The Loss of Rea­son

DNA Sunday (Mumbai) - - FRONT PAGE -

Dury­o­d­hana’s act of loot­ing the very essence of wom­an­hood beck­oned the di­vine to in­ter­vene. In spite of the mal­ice, there was a so­lu­tion in sight. To­day, how­ever that may not be the case. A cul­ture that proudly de­picted ex­plicit im­pres­sions of women and men as ma­ture com­pan­ions, in the an­cient minia­ture paint­ings or carv­ings on his­tor­i­cal walls, is in to­tal de­spair.

We need to step back and look at the so­ci­ety that we are build­ing. Rape is an act that does not need a par­tic­u­lar seg­ment or a lo­ca­tion to man­i­fest it­self, a nor­mal work­place, a day- care cen­tre, a med­i­cal space or a liv­ing room, can in a moment’s time be shad­owed by the dark face of so­ci­ety. The af­flu­ent are cer­tainly more in­su­lated from this ex­po­sure, but for a girl on the street, the vil­lain could be lurk­ing around the cor­ner.

The land­scape of In­dia is re­gret­tably evolv­ing into a very treach­er­ous mix­ture of “com­mu­nity dis­or­der” which is no doubt ev­ery bit demo­cratic, but with a com­plete flip side. Among the mi­nor­ity are those who are brought up with so­cial val­ues and tools to cope with the chang­ing per­cep­tion of our­selves in awk­ward mo­ments. But then there are those who are less for­tu­nate, lack any early mo­ral ed­u­ca­tion or the abil­ity to see things from a re­spon­si­ble point of view. As adults both th­ese types, re­act dif­fer­ently to a mo­men­tary loss of wis­dom. While some are more sen­si­tive and adapt well to a sit­u­a­tion with good judge­ment, much can­not be said about the oth­ers, who may take it onto them­selves, to ex­plore the idea of the vic­tor and the vic­tim. It is sad that many lack judge­ment to dif­fer­en­ti­ate be­tween de­sire, ac­tion, re­al­ity and set­ting in de­cay of so­ci­ety through their ac­tions.

Cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment will cer­tainly in­stil fear and bring some re­lief to this epi­demic but I be­lieve the cure is in re- or­gan­is­ing how we build our so­cial blocks. The ba­sics which start at home with our brothers, sons, fa­thers be­ing re­minded of the value and re­spect that women are privy to – the same women who have brought us men into this world.

Clearly the present sen­ti­ment in the cap­i­tal will help us con­jure up so­lu­tions that will come from within – how­ever as a na­tion, the one sen­ti­ment that flows unan­i­mously is that of set­ting an ex­am­ple for oth­ers by pun­ish­ing those who turn our free­dom and democ­racy into tor­ture, so that there is psy­cho­log­i­cal de­ter­rent whether in a black glass tinted bus or in a re­mote vil­lage in the in­te­ri­ors of In­dia, there will be fear, just as there is for mur­der.

( The writer is a well- known fash­ion de­signer)

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