Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Indian Rape

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. 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Indian Long Drives

Also, at times like this one, I need long drives. Indian long drives. Indian? On Indian roads, in Indian cars, with Indian traffic rules (no rules). Just pick the last lane and keep cruising at a slow 40 MPH without a care. Stop by a tea-stall, buy a cutting for a couple bucks, feel its warmth and savour its gingery taste. Put it in the cup-holder, gear up and resume driving. On the long long stretches of GauravPath--the Piplod-Magdalla Road (Surat). Driving past the food-stalls, families picnicking, lovers cuddling, gangs of boys at cigarette stalls. Cigarette stalls. Especially around the SVNIT. What joints they were, weren't they? Boys seem to be very happy at those. With all their gangsta bikes and all. Show-offs. Trying hard to impress everyone in sight. Sometimes just not giving a shit though, and enjoying with one another. Laughing, cussing, cracking jokes-dirty and clean, occasional Eve-teasing, shutting up and all well-behaving suddenly on seeing some pretty girl pass by and just having basic fun overall. I never thought I noticed boys at the cigarette stalls so much.

Oh well , moving on, going further and further and getting lured to turn on to the (ONGC) bridge on reaching that circle. How many reasons have we had for driving upto that bridge? To get some fresh air; to see Tapti in its glory eagerly meeting up the Arabian Sea at the horizon; to steal some kisses; to eat roasted corn-cobs and chaats...And we paid a toll for all this. Literally. I'd have felt a zillion times better if I were there at this instance, gulping a lot of salty air that also distributed the wind in my hair. Pretty much a cleansing process it is, to stand on the ONGC bridge and just stand and go blank. Thoughts come and go but never register. Such a detox!

Solitude couldn't have been more enjoyable than on Indian long drives. On the other hand, what a different yet memorable story could be told if Dingi accompanied me on that drive! Then both of us would go on the shores of the Tapti behind the Gymkhana and just stand. And either talk or not. But we would communicate so much, either way. It makes me think though, why did I never dip my feet into the waters where they were conveniently banked behind the Gymkhana? I wonder if I will get a chance to do that again, given the rate at which new buildings are constructed there.

Wow, for a few minutes, I just slipped in a visual journey, if not a real one. Almost therapeutic. These Indian long drives, I sorely miss. No lanes, no limits, no belts; just a short long trip, a short long trip.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Voyaging on Nature's Wings

I visited India and returned, in a few minutes. Ethereal, mystic, almost magical, a jaunt. I boarded the mind and it flew me. I closed my eyes. I smelt the smell of rain-steeped wet soil, and that of the drenched greens. I heard the sounds of the clouds' gambolling and the fat raindrops merrily bursting into several little droplets on the ground. I felt the moist vapours of the hot coffee on the skin of my face, soothing. I opened my eyes. I saw the water splashing off the little puddles near the side-walk. I saw muddy water sprinkle off the gumboots striding up and down. I saw lovers. I saw workers. I saw beggars. I turned around and saw a shelter I call home. I closed my eyes again. And felt. I let every sensation imbrue me...the smells, the soft touches, the sounds, the invisible sights,...all,...all...I couldn't tell...I visited India and returned, in a few minutes...Oh world!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

To Muslim Terrorists

You must be really happy and proud of yourselves after knocking the WTC down and such, right? It did create a stir of course but hell, the world trade hasn't stopped and never will. You scared the people but somewhere deep down you made them strong too. You taught them dealing with losses. You taught them decision making. You taught them to forgive and to fight. Looks like they're all a whole lot more stronger and powerful. You haven't harmed anyone really. Do you know who you really are terrorizing though?

The Muslims. The peace-loving, absolutely normal and very loving kinds-- to cut it short, the TRUE Muslims. You are terrorizing me. My mom. My dad. My brother. My family. All of us. You have successfully harmed us. You know, how a lot of people now hate me because of you? You know how they consider me some butcher because of you? How their smile-length shortens when they know I'm a Shaikh...How they are suddenly aware of where I touched they are suddenly regretful of the good things they told me just are they regretful of even knowing me at all. How the expectations from a 'Tamanna' crash to the ground when they know I'm a 'Shaikh'...They may be biased but it's your fault. You did it. To us Muslims. To us God-loving Muslims. Yes and there isn't any difference between God and Allah, FYI. I wonder who you've been worshipping because My God never got angry when I called Him God...or when I bowed in front of Ram and said in my mind, "It's still You, God"...I wonder which Allah you work for because my Allah doesn't need mere mortals to work for Him...No one works for my Allah. He is The Creator and The Destroyer and He doesn't ask me to do it...and not FOR Him at least...never. So whatever be the reason behind your actions, stop doing it under the pretext of Islam. Because when Prophet Mohd saw an orphan in a fair, he held him by his hand and took him home. What you do, is create orphans in times when there isn't a prophet Mohd...

Your eyes are filled with the dust of the caves that you hide in. God's people don't hide. Your actions have changed my life. And the lives of millions (yes, there are millions) of other such peace loving, understanding, or just common-sense-possessing Muslims. If there's anyone at all who you have terrorized, it's us Muslims. And Allah will do the rightful at the right time and of this I'm sure, that I'm not sharing the hell with you. 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Abstract Gauge to Gauge Abstractness

If there is a gauge to quantify how much a human being contains patience, trust, stoicism, strength, tolerance, bravery, boldness, candidness, zeal, etc; basically any abstract expression or act; if there is a gauge to all that and more, it is love. A meter to measure the entities no other instrument can; an ordinal scale with an absolute zero; that is love. So underrated in that aspect. Heart rate, respiration rate, and such physiological signs are the aftermath; not a co-process; and mere signs alone, non-specific. Unfortunately, the units of measurements in love are acts, be they words or doings. "I love you", for example, is probably one of those with high standard deviations and errors. Standing by, supporting and such, on the other hand are high up on the accuracy levels, with very less possibilities of error and greater correlations. So you see, it is not the most valid tool. Yes there could be false positives but then there is no other tool yet that breaks through scientific norms to gauge all that abstractness, is there?


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