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December 24, 2012 / subramanyam

A National Shame

This is my cc#6 speech with Toast Masters, I gave this speech after almost a month of inaction . I tried to contribute my two cents in the awareness campaign against the heinous crime “Rape”.  Spread awareness is the only appeal I have for all people. As ever I did not stick to the script again, but I somehow believe that the outcome conveyed whatever I wanted to say.

Mien dilli hoon , mien dilli hoon

 mien hindostaan kaa dil hoon

mien dharti par padhaari hoon jaise

 insaan ki manjil hoon mien dilli hoon


               Remember these lyrics , these are from the famous serial of good old Doordarshan  days.  This serial “Mien dilli hoon” used to speak about all the great things about New Delhi, how it was called indraprastha , Hastina,  Dilli,  the legends of Prithvi Raj Chouhan and all those famous kings who ruled and enhanced Delhi.  I did not watch this serial till the end, the reasons for this however are varied.  However if the serial is still running in DD, I am sure the producers of the serial would seriously contemplate having an episode on how our national capital has earned the dubious distinction of being a “Rape capital”.

          TMOD , friends and fellow toastmasters I apologize for using the 4 letter word which should not have been used in a toastmaster meeting , but the way our national capital has gone from being Insaanki manjil  to a crime capital causes deep anguish to me and am here to share a  few thoughts of mine with you.

          As the august audience is aware of,  a hapless paramedical student was sexually assaulted in a moving bus in the national capital on Sunday 16th December 2012. She was travelling along with a friend of hers,when  5 men in the bus attacked both of them  hit the man black and blue and threw him out of the bus before sexually assaulting the lady. As one of the news channels rightly calls, it a national shame isn’t it ?  

          Perhaps the real tragedy we must contemplate, as we consider the story of the young woman who now lies in a Delhi hospital bed battling for her life after being brutally beaten and gang-raped Sunday night, is this: in six months or less, she will have been forgotten. There will, by then, have been the next victim, and the one after — and absolutely nothing will have changed.

          Why am I saying this? How many of us remember the brave hearts of Mumbai in Mumbai last year,  28-year-old Reuben Fernandes and his 24-year-old friend Keenan Santos were brutally beaten and stabbed by a group of hooligans on October 20 while people stood around as mute spectators. This incident has caused a huge amount of shock among Mumbaikers, and the feeling of security among women seems to be shattered.

           Reuben Fernandes and Keenan Santos had gone to eat out with 5 of their friends at Amboli restaurant in Andheri, a suburban area of Mumbai.  After having dinner there, the group went to have paan at 11 pm. It was then that the main accused Jeetendra Rana, who was in an inebriated condition, started passing vulgar comments about the girls in the group. This led to a heated argument between Rana and the duo, as the former was harassing Keenan Santos’ girlfriend Priyanka Fernandes. Realizing that he may get the worst of the situation, Rana fled from the scene while threatening the boys that he will be back in five minutes. Around ten minutes later, he returned with a group of his friends, all of whom were armed with sharp-edged weapons, and attacked Fernandes and Santos and stabs them to death .

          When stuff of this sort happens , there will be a hue and cry . Few self-righteous woman conjure up articles blame the entire mankind for committing heinous crimes on women , they  make such sweeping statements as if they wish to trigger gender wars . Men get into defensive mode and the purpose of the entire debate is lost. As such men who commit such crimes are very few,  probably less a dozen in one lakh. The unfortunate thing here is the insensitivity of the remaining 99988 people.

          The crime in Delhi happened in a bus. In Mumbai it happened in front of the by-passers, who shamefully did nothing to save the boys. A shattered Priyanka Fernandes, girlfriend of Keena Santos, wailed in public “People stood there watching…did nothing…not even a single person came forward to help….”

          Activities of this sort , should more than just outrage us. Rape is not simply about law and order, or about deranged individuals. Nor is the problem going to be solved by more laws, more police on our streets, more CCTV cameras on our buses or stiffer sentences for rapists. The gang rapes that are occurring with alarming regularity must compel us to reflect upon who we are as a society. Remember the 60-year-old Sikh who fought valiantly to save women and children in the oak street Gurudwara few months ago.  I do not have a specific solution for bringing down sexual harassment and eve teasing in this country . I have  few ideas which I post in social media,  each one in this room might have their own ideas but the work should begin , the work should begin from us, the educated lot. We should voice our opinions loud and clear , we should start and run debates for the changes in the country . For nothing promotes crime like a good man’s /woman’s silence.

(took some of the ideas from the editorials )


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