No One Gives You the Power, You Have to Take it

By Bhavya Srivastava

Edited by Liz Maria Kuriakose, Associate Editor, The Indian Economist

“If any rival touches a Trinamool woman, father or child, then I will ruin their generations. I will let loose my boys, they will commit rape. Yes, they will commit rape.” This is the statement that is causing furore on the Indian soils. But for how long? A MP or a minister or a powerful personality abuses and threatens to misuse his powers to the extent of committing rape and nothing changes. No action is taken against the person. When are we going to reach our boiling point? To the point, where a person dare not even dream about raping a woman; let alone, threaten, standing on a pedestal. Is this the glorious culture that we Indians are proud of? To let everything happen, be a silent spectator and move on saying kya kare, hota hain!

For all the people who are not aware of the recent developments, the above statement was made by Trinamool Congress (TMC) party MP Tapas Pal while addressing a workers’ meeting at Chowmatha village in Tehatta in Nadia district — which falls in his parliamentary constituency of Krishnanagar — on June 14. The goondaraj does not stop here. As if the insensitivity of the statement wasn’t enough that Mamta Banarejee, the party leader, asked the reporters what was expected of her except, of course, cautioning him. Ms. Banarjee, I sincerely wish that as a party leader and more importantly, as a woman, you should be more thoughtful of your words and actions. My question is why hasn’t he been disqualified till now?

My question reminds me of an audio that I once heard about the rapes that happen in India. Rapes do not happen in India because people are sexually aggressive or are not able to control their feelings; rapes occur due to the lack of consequences, due to the incompetency of the system, due to the inherent sublime attitude of people; I could go on and on but my mere talking is not going to change the system. This brings me to an acquaintance’s thought process. The well-educated guy has plans to contest for an election and with the power he gets, rape a woman and that is on the brim of his bucket list – to force himself upon a woman. Mind you, the plan involves winning an election first, as he’s well aware of the situation that tracking him can be tougher if he has power and money. What more can we expect from the ‘educated youth’ of our country with such a mind-set?

Has anyone ever tried going through the rape laws in India? Let me warn you beforehand, they are very complex. Reporting a rape, convincing the officer on-duty to file an FIR, taking medical tests, convincing the lawmakers of the heinous crime that took place and then finally seeing the person with a noose around his neck sounds like a very mind-numbing and a far-fetched dream. My chronological sequence mentioned only the law stats; not the physical, mental and social stigma that the girl goes through. I’m sure all of us still remember the brutal Nirbhaya gang-rape case. It’s been more than one and a half years, and after a series of hearings, the verdict was granted, but not executed! I wonder why laws exist only on paper. Why is the Indian system, even after 67 years of independence, still working on the trial and cure method?

To err is human. I do agree that the context of the story should be taken into account when making a judgement but to my belief, no context can justify a person’s thought of committing such an atrocious crime. What sort of situation and power deems you fit enough to think of women as feeble beings who can be walked upon? I am not of the mindset that all men are bad or all women are treated pathetically, but yes, as a girl, the fear of female atrocities is always at the back of mind. And this fear not only pertains to the rural world but in the urban cities too where a girl is often judged on the basis of simple choices and decisions that she makes.

I find Comedy Nights with Kapil hilarious, mostly. But any self-respectable girl would find the stereotypical jokes disgusting. I fail to understand, how a man lusting after other ladies while belittling his own wife can make the viewers roar in hilarity. The frequent episodes where Mr. Sharma is passing on condescending his wife over her appearance makes me cringe at the worthlessness of laughter. The underlying message may appear fine to some people – its fine to ogle at other ladies with your wife or girlfriend in earshot or not! This is somehow leading the youth to generalise the scenarios and not notice the wrong things in society.

Women are not frail creatures to be treated in a flimsy way; in a developing country like India, they are the ill-fated victims of the patriarchal society, a society that cannot dream of surviving on its own, not just biologically but also intellectually, spiritually and emotionally. I condemn what Pablo Picasso once said, “There are only two types of women — goddesses and doormats,” but I request women to have faith in what Roseanne Barrbelieved, “The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it.” And EMPATHY, not SYMPATHY, can change it.

Bhavya is a resident of Lucknow and an alumnus of Seth M.R. Jaipuria School. She is pursuing her B.Tech in Computer Science and Engineering from Amity University, Lucknow. She is an avid reader with almost 500 books in her kitty. She has co-ordinated and organised different events in her college alongwith representing her university at various levels. She is interactive, adaptive, fun-loving and outgoing girl with good technical skills and proficiency in Enlish and Hindi.