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Mother?! India?!

October 4, 2008


I am a woman, I am Brahmin,I am Maharashtrian, I am Hindu, I am Indian, I am human. It doesn’t matter who I am or who you are. All that matters is if you are a human being sensitive to the world, to the good or bad, to the right or wrong. If your blood doesn’t boil when you see injustice, if your heart doesn’t cry when you see suffering around you or if your soul doesn’t itch to do something about the things falling apart, don’t read this post…
The Orissa government has finally asked the state crime branch to investigate the rape of a nun- Hindustan Times, Mumbai, 4th October 2008.
On August 25, a 29 year old Catholic nun was allegedly raped by a fanatic Hindu mob and paraded through the streets shouting Bharat mata Ki Jai- TOI, Mumbai, 4th October 2008

I am shamed, disgusted and appalled. You consider you country your mother and you think you have honored her by raping and humiliating a woman? Disgusting. What disgusts me more as a woman citizen of this country is that the police refused to help the victim and delayed investigation. It took 38 days of violence, protests and lot more for the State to decide that there was a disgusting crime committed and that the police officials who failed to protect or bring justice to the victim needed punishment.
Why did it take them so many days? Because there has to be a detailed report, a lot of letters that shuttle around and a lot of press before action can be taken. I am not convinced by Mr. Naveen Patnaiks’s assurance that the culprits will be duly punished, for obvious reasons. If he keeps his word, great but I still think it would make very little difference to this situation in the long run.

By all means punish the culprit, that is the Judiciary’s job. But who’s doing what about preventing such horrific incidents in the future? While the judicial process ensures justice to the victim, there are a couple of things that need attention. First up, these people need education to gain a certain level of maturity and understanding. They need to stop blaming the missionaries for conversion of poor Hindus. Look, your system and your relgion failed to give them their basic rights of food shelter and clothing. If they seek that and more through another religion, it’s their call. We are a secular nation and we are free to follow the religion we want. It is not our place to decide which religion is better nor is it our place to decide whether he missionaries are forcibly converting the poor against their will. If they are being forcefully converted, there needs to be positive action. Torchig missionaries and raping nuns is not the answer.
By the way, no evidence of forced conversions was found in Karnataka. NDTV is flashing that as I write this.

The poor in this country are helpless and there is a passion to seek justice. Certain religious leaders disillusion them into believing that death and violence will bring their religion/country to glory. Wrong. These guys need to be sensitised to understand that their actions cause harm and only harm. They need to understand that there is no glory brough forth by hurting or insulting any human being, religion no bar! If they dig deep into the religion, with the aid of education and ratinale, they can see for themselves that these acts are not endorsed by their ‘supreme’ religion. If there is one thing that these extremists need, its education. They need awareness and they need a lesson in human values. Can we as a country try and do that?
Look at the names that strived hard to make our nation. There are Muslim, Parsi, Hindu, Sikh names. They didn’t see themselves as the representatives of their religion. They fought with a spirit of being Indian and the strived for a united country. They hoped for an independent India, with a better tomorrow for one and all. And they believed it could be achieved. They believed in the spirit of Indianness above everything. Where is that spirit? Why can’t we forget our classifications and move forth?

Why am I writing in this tone, you might ask.I am pained by what’s happening around and even more pained by how indifferent our urban society is to the issues that hamper our growth and development… Move beyond the rise and fall of stock markets, stop obsessing over Obama and McCain and take a hard look at your country. This is YOUR country.

A friend’s update on twitter reminded me of a valuable quote from Mahatma Gandhi: You must be the change you wish to see in the world.

I am an Indian, nothing else matters…

PS: Thanks Vishesh, for giving me an opportunity to write for Youth Unite 🙂

18 Comments leave one →
  1. October 5, 2008 8:41 am

    Right from the first sentence to the last you have plucked the words out of my heart. The rape of the nun and the circumstances of how the police behaved has been festering in me for a couple of days. It has created a sense of disgust and anger, so much anger! What can I say to express it? Nothing.
    Thanks for this post.

  2. October 5, 2008 9:25 am

    Thank you for posting this here 🙂

    This is something which all of us feel.But what are we going to about it?

  3. October 5, 2008 11:07 am

    Wow!! Very inspiring post!!
    I was enraged by the rape of the nun 2….but really, there’s nothing we can do about that….it’s the general attitude of society that needs to be changed…
    Education may help…but our politicians are so keen on winning elections, that they play one community against the other just to get votes….they don’t think of the long term implications of their acts…even if they know that it’s wrong and disgusting, they don’t care…

  4. October 5, 2008 11:10 am

    I think that by and large, the people of India are secular and peace-loving. It’s just a handful of people who brainwash and provoke idle, jobless and illiterate youth into such acts…

  5. Priya permalink
    October 5, 2008 12:54 pm

    Education helps, but not every time. I mean, most of the crimes committed are by educated people itself. All the politicians, police are the ones who hold a high position in the society. They are the ones who are getting away with all the crime.

    || Move beyond the rise and fall of stock markets, stop obsessing over Obama and McCain and take a hard look at your country. ||
    I’m glad you said this here.

    @ Kaddu – I totally agree with you. The politicians are thinking about elections all the time. When will they realize that its not about winning or losing. Its not about them. Its about our country. Its about what needs to be done here. Sigh.

  6. October 5, 2008 3:40 pm

    Did you know Pravin Togadia, the leader of VHP is a neurosurgeon and has a license to practice in the US? If the argument about education was true, then I think he is qualified enough to know actions such as you have mentioned are wrong and against the secular and free spirit of our country.

    I think the common man is tired and frustrated. Sometimes he chooses to fight the right way, other times he takes the easier path of violence. These parties and their arms provide them with ample opportunities for the latter. The problem also stems from the fact that a vast number of youngsters are unemployed and their predicament is well exploited by the fundamentalists.

    Actually fundamentalists is a polite term to use because it is used in the ideological context. They have moved far beyond their boundaries, call them terrorists!

  7. October 5, 2008 7:44 pm

    Thanks for this post again !]

    Are we helpless ?

    Education helps ..but not the kinda education that provide one with money or a job …We need Value Based education !

  8. Adam permalink
    October 6, 2008 2:04 am

    Politicians, who are they? who elected them? Us. whats de point in blaming them. As quoted above, change should come within. We are a part of system at large and System gives us what we are expecting. i don agree with the saying that ‘people are secular and politicians are mess us up’, we are not secular, we vote for de person who can favour ourselves as a community, as an individual, as a state. we are not looking at the larger picture as a nation. So politicians who are elected by unsecular people will be unsecular. If someone has to be blamed, let it fall on ourselves. We got our freedom through non-violence and patience. i think, we are too patient towards everthing that matters since independence, its nothing to be proud off. We are a bunch of irresponsible, unsecular people who are calling ourselves to be secular ppl of de largest democracy. Democracy is a joke here [don compare with any other country, i don want to hear “we are de best democracy among de worst, we shud b de best!”] it pains to say so, but just felt to be told. i dint intend to hurt… THanks!

  9. Rashid Faridi permalink
    October 6, 2008 11:12 am

    It is shameful indeed.

  10. compulsivewriter permalink
    October 6, 2008 1:58 pm

    Thank you everybody for the comments. I feel very strongly that the time to take things in our hands has come. The first step is speaking up when something doesn’t feel right. And the next steps will follow.
    I am not saying education will solve the problem but it will make the process of addressing the problem easier.
    @ The illuminator: Frankly, people like Togadia use their might over the poor uninformed. Sensitising the people is the key and the media needs to start doing that.

  11. October 9, 2008 11:59 am

    I also feel the same way Adam feels (Refer above comment by him) on this issue. We do all the things and when it comes to the blame, we find it comfortable to blame the polititians. Talk about collective responsibility! We talk so much about abolishing corruption but give donations to join plum educational courses, give ‘donations’ to the traffic police when we are caught with out insurance etc, do not participate in elections (I meant voting – even that many of us don’t do). But we are the first to show the finger on the elected representatives. When we show one finger on someone else, please notice that remaining four fingers of our hand point towards us!

    When I was in my college (a private institution), we were collectively blaming the management that they don’t do anything for the students. But no one bothered to drop a note at the suggestion box kept near our office. I was made to write some of my suggestions (By a neibhouring dept. HOD) and he dropped the note on my behalf! I was really surprized to see some of the suggestions being taken up immdiately by the management. Some others were taken up later. If this is the case of private institutions in our country, there is nothing to wonder on the state of Govt. institutions! Have we ever bothered to give a feed back ?

    Destination Infinity

  12. October 10, 2008 10:24 pm

    Nice post. But don’t compare the current people with the one who lived some 70 years ago in this country. They are way better than us. The leaders at that time were lived for their people and country. If it has been happened then, justice will be given at this time. After seeing how the politicians and policemen in Orissa reacted to this, will anyone believe that everyone is safe in our country?

  13. Deba permalink
    November 27, 2008 11:36 am

    Ya i agree with adam. we should nt blame politicians as we elect them wt our own votes. But i think we should elect some leaders who hav seen india from the first time but nt the catholics. how the terrorists get entered into india? what u think its not a weakness of indian politics? if i suppos that, ok, the terrorists of india born from india itself , than how thay become terrorists, from where they got weapons. we are indians but we have nt any life security india itself. shame on that like democratic country.sorry to say but its a reality.


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