Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Why now......

It’s for the first time that I am writing on a current issue on my blog. The reason being the barbarianism and the horrific act that the nation woke upto, is very much a product of the absence of values that I have been talking about. Why blame the police or the law makers or for that matter even judiciary. This is a systemic failure at one level but the root cause is somewhere else. When you point one finger at others, three are pointing back at you. Want to know where? Us. Our homes. Our up-bringing. Shocked? I am not.

For last 48 hrs everyone worth his or her salt, from civil citizens to media to journalists to opinion makers have been crying hoarse against the lapses in protection of the women in public places. Has anyone bothered looking inside homes? What about our safe and secured residence? I am not talking of sexual abuse at home. It’s a gory and a separate issue.

In this entire noise, what amazes me is the “blind spot” that people have regarding their own lives. It was rightly pointed out by one of the panelists in one of the shows that this act of assault has got nothing to do with sexuality. It’s about dominance. It’s about proving one’s superiority as the stronger sex. It’s about “teaching lesson” to women who do not toe the line. It’s about having fun at the cost of a girl. Are the Munni’s, Shiela’s of the world listening and watching?

Every time a mother gives an extra spoon of ghee to the son and not to a daughter, she is telling the son – “you are more important and need strength”
Every time there is an expectant mother or mother- in-law rejoicing at the birth of a son and not so happy on birth of a daughter, she is telling the society – “see now I also have a male heir and he will carry forward the family mantle.” 
Every time a mother advocates for a son to be admitted to school and daughter is made to stay at home and help her, she is telling the son – “you need to be educated because you will go out in the world and earn a living”
Every time a mother shields a son who is coming late (not for any legitimate reason) drunk, she is telling the son – “it’s ok. After all you are not creating a scene outside and everyone needs to chill out and how does it matter as long as he is home.” 
Every time a mother-in-law looks the other way when a daughter-in-law approaches her after being abused and not being shown the respect she deserves as a wife, she is telling the son – “you are not doing any wrong by neglecting and not supporting/respecting your wife, after all she is the one who picks up fights and wants to be treated respectfully and shown consideration to. What big dreams! What expectations! ” 
Every time when a married son (who could be alcoholic too, how does it matter anyways) with a family to feed, sits at home and is fed while a daughter who has passed the “acceptable” marriage age is made to feel miserable every day, the mother is telling the son – “don’t worry, you will get a job today or tomorrow but this girl is a huge burden on my head. Why doesn’t she go or better still die?” 
Every time a mother is very proud of the fact that she splurged and gave a huge “dowry” to her deserving and caring son-in-law in marriage, she is telling – “even if my daughter is educated and has spent equal number of hours (or may be lot more) in making a mark for herself, you my son-in-law are superior to her, so I need to show off the entire world how fortunate I am to land such an eligible groom for my daughter.”  
Every time a mother-in-law gives preference and shows more concern for a daughter-in-law who has come with more dowry or whose parents have splurged in the marriage, she is telling – “see how capable the parents are to have given away the daughter in such pomp and show. It’s not what the daughter-in-law will turn out to be but what she got with herself that matters. Content does not matter, the covering does.” 

It does not end here. Look within the family, you will find many more cases in point. Male dominance, who starts it all? Ask yourselves. Who reinforces it? Ask yourselves. These Frankenstein's are all in-house productions/creations (with lots of blind love and irresponsible caring) and not landed from Mars or Jupiter.    

Where does police come in this? Where does public administration come in this? Where does the strict law and penalty come to play in this? We are talking about corrections and preventive measures in the civil society, what about the culture at home? As women please observe your families, immediate as well as extended, and I am sure you will spot them everywhere, either budding or full-grown.

Do we raise voice when a brother abuses the sister-in-law? 
Do we raise voice when a relative or a father or a brother or a husband or a son indulges in corrupt practices? 
Do we report insults or violence perpetrated within the four walls of our “temple” called house? 
Do we raise voice and ask about the whereabouts, when a son comes home, sloshed and in an inebriated state, late in the night? 
Do we raise voice or stop our four year old kids from dancing and singing “laga le saiyyan fevicol se” or “tu cheez badi hai mast mast” kinda item songs. So cute is the reaction and it will be recorded. 
Do we raise our voice and educate our children in respecting women when they refer to them as “maal” or “kya item hai” on the streets? 
Do we raise voice when we see our husband, son or brother indulging in rash driving and having no regard for the law of the land? 

Again the instances are endless. However, the precautions and preventions are not.

Instead of looking around for legislation and laws, start from home, family, and building etc. Laws will prevent crimes perpetuated by adults but the beginnings or the roots lie in our very households which require no police or constitutional law. We are the law makers in our families. If we can’t control our own family with few members, why blame others my dear “civil and cultured” friends. Art and literature are mirrors of what is acceptable and not acceptable in a society. You cannot create more than you can see or think. In name of entertainment and creative freedom, when the lines of decency are crossed, why shout when same happening on roads? 

It may sound harsh but it’s the truth. Only when we start punishing and controlling deviant and dominating behaviors’ at home, can we start shouting slogans or holding demonstrations in the public. Gandhiji said “be the change you want to see in others”. After committing crime culprits rush home or take shelter with the known. Please act then. It’s someone else today. It could be me or you tomorrow. Stop now and report before it’s too late.

 Mother of a 12 year old daughter

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