On Nirbhaya Rape Documentary and related sentiments

Recently, an Israeli documentary maker, Leslee Udwin, made a documentary named “India’s Daughter” on the Nirbhaya rape case. For this, she interviewed one of the convicts ‘Mukesh Singh’. His interview, as known to us from some newspaper reports, revealed in him a cold blooded monster.His comments, as reported, chilled, disturbed and disgusted the nation to the core. As a result, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, has decided to act, decided to protect us the infantile nation that is India, tried to shield India from evil by banning the screening of this documentary.

What did Mukesh Singh say? Excerpts below (source: http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-31698154) –

“A decent girl won’t roam around at nine o’clock at night. A girl is far more responsible for rape than a boy”

“Housework and housekeeping is for girls, not roaming in discos and bars at night doing wrong things, wearing wrong clothes. About 20% of girls are good. People “had a right to teach them a lesson” he suggested – and he said the woman should have put up with it.

When being raped, she shouldn’t fight back. She should just be silent and allow the rape. Then they’d have dropped her off after ‘doing her’, and only hit the boy,”

“The death penalty will make things even more dangerous for girls. Now when they rape, they won’t leave the girl like we did. They will kill her. Before, they would rape and say, ‘Leave her, she won’t tell anyone.’ Now when they rape, especially the criminal types, they will just kill the girl. Death.”

The convict’s lawyers said the same things : –

“In our society, we never allow our girls to come out from the house after 6:30 or 7:30 or 8:30 in the evening with any unknown person,” said one of the lawyers, ML Sharma.

“You are talking about man and woman as friends. Sorry, that doesn’t have any place in our society. We have the best culture. In our culture, there is no place for a woman.”

The other lawyer, AP Singh, had said in a previous televised interview: “If my daughter or sister engaged in pre-marital activities and disgraced herself and allowed herself to lose face and character by doing such things, I would most certainly take this sort of sister or daughter to my farmhouse, and in front of my entire family, I would put petrol on her and set her alight.

Horrible, Horrible just Horrible!!

That there could be such monsters walking among us is a thought which inspires fear of living hell. And while all of this is absolutely heinous and cringeworthy, I want to shed light on some other statements made recently in cases of other rape incidents.

“Boys will be boys. They will sometimes make mistakes.” http://indianexpress.com/article/india/politics/mulayam-singh-yadav-questions-death-penalty-for-rape-says-boys-make-mistakes/

“But she should have been more careful. She should not have taken a cab so late in the night. She shouldn’t have been drinking. She should have gone with a male, not alone. Girls like these, what do they expect!”

These are some statements which my well meaning, modern, seemingly liberal friends, men and women, have given when a woman was raped by her Uber cab driver which she hired at night after partying.

To me, these statements are equally heinous in their assertion of blame. They don’t venture very far out from the Mukesh Singh’s line of thought. They both blame the victim and exonerate the perpetrator. So while I was ready to puke after reading Singh’s statements, I was not so surprised to hear him say such things. A milder form of the same discourse on rape is the norm in our country.

We need to radically change our common discourse. Rape is wrong in any and every case. It is heinous and condemnable and deplorable act for which only the perpetrators, the rapists need to be blamed. Not the victim. Never the victim. We need to stop blaming the victim categorically. We need to start blaming the perpetrator categorically. Only then, we will even begin to plant seeds of change in the attitudes toward women which this nation desperately needs.!


India Needs better Foreign Relations!

I have not done an objective analysis about this but from anecdotal evidences, I have come to conclude that the foreign relations policies are not paying well for India. Our diplomacy is stale and archaic and is not changing with the pace that the changing world relations demand. We are unsure of what our place in the world is and what is our vision for it.

Something needs to be done about that.

How does being 30 feel?

It felt normal. It was a constant background chatter in my mind but nothing extraordinary happened on the day I turned 30. There was a quite celebration at home and some rumination on my part but by and large, it was like any other birthday I have had. 

Although, to be honest, turning 30 has induced some changes. But these changes had been in the making for some months before I turned 30 actually. I feel grown up.

The most important difference that I have noticed is that of a lack of an urgency. Earlier, everything was urgent for me. I had to urgently achieve something, urgently be somewhere or fulfill a goal. Now, I have perspective. Some things are still urgent, like caring for parents but self related goals are not that urgent anymore. I have more patience and I have a long term outlook on life. If there is something I want and it happens, then good. I will be okay otherwise too. 


How to become filthy rich in rising Asia – Mohsin Hamid

I just finished this book by Mohsin Hamid which is a quick read – 179 pages. Took me all of 2.5 hours to get through it.

I picked up the book because I had read Hamid’s reluctant fundamentalist and found it an interesting story which was well told.

This book, however, has left me unmoved and unaffected. The style and the structure of the novel is unique and also attention grabbing for a while but after that the novelty of the style fades as quickly as the strength of the story. It is a decent story, filled with predictable cliched descriptions of poor people living in horrible conditions, defecating openly, having sex when there is no privacy but it falls flat.

It falls flat in the end because there is no character development and there is no motivation or drive ascribed to the central character. We don’t know what fires him or gets him down, we do not know the intensity with which he loves. He is a passive figure and yet he is portrayed as the ambitious underdog who goes on to overachieve. Most of all, the title of the book is completely misguiding.

The language is good. Hamid has a flair for writing, there is no doubt about that but the structure and the storyline of the novel do not serve it very well. For the most part, it seemed to me like a half hearted effort.  

Finding an Internal Compass

I think, for one to function in the best way possible – in personal, professional and social lives is to have a definition or an image for the self. Now, this does not need to be a binding specification but more like a guiding light. What it helps one to do is to focus their actions towards their intended image. It makes making choices easier, less time consuming and there is a lesser possibility of wandering about fruitlessly. 

I am not one of the best organized people on this earth. I wish to be but I have not been such till date. However, I have decided to determine certain areas of my life in which I would like to focus more of my energies than in others. There are two of them which are pressing and have already been determined. One, losing weight healthily and Two, writing a book before this year ends. 

To add to that, I also want to make a goal or a destination for my other interests as well so that I can lead a focussed life. 

The first step towards this would be to imagine a me which I would like to be. Would I like myself to be well dressed? Would I like myself to be well groomed? Would I like myself to be well read? Would I like myself to be well travelled, well spoken, well mannered, well behaved etc etc etc? The second step would be to look at people who I find successful and emulation-worthy and find their traits and then try and replicate them.

While it’s still easier for me to define my own goals, it’s more difficult for me to find people whom I admire and want to pick up skills from not because there aren’t any but because there are so many – almost everyone I can think of. 

Nonetheless, there is a need to do this at the moment and I am floundering. 

Mission ‘Find an Internal Compass’ starts now.