By Dr. Vivek Kumar Srivastava
30 May, 2014
India is sad today. The ghastly killing of two teenage dalit girls really horrify the society. The more saddening point is that policemen are involved in this inhuman act. Facts emerge that girls were alive when they were hanged, diseased father says if timely help would have arrived, his daughters could have been saved.
What a sad happening when we have a constitution, so many laws, civil society organizations and high level discourses on the rape and gender specific crimes. This is not time to lament, time is to act and the key role will be played by the girls themselves. They need to organize on gender specific issues.This sad event also brings out three major issues in the focus.
First the girls belonged to vulnerable section of the society. They were easily picked due to the caste they belonged to. The vulnerable castes are still fighting for their equality and due share in the country. Though many efforts have been made but caste system in Indian society with its cruel evils persist and girls are its easy prey.
Second, National Women Commission in India has not performed to effective level. Its major task is to investigate, examine the safeguards provided to the women, present annual report to the government, to recommend the effective implementation of the safeguards, to take suo moto action on deprivation of women rights, to look condition of women in prisons etc. These functions are more academic .
NWC is not n a position to carry on any deprivation to logical conclusion because of its handicap in dealing the real conditions. It needs to be provided with police power, with capacity to constitute the women courts, fast track courts where in quick manner the justice is distributed. It must be made so much powerful that local authorities take it seriously.
Third, the condition of women in whole world is similar in many respects. In Pakistan a pregnant woman was stoned to death in the public eyes. No one came for help, even many newspapers did not highlight the gruesome killing. The Dawn , respected Pakistan newspaper wrote an effective editorial which surmises the realities faced by Pakistan women. It stated “Those who shake their heads over the grotesque attacks on women in the name of some antediluvian notion of ‘honour’, tend to raise the point that these are dark crimes usually committed behind closed doors — that the victims are quietly erased from the public memory and the perpetrators, mostly close relatives, remain unprosecuted and unpunished.
The most shocking aspect of this killing, however, is that all the people witnessing the crime, even the law enforcers, were silent spectators as a woman was bludgeoned to her death. They turned their backs as she screamed for help. How are we to understand this? Was it because the victim was a woman, and the attack concerned ‘honour’, and the spectators were overwhelmingly male and saw the murder as some internal ‘family matter’ where no intervention was due? Did they shut out her cries and think this was what she deserved? Had it been a man, would people have intervened? Or has society become so brutalised that all human compassion has vanished? Whatever the case, all indications are that a twisted psyche dominates, and that society is no longer willing or able to look at itself in the mirror because what it would see there would be nothing short of frightening.”(Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2014, http://m.dawn.com/news/
In Nigeria more than two hundred teen age girls in the age group of 16-18 years were abducted by militant Islamist organization Boko Haram, parents searched in the Sambisa forsests, Nigerian military took search operation in hand, Obama too voiced concerns about it but so far girls are not freed , though four girls have escaped from the hands of their perpetrators. This shows that self efforts helped these girls. This also shows that girls and women in the whole world are not safe. They experience discrimination, suppression, exploitation almost in every country. India can pride at least that in so much conflictful South Asian society where archaic cultural values persist, many efforts were made for the upliftment of the girls and at least in big cities girls are more empowered and at equality level than their rural counterparts. The credit goes to early nation builders, Nehru like greats helped to establish a democratic structure in the country. Still much needs to be done.
These realities shows that women of the world come together because “women of different ethnicities, nations or cultures are not different from each other. They are first women than anything else. Their identity is primarily at the gender level, the rest are subordinate to it. orthodoxies are on the rise in South Asia, and thus many neighbouring countries are under stress. India is democratic society but such elements are in abundance here too even if they are lying low at present. They are waiting for the right opportunity to strike at the root of democracy and liberty. Women are the easiest objects of their attacks. Therefore the need to learn from this event that a collective force is needed to fight them. Women must learn that they are always under threat and collectiveness and fearlessness will save them from such elements. “(Message from a Lady of Exceptional Courage,Vivek Kumar Srivastava ,Mainstream, VOL LI, No 40, September 21, 2013)
Hence not only at the government level efforts are required but at the level of women a collective efforts are needed to save themselves from dangers of societal evils. Women should be given not only the full protection and equality but they must collect, organize and fight for their rights.
Dr. Vivek Kumar Srivastava has twenty years University level teaching experience, presently Assistant Professor in CSJM Kanpur University[affiliated college],Vice Chairman CSSP, email: [email protected]