Monday, October 19, 2015

An open letter to all of us Indians.

We ought to be ashamed. We ought to live in fear!

The last few weeks have borne witness to some of the most shameful, horrific incidents one could ever imagine.

In Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, a man has been lynched to death over rumors of eating beef. A Dalit family in Noida had to resort to stripping as a means of protest against the inaction and indifference meted out to them by the UP Police force, while onlookers leered at them with nonchalance. It has only been some time back since Kannada scholar and rationalist MM Kalburgi was shot to death at his residence, in the state of Karnataka. More recently, in fact just a couple of days back, a young police sub-inspector was stabbed to death by thieves.  A day back, a migrant worker was beaten to death on allegations of workforce theft. Our men are killed. Our women are burned to death- mothers not witches! Our children and infants have been raped and molested, repeatedly.

 Let's not even start with how we treat animals. We speak volumes about worshiping animals but are the worst offenders when it comes to protecting animal rights and crimes against them.

Has mob mentality taken over the Indian psyche, yours and mine..?

Our lives are not safe and so is our dignity. We all live and lead separate lives. We do not care and when we do, we are afraid. We become shadows of ourselves and shrink back to some safe corner to vent out our frustration through social media sites, where we feel invincible. We are voyeurs who like to secretly watch and share the spectacle of suffering, the agony of the "Other"! Oh, we love to read and discuss sensational crimes. Death has become enthralling with the prevalence of social media. We watch the video of someone dying in the most gruesome way and callously move on to watch something even more exciting. It does not bother us. Our responsibilty ends at tweeting about it or sharing it on Facebook or Whatsapp.

We will not raise a finger till something happens to us.

We like to build and live in grand, palatial mansions and dream of becoming citizens of far- away foreign lands. We like to blame the Government, the Opposition, the Ministers, the "System", the Police, the corruption, the socio-political environment, our religious counterparts and everybody else. The privileged would blame the poor and vice versa. We like to say that poverty and illiteracy are the real bane of the country. While this is true to a great extent, take a minute to ponder about crimes like the Sheena Bora murder case or the Bangalore techie case or the many rape cases in our cities.

Why is crime so prevalent? Why are rapes so common? Who is really responsible? It's us! We are! Yes, me and you and a billion of us. It is our inaction- for we are cowards.

We do not get up for pregnant women or senior citizens while travelling in public transport. We do not make way for ambulances and like to squeeze through every bit of space available on the road. And once the ambulance manages to find its way, we are shrewd enough to trail behind it like a swarm of hungry bees, so that we can reach our destination on time. We like to waste our food and throw away our old clothes. We helplessly watch as children sleep endlessly for hours in the lap of women begging on the streets. We hear the cries and screams of our next door neighbor everyday. We know that she is a victim of domestic violence, but we still hesitate to call the police. We  take pictures and videos when someone pleads for his life lying in a pool of blood on the road. We are afraid to offer clothes to the woman who has been raped and stripped naked.

We simply do not want to get involved! Period.

But,what if we get into trouble one day? Will a good Samaritan ever extend a helping hand to us?
We will wait for another Nirbhaya to awaken our collective consciousness into action. By then, another toddler would have bled to death without receiving emergency medical care. And, someone's father would have breathed his last, after his bike fell into a pothole. But we simply cannot afford to have our hands and clothes stained with blood. We simply can't!