Another Rape in Delhi and Gun Violence in US conclude an 'Outright Depressing' 2012
A young woman got raped, beaten and thrown out of a moving bus to die on the sidewalks with her boyfriend who too was physically crushed in the city I call home, Delhi. This was not an isolated incident. This was the 10th such instance of rape in a moving vehicle and one of 550 rape cases that are reported in Delhi each year. We have seen a medical school student raped in broad day light and we have seen several working women raped on their way back home from work. Response of police and politicians remains the same - the victim must have done something to invite the brutality upon herself.
Our three term Chief Minister (CM), most likely to be fourth term, has made outrageous comments every time a case is reported. This time, her reaction was to proudly report cancellation of the bus license and direct further queries to police. Public outrage forced her to dispassionately suggest several policy actions and constitution of a committee to recommend action. In past, she blamed the murder of a female journalist upon the murdered victim herself as she was being too adventurous to be out at 3 in the morning. Her idea of instilling a sense of security among women in Delhi – women should not work; if they necessarily need to, to make ends meet then they must be home before dark; they should preferably have a male escort and not use public transport.
I would however be naive to suggest better enforcement can eradicate Delhi’s rape problem. Rot runs much deeper into Delhi's society. Lack of empathy, widespread incivility, pompous mindset, an undeserved sense of superiority and omnipresent political and bureaucratic corruption that has driven people to stop fearing the law, are as much to blame for the rape problem.
Unlike Mumbai where a hard working lower middle class incumbent is content in the surrounding of mega rich, his Delhi counterpart harbors a feeling of contempt and envy towards the affluent. While working harder is key to success for this Mumbai man, his Delhi counterpart sees it as a zero sum game, trying to push someone down to rise up. While people in Mumbai appear cold and indifferent on the outside, they have a genuine sense of compassion. People in Delhi appear warm and friendly on the outside but are often found lacking genuineness. One thinks before committing a crime in Mumbai for the fear of the parallel justice system that I believe runs stronger than police. In Delhi no system exists except the system of corrupt connections everyone happily flaunts. This is a very broad generalization but having lived in both the cities, the differences stand out and reflect in each city's status as the safest and most unsafe city for women in India.
Delhi is my home, a city I so much love for the history, food, diversity, open spaces and several top universities. It hurts me that Delhi is firmly acknowledged as the rape capital of India. The disturbing lack of empathy from the executive class and police coupled with the deep societal flaws hurt me even more as there does not appear to be a near term fix to this most inhumane of all crimes.
Second event took place a week back in the country I currently live in. A mentally ill young man with easy access to guns rampaged his way through an elementary school killing 20 innocent children and 6 adults. This again was not an isolated incidence. A few weeks back, a pro football player shot his girlfriend and then shot himself. Before that, there was the Colorado shooting in a movie theater killing 12 and injuring 58. There was the 2011 Tucson shooting where congresswoman Giffords was shot.
NRA brazenly held a press conference today to make a pitch for even more guns in the street, recommending the country be transformed into a curfew-ed war zone to protect children and innocent civilians. President Obama arrogantly responded to a reporter who asked, ‘where you have been on this issue’ as I have been the President of the United States overseeing the worse economic recession since the Great depression. Quite clearly human lives matter less than economy. He conveniently forgot to mention he was busy campaigning for more than a year to get reelected and is still campaigning rather than get his hands dirty and try solving many issues this great country faces.
Republicans quite shamelessly continue to beat their trumpet of protecting the constitutional right to bear firearms no matter what. Their key argument being guns don't kill people but people kill people. That way, even weapons of mass destruction (WMD) don’t kill people but people who operate those WMDs kill people. Sounds ridiculous enough I know but tune into fox news or read gun right blogs for the most outrageously ridiculous arguments in favor of guns.
I can only hope with my sincerest of wishes that 2013 be a better year.