Challenge of growing men -- and women!

Source: The Hitavada      Date: 19 Apr 2018 10:47:54































By Vijay Phanshikar,

Swati Maliwal has certainly earned much respect not just as Chairperson of the Delhi Commission for Women but also because of her resolute stand as her fast continues to seek Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s attention to her concerns about women’s safety overall. She is asking for stringent laws against rapists. In a letter to the Prime Minister, she has said unequivocally that she will not end the fast unless Narendra Modi responds to her concerns.

No one would doubt Swati Maliwal’s integrity and intentions. Everyone would agree with her that the country needs really, really stringent laws for dealing with the demons who indulge in rape -- and even murder. Those demons are the cruelest of people who do not mind assaulting sexually any female - from nine years in age to ninety years. They also do not mind killing any female if she resists tooth-and-nail. Occasionally, they just rape a female and then kill her for saddist fun.

There is a natural national outcry against this culture of unmitigated savagery, ultimate cruelty. Swati Maliwal is now fasting for the same cause - seeking stringent, uncompromising laws to deal with rapists - asking for death for those demons.

So far so good. However, this thought must extend to cover a larger gamut if we really want to have a solution to this savage, uncouth, perverse culture of sexual assaults on women in every and any nook and corner of the country. Yes, a stringent law would make a critical difference. But what will count more is a change in social environment in which rapists do not exist at all. What will count more is an altogether socially-driven effort to groom our children in the most responsible manner so that they -- our boys -- grow to be good men who would never denigrate into perverse males.

An anecdote talks of how philosopher Thomas Carlyle responded when a guest remarked how the countryside in Scotland was barren and how the people did not grow anything in those tracts. Carlyle was quoted as saying, in effect: “We grow men!”.

The larger Indian society today faces this challenge -- of growing men -- and also women -- instead of males and females. The consumerist culture that we have nursed for the past 3-4 decades has taught us to stop distinguishing between males and men and females and women. The seductive advertising of third-rate products often pushes us to the brink of human considerations and beyond. So, when even a little child of nine is around, a perverse male can “see’ and ‘sense’ her as a female and rape her. The same male would not ‘see’ a 90-year woman as his mother, but get aroused because she is of a female gender.

Our real challenge is to fight this perversion, this ugliness of social mind. Despite the years of national outrage against rape, despite we telling our Prime Minister that the country is facing its ‘darkest hour’ since Independence, despite various changes in law, rape has continued unabated. The demons have continued to emerge from any corner -- not just of shopping malls or schools but also temples -- and inflict rape on any person who happens to be a female, of any age.

What can stringent laws do in such a situation? And, let me assure Swati Maliwal that even if the Prime Minister responds to her concerns correctly and introduces a law ensuring death for rapist (which is actually the demand), there would be other perverse brains among us to find loopholes even that legal provision and challenge it as an affront of the human rights of the rapist.

For, don’t we have judges who refuse to grant death even for the most perverse of crimes including proven indulgence in terror and war against the country? Don’t we have activists who would seek pardon for the worst of criminals on the pseudo definitions of human rights of the person? Did not we see countless persons rising to seek a presidential pardon for Afzal Guru who had masterminded the plot of bomb the Parliament?

At the moment, in the atmosphere of the nationwide outrage against rape, we are seeking stringent laws and are willing to hang the blame on the Prime Minister’s doorstep. But do we realise that after some time when the political need subsides after the elections, some of us may rise and seek considerations of human rights even for the rapists?
There is never a doubt that the rapists must be done to death -- legally, officially, guaranteed by the Constitution.

But then, on the parallel track, there should be no doubt also about the social responsibility which each one of us has -- to grow men, to groom our children in the most responsible manner so that they treat the female of the gender as mother or sister or daughter ...! There should also, therefore, be no doubt in our minds that we will have to increase moral component in our school and college education so that our kids grow as good human beings.

Swati Maliwal is right in expecting the Prime Minister to address her concerns and introduce stringent law against rape. But then, all of us also owe it to ourselves to give ourselves a morally upright culture in which vice would die on its own and virtue would blossom - on its own.