The Hollow Men: T. SHER SINGH
India’s Epidemic of Gang-Rapes Reveals a Deep Rot
Satrurday, December 29, 2012
We are the hollow men
We are the stuffed men …
This is the dead land
This is cactus land
Here the stone images
Are raised, here they receive
The supplication of a dead man’s hand
Under the twinkle of a fading star. [T.S. Eliot]
India, though already a nation of superlatives, has the infinite capacity to surprise us every day with yet another outrage, another brutality, another inhumanity.
Today, we stagger once again, reeling under the latest news: that the young woman gang-raped in a moving bus on the streets of India’s capital has died after a valiant struggle over two difficult weeks to overcome her severe injuries.
I don’t know what about this story haunts me, because I’m not sure if there is anything at all new or surprising in this still unfolding tragedy.
The indescribable brutality inflicted on the 23-year old by the six rapists?
The atrocities committed by the Indian police in trying to quell the protests on the streets … including the torture of women protesters in Delhi police custody earlier this week?
Or the fact that this particular story has caught the attention of the world even though such tragedies occur in India every day, in every city, town and village of that sad and miserable land?
I am particularly troubled by the suggestion by some apologists in India who shrug it off as but one example of crimes by malcontents being committed nowadays around the world.
I suppose they are referring to the recent tragedy at the Sandy Hook School in Connecticut, USA.
There’s not a smidgen of analogy to be found between the two!
True, the shootings in the US have not been infrequent. But those crimes are by psychopaths or mentally-deranged individuals, not by the ordinary man on the street who then disappears forever from sight. Moreover, and most importantly, the authorities respond and act promptly. And responsibly. Society engages in a real dialogue to address the issues. It is not a perfect society -- it never will be -- but everyone is held accountable. And it is this latter element that makes it a decent, law-abiding, civilized society which remains eminently liveable.
Rape -- an unforgivable crime against the nation’s innocent daughters, sisters, mothers, wives -- is committed every day in every region of the land. With impunity.
The worst perpetrators of rape and sexual crimes are Indian police and military personnel.
Competing with them are:
First and foremost, India’s politicians themselves, most of whom think their position of power makes them immune from all public, legal and moral responsibility.
Then, secondly, India’s rash of priests who use their role, both legally and otherwise, to prey on the women in their community.
To back them up is a society which has an unhealthy and prurient outlook on anything related to sexual issues, most of it at the expense of the female population.
Therefore, will this latest wave of outrage solve any of India’s problems?
Here’s my honest opinion: there is a zero chance of anything meaningful being done as a result of this or any such tragedy.
Sure, there will be a bit of brouhaha for a while, some of it from women who are genuinely worried about their security and want to use this opportunity to be heard. But most of it will consist of a hijacking of the issues by the political opposition parties who will jump on any bandwagon in order to help them claw their way into power. The anti-rape movement will go exactly the way of the anti-corruption movement: nowhere.
For a simple reason: a rot has set in deep inside the Indian psyche and no band-aid solutions will work.
Tens of thousands of murderers and rapists who hounded and plagued innocent Sikh communities across the length and breadth of the land are not only still alive today but are free and flourishing, never brought to justice.
Many are senior politicians. Others are senior police and military officers.
They were never held accountable.
They know it. Their children know it. Their families know it. Their friends know it. Their colleagues and neighbours and employers and employees know it.
They have now tainted and contaminated the whole society.
Every day that goes by, the message becomes even more entrenched in the Indian psyche: that murder and rape and mayhem reap rewards in India.
What you see today is merely one example of the fruits of 1984.
This is only the beginning.
Do I need to cite the oft-quoted words of Niemoller? Really?
When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.
When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.
When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.
When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.
When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.
Well, it’s fine and dandy that you let go the murderers and rapists of tens of thousands of Sikhs. Not to worry … Sikhs are, as always by the grace of God, the stronger for it.
Now that you have established that it is okay to rape and pillage and plunder and murder, don’t you go about complaining when they now come after you.
After all, it’s your own children preying on your own children. Why wouldn’t they? Who else is left?
And one more thing.
Before you in India think that you can make your families safer by merely changing things in the next election, you have a few more surprises coming your way.
From what I can see, you have put before yourselves two, and only two, choices to replace Manmohan Singh as the leader of your country.
One is Rahul Gandhi. The son of a mass-murderer. And the grandson of a mass-murderer.
The other is Narendra Modi. Himself a mass-murderer.
If you think things have been bad under the most honest man your country has seen for several generations … and yes, it’s true, he was unable to help you much, considering the jackals he was surrounded by … wait till you have either Gandhi or Modi to be your fearless leader.
They say, things will have to get worse before they’ll get better.
Well, you’re well on your way.
Conversation about this article
1: Inni Kaur (Fairfield, Connecticut, USA), December 29, 2012, 1:31 PM.
2: Kanwarjeet Singh (USA), December 29, 2012, 3:37 PM.
Just yesterday, one of my American colleagues at work asked me this question - "Are you optimistic of change in India after this gang-rape?" Then he instantly inquired about my smirk. I proceeded to tell him of how Sikhs were treated in 1984 and then again about how Sikhs rescued thousands of Hindu women and girls from Muslim invaders while the Hindu men sat on their hands. I did also tell him how, when the Sikhs had rescued these women, the Hindus would not accept these 'impure' women back into their families and how several Sikhs then proceeded to marry these girls to save their honor.
3: H. Kaur (Canada), December 30, 2012, 11:06 AM.
There was a rape charge against Rahul Gandhi, I believe. I'm not sure what became of it. I know I read about this young Hindu woman who claims she was raped by him and a few of his friends and then they threw money at her to keep quiet about it. Her father supported the Congress party and she idolized Rahul. However, later she and her mother were on the run or something for making this claim while the father totally sided with Rahul. We don't know the whole story. I mean there are weirdos of all sorts and some people just do it for money. However, I just wonder if any politician who raped some woman in India could be convicted short of carrying out a really brutal rape in public with a camera recording it and the whole world getting a whiff of it. There has been another rape in India that international news is mentioning. A woman and her husband in Bengal were coming home when some men attacked them. The man had acid poured into his mouth. The woman was dragged and raped by a bunch of men and killed. The ferocity of these rapists is really shocking. They seem more like trained gangs or something.
4: Baldev Singh (Bradford, United Kingdom), December 30, 2012, 2:02 PM.
We need Punjab to be given back to the Sikhs by UK/UN mandates and resolutions ... 62% was given to the Muslims and 38% to the Hindus in 1947, both of these States and ideologies hate female births and sell and abuse females as a rule!
5: Sunny Grewal (Abbotsford, British Columbia), December 30, 2012, 7:39 PM.
When these crimes are committed, people in lndia blame Bollywood's collusion with western culture as a reason for why these 'sexually repressed' men attack women. This argument can only be used for the 1990's post liberalization India. How do they explain the other three thousand years worth of systemic abuse against the women of South Asia? India has a two-faced culture where women are revered as goddesses, yet the reality is that women in India are absolutely reviled. What else could explain savage rapes against women or even monstrous mother-in-laws who as women themselves call for the abortion of female babies?
6: Jaswinder Kaur (Stuttgart, Germany), January 05, 2013, 6:00 AM.
T Sher Singh ji, I always read and liked your articles, but today I don't agree with you that killings in America are mostly by psychopaths or mentally-deranged individuals, not by the ordinary man on the street. What I feel the biggest culprit of today's society is materialistic craving. We parents are providing this in abundance and forgetting the virtues of the rules and regulation that our elders taught us.