Friday, July 01, 2005


Hemangini of the Hindu has an inspiring post. Inspiring because it shows that outrage, courage and persistence can pay. Sickening because of what the story reveals about us.

1 - That touching up a woman is considered a minor offence. Boys will be boys etc. Right. So Mr. Concerned-about-poor-Bihari-boy's-career, just ask your wife to step this way so we can all grope her up. We'll apologise nicely afterwards. Even call her "Ma".

2 - What were the WOMEN in that coach doing? Why didn't THEY offer some support to Hemangini? Were they just too timid? Did they not want to get involved? (John Donne is done for, nobody gives a damn any more) Or have they been indoctrinated too deeply in the unspoken male myth, that women only get what they "ask for", she must have done SOMEthing, why else would he touch HER? (Maybe because she is comparatively young, attractive, or just plain bloody NEARER to be touched, did you ever think of that, my worthy dames?!)

3 - That the law is an ass, because it makes a shocked and outraged woman wait for four HOURS to make copies in triplicate of the FIR. I have had first-hand experience of the FIR trauma and it should be short-circuited for cases like this.

4 - That it was always possible that if she had not been a journalist, that too a journalist from The Hindu, she may not have received the same response. That she could protest and give the slime what he deserved because she is educated, independent, articulate, English-speaking ... Empowered. Even that may not be enough, as Ketaki's comment on the same post shows.

5 - That a slime like this Sanjeev Kumar thinks that he can abjure all responsibility for his actions. So it ruins your life, scumbag? Guess what, we're HAPPY about it, you should be grateful you still HAVE a life. If you'd done it to Pappu Yadav's daughter, you'd be compost by now. Try telling HIM that you hadn't thought of the consequences.

5 - That even now, given that Hemangini is based in Delhi and won't come down to Chennai for the trial, the man may walk free if he posts bail. And then?

There is a lesson here, though. And hope. Sometimes protesting loudly enough does work. More power to you, Hemangini, very well done.

An interesting side-light from Jo, in a comment on this post. A guy who's feeling up a woman has the guts to step forward and take the rap, so the wrong guy doesn't get beaten up. Hmmm.
But say what, they should throw the book at him anyway. What's the use of his owning up if that's enough to get him off the hook?


encee said...

Saar...what happens to the silent screams from Imrana...Mukhtar mai( not so silent any more!)and others from the villages in Southasia?

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Bud, I said the law is (usually) an ass. Sadly enough, the judicial systems throughout the region are grounded in the same societies that produced Sanjeev Kumar and the rapists.

Which makes it quite wonderful that SOME decisions, at least, take us forward rather than back.


Mangs said...

hey, thanks for posting. i guess what was startling was not so much what happened but just the way people reacted. But encee is right. I cannot begin to imagine what happens in gang rape, marital rape.. any rape. and to people who cannot represent themselves and have no easy crutches to fall back on.

Aside: There's this thing i studied about in my psych major: the bystander effect. the more people are around, witnessing (for instance) a rape, the less likely it is for any one of them to step forward and take initiative because the responsibility sort of gets dispersed. Every one tends to think someone else would do something. whereas if just, say, two people were present, the reaction would be more definite. something to that effect anyway.

Parii said...

Mangs, that makes your action all the more heroic.

vAgue said...

the bystander effect: sounds logical to me, though screwy in real life.
and when all this anger and indignation well up inside of us like in JAP's post....what the hell- WHERE is it when these things bloody happen? The Bystander effect may explain it, but are we expected to completely understand it?

liquid sunshine said...

heylo JAP,
all the rediff junta seems to have jumped on to blogspot:p

Itineranting said...

Even in your ire, your sense of humour is omnipotent.
Separately, if the voice of one H gets 10 JAPs to stand up for her, there is hope yet.

apple said...

y don't they make it easier for the victim to file an F.I.R? a friend of mine was robbed of a few dollars recently and all she did was make a call on her mobile to the cops. the guy was caught within 30mins. her money returned and she probably had to go to the cops once to write the whole thing down and too on a later date. crimes get easier because justice is hard to otain.