The initiatives taken by the Centre after the brutal gang rape incident in Delhi could be satisfactory to some extent, but it won’t suffice because a true change in society is yet to come and many things still remain unaddressed in this regard. Even after massive public outrage over the gruesome incident, there is hardly any decline in such cases. The continuous rape incidents since December 16, as flashed by media, vividly indicate that deterrent to such heinous crime is conspicuous by its absence in the system. The Centre and state governments are taking all necessary measures to checkmate such incidents like increasing the number of female police personnel and framing stringent and effective laws to ensure severe punishment to the culprits. If earnestness and strong will power are displayed, it will be easier to induce a sense of safety among women. Moreover, it is also imperative to bring a significant change in attitude of police because whenever a victim of rape or molestation approaches cops to register a complaint, they appear reluctant to attend them sincerely. One can hope the present state of situation can be improved by increasing the number of female police staff, but at the same time, it is also required that male police personnel display sensitiveness in their behaviour towards the grievances of the women. During a meeting of state chief secretaries and police chiefs recently in New Delhi over revamping the functioning of police administration and making the existing laws more effective, consensus apparently emerged over so many issues after which it can be said that both the Centre and the state governments have realised the fact that they need to take many steps to ascertain safety and security of the people. It is a matter of great concern that no quest for change in the society is apparent.

 After the dangerous incident in Delhi, it has been found at various levels that decline in ‘Sanskar’ (cultural values) in the society is largely responsible for the crime against women especially the incidents like molestation and rape. This is a reality but there is no talk over depletion of moral values. This issue should be debated by political parties in the Parliament and state assemblies, but the result would come when the similar discussion takes place among religious leaders, educationists and the leaders of the society. During such discussions, it is also required to bring a spot light on the causes behind the mindset of considering women as second class citizens in the society. What is the reason behind the growing perception in the society that women can be treated according to the convenience of men? The factor like lack of education cannot be held responsible for considering them as a commodity because well educated people have also been found molesting and committing sexual assault. Actually, such cases are associated with decline in moral values which are inculcated in the mind of an individual in a healthy society.

If the women in a family are not treated with respect, then children in such families also develop a tendency to have a disrespectful mindset towards their female kin. Such children may have a mentality to always underestimate women in the society. This mentality can cause a lot of problems for women. If one has to take lessons from the Delhi’s rape incident and pay a due tribute to the slain girl whose bravery inspired the whole nation, then everyone needs to see if the women in their family and their neighborhood are being treated with due respect. If the women in our families are treated in a respectable manner, then the society will also be respectful towards them which will definitely make them feel secured. This is high time to adopt the age old adage- the place where a woman is treated with respect, is an abode of almighty. Rape incidences make an adverse impact on our society as well as our children. When the kids know about such cases through news papers and TVs, it leaves a negative impression on their minds. To fend off any feeling of insecurity among our children, we need to impart them moral lessons at school levels.

If the Indian society denies taking any step to change itself, it will only reflect its hierocracy and it won’t be able to preserve its dignity. It is to be noted that Delhi rape incident has badly bruised the global image of India. We cannot overlook the fact that most of the incidents of rape are not reported in media and with police. Such incidents are covered in the rural areas. In the rural areas, incidences of crime against women are mostly covered up. The fear of social stigma and cumbersome legal proceedings deter the victims and their relatives from seeking justice. The controversial statements recently given by some public figures, especially by some of the politicians, highlight the need for a change in the mindset the society towards women. Amid ongoing spate of controversial comments, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat sparked a row over the issue by saying that rape incidences are phenomenon of India (Urban India) and not of Bharat (Rural India). According to him, the incidences of assault on women happen only in the urban parts of the country. Undoubtedly, it is an erroneous notion.

Actually, such incidences are taking place in every part of the country. The problem to underestimate womenfolk is not confined to any particular community. The view that urban culture is responsible for such incidences cannot be acceptable. Like RSS chief, a minister in MP’s BJP government, Kailash Vijayvargiya, made another controversial statement that a Ravan (demon king) would arrive to assault women if they cross their Lakshmanrekha (social modesty). Does he want to say that women are responsible for rape incidents? It seems that he is in a way backing Ravans, those who are guilty of committing rape on a woman. Social modesty has to be applied on both the men and women equally. We cannot maintain double standard when it comes to apply modesty on men and women in the society. If the minister adjudges the conduct of women on the basis of their wearing or fashion, it cannot be acceptable. It is wrong to adjudge one’s conduct on the basis of his or her style of living. If the RSS chief meant to say that women are safe in the areas which are not exposed to western culture, he is absolutely wrong as most of the cases of female foeticide and dowry violence appear in the rural areas. It is really strange to see that on one hand women are worshiped in our society like goddesses and on the other hand they are they are insulted in the form of female foeticide and in many other ways of violence against them in the society.

(An original copy of the article published in Hindi on January 6, 2013 translated by the English Editorial. The author is Group Editor of Dainik Jagran)