The Country likes to know - “Why girls are unsafe in India”?

Bhaskar Majumder

Yes, I have in mind the latest rape & murder (burnt alive) of an educated girl who was used to drive her scooty on public road to work as a doctor in a government-run veterinary hospital in the state of Telengana. It happened in Telengana yesterday end-November, 2019 – it could happen anywhere in India any time. Why anywhere? Because it is a callous (often I swapped the term by ''innocence'') state where the victim is often accused. Who accuses generally – it is the Minister or the Mathadhis.

The victim is accused in a number of ways: why she is out of her safe house at night? Why does she wear such a dress? Why she has a boyfriend? Many other nonsense comments and questions come that pollute the public sphere. But where are the people as “public”? Why don’t they come out on the public road at least to protest? My understanding is, public roads are not only for the rapists but also for the non-rapists. The calculation of the ratio rapists: non-rapists is difficult in patriarchy and in a condition of state apathy. But how does the calculation matter? One Doohsasan was enough to undress Draupadi. But in India’s Epics I could not discover rape notwithstanding the episodes that Sita had forcibly been taken away by Ravana, Surpanakha’s nose was publicly cut, misadventure of Doohshala’s husband to kidnap Draupadi and so on. Sita as the victim was accused for why she violated Lakshmanrekha. Draupadi was accused for why she loudly laughed on Duryodhana. Surpanakha was accused why she proposed to Rama to marry her. Kautilya’s Arthashastra did not note any such episode but pronounced very strict laws for the monarch to protect the dignity of women. The Constitution of India pledges right to life that I believe also includes right to dignified life of all including women.

Since time immemorial, across countries, women were determined and not determining most of the time if recorded history makes sense. Women of 20th century continued to be burnt on the funeral pyre of her dead husband – Roop Kanwar in Rajasthan was one glaring example but the setting up and glorification of the temples like Sati X or Sati Y mandir will show what I penned here. These happened in spite of Raja Rammohun Roy and Vidyasagar. Early marriage of girls to a kulin (Brahmin) was rampant in undivided Bengal during the 19th century leading to Sahamaran that was nothing but bride-burning of the girl who first suffered ‘forced’ marriage as soon as she reached puberty to an elderly man.

Women of 21st century are being accused for reasons unlike the examples cited from myth-mythology. Now atrocities on women are more outside marriage; this however does not ignore the instances of domestic violence or dowry deaths. Now the victims are accused by the thekedars of morality by announcing dress code as if Adivasi girls are raped more for the latter remain less dressed by quantity of clothes. I found Adivasi women in Arunachal Pradesh fearless relative to the educated smart girls in the Heartland. Often these thekedars advice girls not to go outside home at night as if home are safe for them. The trade off is not between home and public road. The infants are raped, mostly non-reported, because of taboo of many types in corners of India that perform Kanya Puja! What hypocrisy!

I am unwilling to rub my hands in invisible soap to express my humility to argue in front of the delinquent men that women are also my mother-sister-daughter and so on. I shall also not quote from the Constitution of India that pledges right to life. My question is simple: why does a man rape a woman and then murder her? Many a times this is gang rape – and then it is reported that the perpetrators were drunk as if drinking sanctions rape. The simple answer is, these biological men are cowards. My broader question to the state is: why are girls unsafe in India?   

Is she safe at home? No. For often her father rapes her; and her mother conceals it.
The state safeguards itself: it says the victim should have called the police by dialling
the number 100 as it reportedly happened in case of rape and murder of the girl who could not enjoy 27 autumns in this otherwise beautiful country.

As a natural member of the society I ask the state not to calculate percentage of the number of girls (age no bar!!) raped by types, by age brackets, by religion-caste. I would like to know the role of Parliament-Judiciary in addressing the question. The state is omnipotent and the Judiciary is wise.

Through this open note I would also like to know the role of the National/State
Commissions of Women, of Human Rights Commission and other esteemed agencies what measures the state government including the administration-police have taken to address this diabolic act.

I believe I have the right to ask for I am also the non-biological father of
the daughter raped and murdered.

I take moral responsibility that I failed to teach boys/men to abstain from the dirtiest
actions in life. The first reason is, I am in academia for past four decades.

I beg apology on behalf of all to all actual and potential victims and their families.

I have reasons to believe that the state is soft on this question.
Let the state prove otherwise.

With sincere apology.

Bhaskar Majumder, Professor of Economics, G. B. Pant Social Science Institute, Allahabad - 211019

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Dec 1, 2019

Prof. Bhaskar Majumder

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