps solidifying. By the time they reach an age where they're free and desirous, they're the unrestrained kings in their worlds. To such men, any woman, irrespective of her clothing and bearing, is that very same commodity. Resistance at this stage only fuels rebellion in such men. It's simply too late. Irrespective of them having mothers and sisters, they're savages on the loose to feed themselves. Such an outlook like I said, is a product of their upbringing, direct or indirect. Therefore, the development of such an outlook can be prevented, only during their upbringing, right from the very germinal stages. For that, all of us are responsible. All of us can play a role.
You imbibe what you are exposed to and comfortable with, since immaturity. You tend to reject that which you think doesn't favour you and tend to accept that which seems to favour you. There is no right and wrong at that point. Such men have seen women as slightly more than their cows. Docile, useful-serving some purpose. They've known their women to bathe them, cook for them, look after them, most of the times without ever retaliating, without ever refusing. Such men have known women to be objects catered to men, no objection involved. When such men then, are inserted into normal--liberal(?!)--societies, in metro cities, amongst men and women who respect women, I don't think that such men will suddenly then change their outlook and go about respecting women. It's just not in them! Even if perhaps they were taught to do so, they were never shown it practically. Such men then, are the rapists. What do they care about who the victim is or what her place is in life?! What do they care? What does it matter to such men then, what the victim wears or looks like?
Such men and their outlooks. Their basic definitions of women. Those are some of the things which also need as much revamping as do our judicial systems. No man can ever consider a woman as an object of utilization. Never. To make that happen then, the education needs to begin at germinal levels again. And by education I imply way of life. These men need to know, to realize, that women are capable of refusing and retaliating. That they have their own wills and the right to exercise them. That they are more than their cows whose milk they drink and whose flesh they eat, as they please to. This realization can be brought forth by visualization of the woman's might since early stages. It springs from little things. As little as refusal to cook food the day she desires to. As little as desire to work or not work for a living. As little as bashing the male child when need be. In as simple and doable these things may sound to most of us, they're not in practice in thousands of households back home, which leads us to the second major indirect factor which is the timidity of the women.
If you've ever gotten the opportunity to visit one of the remotest villages of India, or even the slums in big cities, barring a few exceptions, you will notice that the women there are the simplest folk, Very timid, very shy, and hard-working or dutiful rather. All they know is to cook food, clean the house or hut or shack, look after the kids, comb each others hair, fuss over looking good in their modest ways and submitting to the husband on the bed at any night he wishes to be satisfied. Their timidity is striking. Their simplicity is striking. These women probably cannot imagine their own existence sans men. They probably have come to believe that they are complete or whole only when they have a husband, no matter how he is, and a family. These are the women who care nothing about being educated or independent. They don't want to be independent. What then will be the attitudes, the behaviours, the propensities, of such women in a household? They don't even realize how significant they are! When boys are born in such cultures, they form a very narrow and limited impression of a woman which sticks to them till they become men and if not guided rightly by their own intellect or social factors, they take these impressions to their graves. Such women, therefore, need to be educated about their own significance. They need to be educated in exercising simple domestic rights if not (until) overt social ones. They need to be reminded that they are the fuel of this society. They need to be let known that what they think, they can speak, what they believe, they can follow, even if it may not please the men. They need to be let known that they matter! Quite importantly, they need to be protected at least when they begin to incorporate these notions of self-significance and security.
This latter proposition can be a tricky situation because it sort of forms a vicious connection with the chief male egocentric reformation that we may try to seek. To be on the path of bravery is not at all easy and the treacherous men will not let these women rise anyway. It may seem very unpromising and almost impossible which translates into it being an extremely difficult task. It's almost like the survival of the fittest, except that here, even in the same race, the stronger ones need to come out to shelter the weaker ones, while they're learning to be strong. Like an army school. Women for women. The conception is the hardest part of it all but it has to be undertaken.
And while these attempts to changes in outlooks are being made, we can strive to eradicate the other obvious and widely prevalent vices of (a patriarchal) society, like the ones mentioned earlier—female foeticide or infanticide, illiteracy, gender discrimination, judicial reforms, etc; but it won't be unless and until a change is brought about in the mindsets of men, the potential rapist, that a true and visible change with respect to sexual offenses can incur.
Having said all of that, I want to confess that I have been feeling ashamed of myself. Not that this is the first time something like this has happened; and not like this is the only problem we as a country are facing. It's about true realization. It is dawning on me only now. I've realized that I've spent all these years of my life striving for personal enrichment one way or the other. I feel ashamed of myself for not doing anything about the state of affairs in my homeland. Ashamed, because I know I can and I know I should. I'm just a coward too scared to forsake my comforts, brave it out and go out there and fight. I'm taking in and enjoying all that the brilliance of the society has to offer but not mending the ills of the same society. I'm the youth! I cannot play the blame game or pass the buck of responsibility! "I" must be the one actively doing something. Also, confession itself is no excuse.
The realization has dawned. At least, we can carry it in our brains and hearts wherever we go, silently or loudly, till we become brave enough to step up.