Justice for all? Words are wind..

So, today, one of my friends posted an article on my wall. It was called …And Justice for all. Some excerpts of the same are as follows:

Guilt is premised on an individual being conscious of his actions and of its possible repercussions when he commits the act. So the individual ‘knows’ that he doesn’t have any right to harm a fellow human, yet in a moment of weakness, does it. Would that moment/those moments define the entire personality of the individual?

Should taking someone’s life — reducing someone to a state of nothingness, after following constitutional due process — to further law’s ends, find a place in twenty-first century lawbook then?

Should there be a component of retribution at all? Who stands to benefit from this? In retaliation against one act of madness, perhaps a few moments, does anyone have authority to take someone’s life?

Can’t there be a better way of accommodating the person in society, the one labeled criminal by law?

Perhaps there can be. The perpetrator can be turned into an asset for the society. This can happen only when the law attributes criminality not to the individual as such, but to a criminal component in him. It would follow that once ‘that component’ is removed, the individual can be of benefit to the society.

Reaction:

Hmm… I don’t think my heart is big enough. But, this is why I would prefer to stay separate from the system. I think this article makes a lot of sound, valid points… but when someone crosses a line with me, they are as good as dead. To me. And, we’re talking silly lines here. If someone were to hurt or kill someone I cared about, the only reason I would pray that the Courts let them go is so that I can kill them myself.

It’s like Sanzo says, when you first kill someone, you undertake the probability of being killed yourself.

Also, this article speaks of crimes done in moments of weakness. For which, most legal systems have adequate defenses in the form of grave and sudden provocation, and the like.

Further, there’s nothing forgivable about stalking a 4 year old child, then raping and murdering her. In that case, the victim is chosen because the perpetrators know that she can’t fight back. It is our duty to her, as well as to all surviving innocents everywhere, that people who commit such heinous crimes are not just punished for it, but utterly removed from society [whether through Death, or exile to space, or as human experiments (though that probably won’t end well) is all a matter of debate] 

Point being, it isn’t just about the criminal or the victim’s family. It’s about the victim, and all other potential ones. And the fact that if you can’t protect a child’s life, you better be prepared to avenge it, otherwise what use is our existence? It means less than nothing.

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Why I still torment myself over the Delhi Gang-Rape case

Read this article today: ‘India Rape Victim’s Friend Describes Their Love Story

I don’t know why I do this to myself. But, I think, what kind of person would I be, if I didn’t even have the courage to read about the sort of pain that these two endured. People my age. Our age. What happened to them was wrong. Not unfair, not unlucky, just plain wrong.

A lot of people say that the men on the bus were monsters. And that they deserve the worst kind of death possible. But, I disagree. I disagree because these men were not monsters, but simply a product of OUR society. A society where even our irresponsible politicians irresponsibly throw around the words that even the rapists that night picked up on. “Why are you out alone at night?” “Why are you alone with a boy?”

It’s the sick sort of mentality that pervades our society. ‘If she can be with him, why not with me?’ It’s the attitudes of a million mothers when they justify their son’s uncouth, uncivilized behavior by saying, ‘If she was dressed that way/out at that time/with a boy without being married, she should have expected that.’ It’s a society where female nurses commiserate with new-parents over the birth of girl-children. The society where the boy gets the best, because he is the boy, no matter how much of an ass he might be as a person. The society where a woman has to keep her head down, cook food, and produce children. A society where a man has no incentive to be decent even to find a wife, because his maa will find him a rishta.

This is the society that raped her. The society that got so infuriated that a woman dared to tell those men to back off, and not touch her. The society that retaliated to a bite on the arm in the middle of aggravated sexual assault by using the iron rod in what would be a laughable demonstration of their own insecurities, were it not so horrible, brutal and tragic.

Men of India who rape, women of India who condone it, where is this coming from? What kind of culture permits you to be this way? It’s disgusting. It’s revolting. And it has gone on for far too long.

Enough.

That’s why I’m still following this case. Because, it breaks my heart every single time I learn anything new about them. The fact that she was a petite 23 yr old who held hands with a boy she called ‘The Perfect Man’. The fact that he insisted they stay back at the mall for just a few more minutes, but she was in a hurry to return home. The fact that the kid, the juvenile who penetrated her with an iron rod moments after, first called her Didi (elder sister) to entice the couple on to the bus. If what I need to keep this rage alive is to have my heart broken again and again by the same shameful incident, then so be it. Because, it is not the six men alone who brutalized this girl as old as me, and a Million times braver; It was our society. MY society. And, in the middle of all the shame, rage and guilt, it is her determination to live, on her terms, that I cling on to.

As educated citizens of this society of ever-growing filth, it is our responsibility to never turn away. And I won’t. I swear it, Sister.

I want to say, ‘Don’t rest in peace. Haunt us. I know you’ve done more than anyone should ever have had to. But, do this too. Don’t leave us in peace until we’ve fixed this. Invade our dreams, and turn them all into nightmares, so that no one can dare forget the cost of this fight, nor its value.’ But, on the eve before her final cardiac arrest that left her brain dead, she signaled to her family, signaled because they had hurt her so bad that she couldn’t even speak, that she was going to heaven. On Christmas. So, instead, all I have to say is that I hope you made it. And, that you don’t have to worry about us. Things will Change. I swear it. And, when they do, I hope we have the decency to remember you. Not as a nameless rape victim, but someone so full of life, someone who fought back so hard, someone so determined to live, that she shamed the rest of us into a rage fueled reaction. Late, and selfish, but a reaction nonetheless.

So, I guess what I’m really trying to say is.. Sorry. And, thank you. ♥

Requiescat in pace, my Sister from Delhi

Dear Sister,

Can I call you that? I’m afraid I never dared give you a name, not even a symbolic one. And Nirbhaya, Ragini, Damini, these are not your names. No, you had your own name, your own identity, and an entire lifetime that no one can take away from you. You laughed, and lived, and loved.

And you fought, suffered and were brutally murdered.

I wish I could say I was here to celebrate your life, but I know nothing about you. Why don’t I know your name? Why do we live in the kind of society where the victim of a crime has to be hidden for fear of social stigma? What social stigma? For being attacked? For surviving it? I wish I could say I hate them, sister, but I’m one of them too. And, through all these years, through all these crimes that we’ve been hearing about, we’ve kept quiet, and you paid the price in full.

So, no, I’m not here to celebrate anything. I’m here for the lifetime that they did take away from you, sister. The lifetime we let them take away from you in one single horrific hour. As an entire nation, as a society, we waited and we watched as our women were raped and brutalized, and we bought bigger locks and better alarm systems, and we told our friends and daughters and sisters and mothers to be careful. But, we never said a word against them.

And, now we’ve killed you…

How does it help you to know that we’re all distraught over your death? How does it help you to know that people will cry for you, are already doing so? How does it help you to know that I don’t even dare to sleep tonight because I’m afraid I’ll dream of you? For, I’m too ashamed to look you in the eye, Sister. I don’t know what I would say to you.

“All Indians are my brothers and sisters”, our school used to make us say, every single morning, come rain or shine or bomb squads. Children regularly fainted and threw up, and a lot of parents complained. Our school built a roof, put up some fans, but we never missed a day of the morning assembly. The Pledge and the National Anthem.

What good were those vows, sister? And, what would our founding fathers say about this absurd hatred that has pervaded Indian society? Because, in India at least, Rape is more of a hate crime than just an instance of gender violence. A large part of India is literally misogynistic, and the passion with which they hate women is just overwhelming. I have a theory on this; I believe that these men represent the part of India that has long been fed on films and movies where the hero “woos” the girl by following her around, stalking her and whistling at her on the streets. These men take these ideas and apply them in regular life, and seek to approach “modern” women in the same way, expecting to be positively acknowledged. When these women express fear or disgust, these men perceive that they have been rejected or rebuked, and start hating women with a passion, because they know that once women achieve sexual liberation as a nation, no woman in their right minds would marry the likes of them. And, here I blame arranged marriages, because if people were left to themselves, the idiots and the misogynists would be automatically weeded out.

But how does any of this matter to you now, Sister?

I want to live” I know you never said those words; you were raped and sodomized and beaten so badly that you couldn’t even speak.. But, in my mind, you are forever going to be saying those words to me, dearest sister.

And, I shall be forever failing you…

Six Men. Six men against one young girl. Our country should be ashamed for ourselves. That’s the culture we have? A culture of cowards? Because, believe me when I say this: I am not a feminist, I am an individualist, and that just makes me a whole lot more dangerous, and a whole lot more enraged. And there is nothing I loathe more than the cruelty of cowardice. It’s beyond despicable. A man raped a two year old baby, after tying her legs together, the day after they tortured you for an hour. She died two days ago.. Was she out at an inappropriate hour? Was she dressed in “immodest attire”? Was she behaving “inappropriately”? No. She wasn’t raped for any of the reasons they like to throw in our faces, sister. She was raped because we have a law and order problem. She was raped because our country is still stuck in a misogynistic mindset best represented by the son of the Indian President when he said that it is not protesting if women “go to discotheques at night and candle-light vigils in the day”. Mind you, sister, this is the idiot who also said that the women at the venue were too beautiful to be protesters, so we are terrified at the fact that these are the people who are our law-makers.

Our law-makers? No wonder nothing has changed. No wonder that infant was so brutally raped that she succumbed to her injuries a day after fighting for her barely-begun life. She is dead today, because our country is inept, apathetic and corrupt beyond comprehension. These are the same reasons why six drunk men felt confident enough in attacking you and your boyfriend in a bus, and then raping you as they beat him unconscious. Can we even imagine the agony of that moment? No. But, my mind won’t stop trying, sister, and it hurts so bad.

And, what about the love you have left behind? My heart bleeds for you, young Ser. And, I swear to you, I swear that I will never stop fighting. Never. I wish I knew her name so it could be the one I whisper before I ever do anything and everything in my power to destroy this rape-culture that we all helped bring into existence.

Because there is a rape culture here. One that is so pervasive, living a normal life has become impossible in this country if you are a woman. For all the men reading this, imagine what it would feel like if you were always at war, lets say with Pakistan, and that we lived on some border. Where some unidentified person can just come and pick you up and take you away if you don’t keep your eyes open wide enough, phone always in hand while walking in an empty locality, edging away from cars that slow down at footpaths. You guys, it’s become physically exhausting and intolerable. And, yes, you can empathize, and I’m so glad you do, because we need every single ally we can all get, but the fact remains that a lot of men don’t want to see women raped, yet half of them still talk in terms of protecting a lady’s modesty instead of giving her her rights.

Five years ago, my senior from college was viciously stabbed to death as he stood up against some miscreants who were harassing a fellow student. A few months back, my junior was raped. And, now they’ve killed you. Please forgive me if I leave it up to the good people of this country to make sure that the perpetrators, your assailants, get the “justice” you deserve. (The “justice” they deserve… I fear humanity cannot provide) I intend to make it my life’s goal that this Country becomes the kind of place where both men and women can walk out of their doors at any point of time, knowing that their constitutional right to life guarantees them the safety they deserve. The safety we deserve. The safety you deserved…

And, what is expected is not even idealistic. It is only realistic that the State provide you with security regardless of your gender, or the time. And, when I say “provide you with security”, I mean a secure neighborhood and country, where crimes are the anomalies, not the norm. What we have now is rampant abuse of the law and an inefficient bureaucratic set-up that works for no one but those who are corrupt and apathetic.

Because, they are well protected. They have their chauffeur driven cars, and their servants to go to the market, and their guards to watch their homes. They don’t care about you and I. They don’t care that even the drunk scum who met you on the bus dared to ask you why you were out alone with a man because our well-protected politicians themselves keep saying those words. Our government has been screaming those questions out so loud – “Why were you out?”, “Who were you with?”, “What were you wearing?”, that even the rapists have realized that they’re the lucky ones in this entire scenario.

You’re only the one who died…

Not even the most brutal torture can bring you back. Not the most painful punishment is going to make your boyfriend or your family feel any better. But you asked us to make sure they’re caught and punished, and they will be.

But, they’re not the reason you are dead, they are just the way it happened. Our society is to blame for your funeral. We are to blame for what they did to you.

I just can’t get over the fact that for 10 days, you were fighting this, and you told all of us that you wanted to live.

We did nothing to protect you.

And we couldn’t do anything to save you.

Forgive me, Sister.

Shamefully Indian but Proudly yours,

Love,

me.