Welcome to the land of a million Gods & a billion Godless, ignoramus, intellectually impotent people who share a strong collective belief that a woman is raped because “it was her fault” or “because she should have known better [i.e. nature of men]”.
For two months I chose to remain silent on the rape & murder of the young girl and the brutal attack on her male friend. The brutality is overwhelmingly incomprehensible, & sickening to me. It was just too much for me to bear, just too much for me to think of the evil that befell on the two youngsters. I cannot even fathom the pain and suffering of the grieving parents, family members and friends of the young lady whose vibrant youth, her dreams, aspirations & a wonderful promising life, was taken away by the pure evil acts of those six rapist who ravaged her modesty on December 16, 2012 on a bus in Delhi.
The brutality of the assault, in which the six men raped the 23 year old & beat her up with a metal rod & the insertion of the same into her tender body, leading to severe intestinal damage but that was not enough for them so they went ahead and threw her and her male friend out of the moving bus onto a highway.
Welcome to the land of a million Gods & a billion Godless, ignoramus, intellectually impotent people who share a strong collective belief that a woman is raped because “it was her fault” or “because she should have known better [about nature of men]”.
I grew up listening to these lame excuses that help deflect the criminality of the act itself and further victimize those who are raped & molested. I detested such wretchedness and continue to do so to this day. In my teens it became evident to me that a woman was nothing more than a object of desire and a second class citizen.
Rape, incest , child molestation, sexual harassment and sexual assault on women, and children of both genders is nothing new in this Holy Land. These barbaric acts are committed everyday in urban and rural India. Statistics indicate 70% to 75% of the rapes in urban areas are not reported by the victim or by his/her family members or guardians.
In rural India where the vast majority of India’s population resides, raping and molestation of women and children is very prevalent and grossly under reported crimes. Why?
The answer – Abject poverty & powerful crime lords belonging to the upper caste [local politicians, landowners, & police personnel are the most common perpetrators of these crimes]. The women of lower caste, such as Dalits are raped and they suffer in silence. How Holy are WE?
Sex crimes or sexual assaults are not reported to the police by the victim or by his/her family because of societal pressures. The victim and his/her parents and immediate family members are often ostracized by other family members, friends, neighbors & by the religious gurus and pundits. Religious places of worship have been known to label the rape victim as a “shameless whore” or “parivaar ka kalank (blot on the family name)”, “public prostitute” and so on.
One of the main reasons the media have ignored to address this issue has it’s genesis in India’s history, culture & custom, education system & the judicial system.
The media in the so called “largest democracy” needs an education in what it means to live in a Free Constitutional Democracy. Perhaps for a change (I hope it will be a permanent one) you can be patriotic by defending and enforcing the Constitution, and the law of the land by holding the politicians, law enforcement officials, public servants and other government personnel accountable and responsible for their actions. The same would be applicable to the local police, Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and other members of the intelligence community.
Some of the notorious rape cases of India in recent years
1. 1990 – Rape & murder of Ms. Hetal Parekh, a 14 year old by her Dhananjay Chatterjee, a guard in her apartment builiding. The culprit was convicted in the court of law and sent to the gallows in 2004.
The case is still being fought in the courts in the typical Indian way, deliberately and purposefully slowly dragging it out. Giving enough time for two of the accused to die natural deaths.
Now, we Indians cannot be blaming the Taliban, and the Pakistanis across the border for perpetrating such crimes.
3. 1996 – A minor, 16 year old, from a place in Suryanelli, in South India was raped continuously for 40 days by 42 men. A special court sentenced 35 of these monsters to prison, the Kerala State High Court acquitted all of them.
4. 1996 – Priyadarshini Mattoo, a 25 year old law student was raped & and murdered in her home in New Delhi. The culprit is serving a life sentence.
5. 2003- A Swiss diplomat, 36 year old raped by two savages in Delhi as she was returning home after a screening of a Chinese film at the 34th International Film Festival of India held at Siri Fort Auditorium.
As the victim opened the door to her Toyota, the 2 savages pushed her into the back seat. One of the men raped her, while the other monster drove through the well lit street of South Delhi. After 90 minutes she was dropped off at Safdarjung Enclave and given instructions on how to get back home, in the most casual manner.
The 2 savages were in their late 20s, and one of them spoke fluent English. In the testimony recorded by the police, the diplomat said that one was well dressed and spoke English and after raping her went on a monologue about life in Switzerland and Europe and spoke of the sanctity of Indian marriages.
In her assessment the rapist clearly came from a upper middle class background and may have known or may have dealt with foreigners in the past.
6. Indian President‘s bodyguards gang rape – On October 6, 2003 a 17 year old and her boyfriend were at Buddha Jayanti Park in the backyard of the Presidential Palace, to watch the Dalai Lama. Here, 4 members of the elite President’s bodyguards on duty and in uniform brutally raped the 17 year Delhi University student.
The ever slow judicial system of India handed down 2 of the savages life imprisonment and the other 2 got 10 years each. I often wondered how many years would each of these monsters received if their 17 year old victim was the President’s daughter.
7. 2004 – Ms. Manorama T. Chanu was gang raped & killed in Manipur by the finest soldiers of the Indian army.
8. 2005 – Ms. Prathibha Murthy, hired a cab to take her home from the call center where she worked in Bangalore, India’s IT & BPO hub. She was raped and killed by the driver who was to drive her home.
9. 2007 – Two Japanese tourists were drugged & raped by three men in Agra, the home of the Taj Mahal
10. 2009 – An American student at Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) was gang raped. The court in Sewree acquitted the accused for lack of evidence. The presiding judge observed that the victim was never raped and no “sexual intercourse” took place and described the 23 year old American’s statements as “neither wholly reliable nor wholly unreliable”.
This investigation and evidenced collection was botched from the very beginning by the police even after the doctors & medical personnel that the young woman was gang raped.
According to police report, the victim was taken to a house of one of the accused Mr. Kundanraj Bodgohai in Andheri & gang raped by by Vinamra Soni (23), Harshvardharn Yadav (22), Jaskaran Singh Bullar (21), Anish Borkatki (21), Dev Colabawala (21) and Kundanraj Bodgohai (22).
Since, the court did not find the victim “wholly reliable” the six accused were set free.
11. 2009 – Ms. Nayana Pujari who worked for an IT company was gang raped in Pune. The prime accused escaped from police custody.
12. How may Indians recall the Aruna Shanbaug case.
On November 27, 1973, Aruna Shanbaug a nurse at King Edward Memorial Hospital Bombay (n/k/a Mumbai), was assaulted by Sohanlal Bharta Walmiki, an employee who worked as a cleaner at the hospital. The police report charged Sohanlal Walmiki, the culprit with crimes of robbery, assault and attempted murder, but deliberately did not record the sodomy (rape) of the victim, ostensibly to saver her impending marriage.
It has been more then 40 years since Aruna was raped and left for dead, she continues to live in a permanently vegetative state and is fed through a tube and looked after by the nurses at King Edward Memorial (KEM) Hospital, Mumbai, India. Her rapist Sohanlal Bharta Walmiki, served a 7 year sentence and was set free, his whereabouts are unknown.
How Holy is India? How educated are it’s people? How law abiding is the Judiciary of this Holy Land of ours?
Perhaps, it is time for us to collectively hang our heads in shame & start asking ourselves some tough questions. We must promise ourselves that the next pilgrimage that we embark on will not be to our favorite shrine, temple, mosque or some place where a Saint or Guru was born or a Pundit or Sadhu laid to rest, but a soul searching pilgrimage, we can all agree it is going to be one hell of a journey.
Harder the journey, the greater the depth of one’s purification.