This summer I traveled to India to meet my relatives one last time before heading off to university. On my last day in Bombay, I was having a stroll on Marine lines (which is inarguably one of the most romantic and beautiful spots in India), when I saw a young lady sitting rather dejectedly. The scene reminded me of a somewhat depressing phrase from Stephen Spender’s ‘An Elementary School Classroom in a Slum’, which I figured would make an appropriate title for this article.
Frankly, I don’t know why she was so melancholy and I didn’t try to ask her, but for some reason, my thoughts drifted to the current state of women in India. With the number of rape and sexual harassment cases rising in spite of huge protests against these horrible activities, India is slowly inching its way towards global shame.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not just another typical NRI – one who eats hamburgers for breakfast on the streets of New York and then flies to England to have a cup of steaming hot tea; all while criticising his own country. Actually, I’m more patriotic than I choose to show, and that aspect has gotten me worried about the current scenario; worried enough to ask my countrymen as to how such vile and disgusting men are allowed to roam freely in our country?
The other day I read an article written by Michaela Cross , an American student who travelled to India on a college trip and experienced sexual harassment.
As an Indian male, all I could do was hang my head in shame at the thought that a small portion of our community was tarnishing our society.
I’m aware that India isn’t the only country where such acts go on, and singling out a nation, especially when I am a citizen of that nation isn’t the way to go; but I believe that it’s high time we people take action. It’s time we make our voices heard.
But before we do that, we need to change our mentality. Our main fault lies in us branding the victim as the accused. It’s no surprise that rape is the least reported of all crimes, for in reality, it is the victim who must prove her good character, her mental soundness, and her flawless decorum!
Rape is never the victim’s fault.
Also, a poem I wrote on the same topic a while ago:
She sits and stares,
Into the void – Her eyes tell a story;
Her memories are her only companions.
The heir of a horrid past,
A successor to the throne of thorns,
Once the better half of a king,
Now branded sinful and impure.
Her future sealed with blood,
Her emotions foggy; her existence insulted.
Her world unified against her,
Ready to feast over her corpse.
Her transient soul scalding like red-hot coal,
Staring at the accusing eyes,
Craving for others to be exempted of her fate.