29 August, 2013

Insensitivity, thy name is Chetan Bhagat. Young India does not want this, does not need this.


(Pic courtesy : rawforbeauty.com via Google)

Just yesterday, I penned a post on my blog about how parentscould do their bit against the Rape Culture in raising children to be moresensitive and empathetic.  

The Chetan Bhagat tweet on Twitter yesterday was a classic example to the contrary.  Mr.Bhagat tweeted yesterday saying “The Rupee is asking, is there no punishment for my rapists ?”. 


(Pic courtesy : firstpost.com via Google)

He later, in his ever inimitable style, went on to say that it had been a harmless tweet and he had just used “rape” as a metaphor.  As simple as that and then, without as much as an apology, he proceeded to delete his tweet.  Simile or metaphor aside, one simply does not joke about something as violating and monstrous as rape. 

This is not about a metaphor or about bad timing.  He was incredibly insensitive and tactless.  The same insensitivity that I’d written about yesterday, that seems to be pervading all sections of society, especially the “educated” populace.  Mr. Bhagat is not from the ‘poor’ section of the society.  He claims to have been “educated” at IIT, which is said to be one of the elite institutions in India.  He claims to be “a prolific author”.  His parents have just two children – not a whole bus load of them.  Yet, he churns out something as crass and thoughtless as his tweet yesterday. 

When I mentioned parental responsibility in helping children grow up to be caring adults and about parents doing their bit in raising their children towards being empathetic members of society, Mr.Bhagat, with his insensitive tweet, has just helped me rest my case. 

The number of rapes that are committed by the rich, the powerful and the educated are just as many (if not more) than those committed by people from the less financially able sections of society.  I guess, more often than not, crimes committed by the rich and the powerful do not come to light or even if they do, they are either swept under the carpet or in many instances, there are the powerful parents helping their children get away with what they’ve done.  There was one such report in The HK Standard today morning.  A high ranking Chineseofficial’s son has been accused of being a part of a gang rape that took placein China.  His parents are sure to pull whatever strings they can, to set him free.   What is to stop this teen from doing something like this all over again, especially when he knows his parents can get him out of any mess that he gets himself into ?  
There was an instance in Bangalore a couple of years back when an official working in the French Consulate was sexually abusing his daughter repeatedly.

In trying to instill sensitivity in children as they grow, what the parental community could possibly succeed in doing is raising a whole generation which is more empathetic.  Currently, rape victims suffer not just the violation that they’ve had to endure at the hands of the rapist.  It goes further.  When they go over to the police stations to register a complaint, are their cases handled with the compassion and understanding that such victims need ?  When they go over to hospitals or doctors for the mandatory Rape Kit to be collected and to be medically examined, are they treated with a certain degree of compassion ?  When the victims need to testify in court against the convicted rapists, even the lawyers and judges do not treat them with sensitivity, in most cases.  I can recall one such court case in France in February this year, when a violinist who had been raped was called in to courtto testify against her rapist and the defence lawyer’s cross examination was so brutal that it droveher to commit suicide.  Was she to blame or was she the one who had been wronged here ?

It is this lack of sensitivity in dealing with the victims too that parents can hope to tackle in the future, by trying to raise children who are taught to be more empathetic.  Some of them could well go on to practice as doctors, lawyers, social workers, policemen or policewomen, lawyers or any such field that requires empathy and sympathy to be a part and parcel of the work culture, the person’s psyche.  That could further spread and trickle down, if need be because every human being is born with a conscience.  Somewhere deep down inside, that conscience is still alive.  In most cases, the inner self just gets submerged in apathy, indifference and a lack of concern.  The conscience just needs to be woken up.  The alarm clock here would be visible understanding, compassion and empathy.   Would this not go a long way in helping ?  Call me a foolish optimist or a sentimental idiot if you want to, but can we not hope that this could actually be a reality of the future ?



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