I feel a slow fear burning up my insides.
I am scared.
Of being sexually harassed on the dimly lit streets of my city and the brimming-with-anonymous-hands public spaces of my country?
Well, that too. That is a familiar fear – I have known that one ever since I was old enough to understand what it is to feel violated, and it is now an invisible fifth limb.
But this week, I am scared anew.
Of the voices I have heard this fortnight.
These voices, I am told, are of the common man of this country.
The common man of this country wants a ‘martyr’ to inspire him. Made forcibly of a young woman who wanted only to live.
The common woman of this country cries for death by hanging to rapists – in public view.
The common angry person of this country bays for chemical castration of rapists.
The common angry youngster of this country feels entitled to instant action, instant punishment, instant justice, instant change – a magic wand in each hand – and NOW!
The common voice shouts for ‘justice’ – in the form of ‘revenge’ to ‘satisfy’ the victim and ‘quench’ her family’s rage.
The common citizen of this country thinks it is okay to hold democracy at gun-point and extract laws that he fancies – with no debate, with no patient thought, with no disagreement. Whether it is the Lokpal bill or death/castration for rapists.
And the pointless government of this country thinks it fit to let the lowest common denominator of ‘impassioned’, ‘angry’, ‘popular opinion’ to dictate what laws it proposes to walk the country by – for years to come.
Today, it has come to this : The government mulls adding a provision for chemical castration as a punishment for rapists.
Hence legitimizing the myth that rape is a sexual crime – not a crime of oppression, a weapon of power, and a deliberate act of brutality just like every other act of brutality.
Thus encouraging more ‘intelligent’, ‘well-meaning’ people (who have mothers, sisters, and daughters) to come out and dole out ‘advice’ about how a woman should take care not to ‘provoke’ the sexually-overactive, hormonal-imbalanced, neurologically mis-wired men with unmanageable libidos and out-of-control hands and penises – for her own good!
And reinforcing the idea of gendered, sexualised ‘honor’ – virginity/chastity is to women what ‘manhood’ is to men. Looting a woman of her virginity/ ‘chastity’ and a man of his ‘manhood’ is the highest form of punishment!
So, once chemically castrated, would violations of women’s/children’s bodies by such perverts be ‘accidents’ ‘misinterpreted’ because they are biologically not capable of being ‘sexual’? Well, that is what many of our ‘educated’ policemen, lawyers and judges would argue.!
Where is the rational thought?
Where is the Ahmisa of our Gandhi-led society?
If this, really is the voice of the average Indian..
I am scared for my tomorrow.