Safety for India’s Women
What a present to ‘Father of the Nation’ Mahatma Gandhi on his 151 birthday! India is on the brink of boil again over the rape and murder of a 19-year-old Dalit girl at Hathras in Uttar Pradesh. People from all walks of life are now on the streets demanding exemplary punishment for the offenders. The outburst reminds us of the ‘Nirbhaya’ incident that took place eight years ago in the national capital. After that incident too, people came out to the streets and forced the government to make changes in the existing law. Among the changes, the most notable was the inclusion of death penalty for the rapists,. A fund called ‘Nirbhaya’ was also created to ensure that implementation of safety measures for women do not face financial hurdles. But eight years down the lane, it is now clear that all these measures have failed to change the ground reality. Women in India were unsafe in the past and they are not safe today.
Despite all measures, if India is still unsafe for women, it is because of the fact that those measures have been too cosmetic to effect any meaningful changes. To prevent crimes like rape what is important is to change the mindset of the people. But have we ever tried to do that? Have we given women their due place in society? Do we really respect women? Unfortunately, we do not indulge in any such activities. In our society, women are many a times treated as a doormat. The gravity of the condition of women in the country can be judged from the number of female foeticide. Parents are afraid of welcoming the birth of a girl child fearing about her security.
As a matter of fact, we have never tried to wipe out this social evil from its root with right earnestness. We have always tried to use such incidents in a way that best suited our purposes. The Hathras incident is no different. As soon as the incident came to light, it became a political fight where all concerned parties started efforts to fish in troubled water. The administration was not permitting anyone to meet with the family members of the victim. On the other hand, all opposition parties made a beeline to visit the family in-order to score political points. None of the parties pondered over the most efficient and ethical way to get rid of the menace in-order to avoid loss of more valuable lives. They were more interested in knocking out political opponents.
If such an attitude continues, it is certain that crimes against women will only continue to rise in India and sooner than later India will earn the dubious distinction of being declared as the most unsafe country for women in the world. The world will not talk about the great Indian culture and heritage. Rather, it will be curious to know the number of rapes taking place in India. Are we really unable to ensure the safety of the womenfolk in our country or are we simply not trying enough measures?