International Women’s Day: For women, the country is still a house of horrors!

There’s a strange numbing pain that throbs within whenever the topic is brought up. The Delhi gang-rape is one such incident that compels a person to cringe in disgust, shock and an entire range of inexpressible emotions. The girl who was brutally raped and killed has been written about till pens would no longer permit it; she’s been remembered in prayers, her case has been protested against and who knows what other method has been employed to make sure that she never fades away from the collective consciousness.

December 16, 2012 was a date that can hardly be erased. It marked a watershed in the way the entire city of Delhi functioned. The capital erupted in protests, demonstrations, silent marches, candlelight vigils: and underlying it all was a sharp criticism of the government and the administration that couldn’t ensure the safety of women in the country. Thereafter, a lot of questions have been asked. Some of them have been answered. And even fewer have been acted upon.

While on the one hand people are filling up reams of paper writing and re-writing bills and laws, on the other hand, women are scared – more than ever – to even venture out of their homes post sunset. When the city was seething with rage at the murder of the 23 year old physiotherapy student, there were fresh reports of rape pouring in from all over the country – with many from the National Capital Region. Newborns to women on their deathbed, eight months to eighty eight years – the spectrum of victims is as diverse as one can begin to imagine. ‘Safety’ – that word still seems like a pipe dream in this country of ours.

And just two and a half months after the December 16, 2012 incident, the country came to a standstill yet again. Three children – sisters, all under the age of 11, were brutally abducted, raped and murdered in the village of Murmudi, about 500 kilometres off Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra. As the verdict on this one still hangs in mid-air, the 29 years old mother has hardly spent a night not weeping tears of sorrow. A widow, the woman has been foraging for an answer ever since she got to know about the fate that befell her daughters... just that there is no one to listen to her pleas, probably!

In this country of ours, unless an entire section of society is shaken up, unless an issue bulges to a threatening state, nothing is done. And even when promises are made, almost always they turn out to be made of thin air. The sheer magnitude of the crime is the only detonator that can mobilise the higher echelons of power in the country to action, unfortunately. Hence, yet again, comes the billion-dollar question that is uttered by a country of 1.26 billion every iota of a second – where is the safety for women that the government so loudly claims to have put in place?

Steps for betterment of the condition of our society are being taken, no doubts about that. A lot of plans are made; and they dry up without seeing the light of day. And at the end of it all, women’s safety still stays an issue best avoided, best evaded from. At the bottom of it all lies that basic facet called the mentality of people. There’s a widespread hypocrisy that this country of ours ails from. Even a mere vision of Utopia is far from visible.

As long as womanhood sheds silent tears of sorrow, humanity can never call itself civilised. The Delhi gang-rape was just one incident that was instrumental in exposing a cankerous system. Amending it is still in the realm of thought. And until that happens, many other women will succumb to the demoniacal paws of men; and a solution is just not possible. Maybe someday we’ll wake up to a slightly better world, a place where we women don’t need to answer panic calls from our well-wishers whenever we go out of our homes as to whether we’re alive or not, whether we have equal grounds to tread on or not.