Yes, I realise that title is harsh, but this week India really is just making me feel sick.
Today I read this article about a woman who is 7 months pregnant, and when her in-laws “accidentally” found out she was carrying a girl (because pre-natal sex determination is illegal in India) they started injecting her with HIV infected blood and telling her it was treat her anaemia. It is not yet known if the child has also contracted the disease, but regardless this kind of behaviour is just sickening. I cannot even begin to understand what kind of sick and twisted person comes up with that plan of action and follows through with it.
Then of course there was the much publicised rape case where a five year girl in Delhi was not only locked away and raped for days, but doctors found pieces of a candle and a bottle inside her. Allegedly the police tried to stop the parents from registering the case by offering them Rs2,000 ($36) and some tea. Trying to defend his state the Union Home Minister Suhsilkimar Shinde said in Parliament on Monday “such incidents (of rape) have been reported from other parts of the country also”.
Yes they have. In fact another five year old was brutally raped in Madhya Pradesh this week too, she is now fighting for her life in hospital. Just because rapes happen all over India doesn’t make it right.
Then again, a woman is stomped on by her in-laws because she was believed to be carrying a girl (according to a “godman”). She lost her baby.
And the list goes on and on……………………
So what is about India that makes people behave like this?
Personally I believe it occurs because a significant population don’t even see women and children as human beings. I have written before about how women are treated here, but it seems that children also get the same raw deal. I am yet to read hundreds of stories of men being brutally raped or abused by their in-laws.
Much of the protest and social comment seems to be pointing the finger of blame on the police and lack of law enforcement or control. I find this argument to be a dangerous one to make. It assumes that people want to behave like this but need to be controlled so they don’t.
In my opinion it assumes that many people are intrinsically evil, because I can’t even imagine having the frame of mind where I would want to shove a bottle inside a five year girl or step on the stomach of anyone (let alone a pregnant woman) or inject a terminal disease into another. This isn’t just lack of control, this mind-set is pure evil.
So what is it in this population that makes it possible for this behaviour to continue at the rate that it does? After all we aren’t just talking about once-off incidents, but ones that happen every single day. What do you think?
38 thoughts on “India You Disgust Me!”
As I read through the comments, I see the endorsement of rape culture through excuses. I wish that I could be bothered individually replying to them all. At the end of the day men gang raping a student on a bus is not indicative of a problem with the justice system or corrupt politicians. It is a culture a a view that is held by the majority.
In New Zealand if anything of the sort had of happened, other people would out the perpetrators, and police no matter how corrupt still would not have tried to hide it. There are some crimes that are just too disgusting, that go against what is genetic morals.
I work as a nurse and have been inappropriately touched and propositioned by Indian males. Not just on the one occasion. Its so bad that I refuse to work with Indian males unless absolutely necessary, and the female nurses are the same.
Its definitely a culture, and if the country is so disgusted that these things are happening why are the only incidents when they ask for change are the ones that make international media?
Its bad enough that the caste system is essentially slavery, but when things like days long rape is happening to children. I don’t think its just a pure rape argument either. There is so much wrong with the social system in India that needs to be sorted. The only places where women and children are treated as badly are in muslim countries.
It will never change because Indians enjoy the current system. The ones who are able to change the country dont, because the system benefits them.
Very well said. I’m so sorry to hear about the harassment you’ve faced in the course of your job. I agree with you, there are some fundamental cultural issues that allow this to continue, and that those who can change it choose not to. Thanks for commenting.
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The reason for the particular disgust when things go wrong in India is because India excites the world imagination as few other countries do, as the sociologist Dipankar Gupta says: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2013-03-30/edit-page/38144755_1_india-brics-rohingya-muslims
I am not sure that India should be proud of “exciting” anyone in this way.
I was just placing your “disgust” in context. Were you similarly agitated when such crimes occurred in the Honduras, or South Africa? It is because we are held to a higher standard that the outrage occurs. These higher standards are what we should be “excited” about. Long may they live.
I am similarly outraged when I hear of horrendous crimes in other parts of the world. To be honest I don’t believe that I do hold India to a higher standard than other countries. I actually find it a repulsive part of Indian culture that seems to think it is “better than” others.
Indian women have lost a great deal. Sexual repression in India is high and women paying the price combined with sleaze being avaliable thru films, net, mobiles and gaps in the haves and have nots. The male sex from neglected Indian masses from urban slums or feudal caste-rural India, misdirected by hero-oriented films and item-girl movie scenes, resorting to sexual crimes!
Will India ever come out of its fedual-caste-rural structure?
Nowadays when I read of rape stories in papers, it makes me feel more ashamed than angry. I mean, look at the rapists and some corner of the heart really stands bewildered at the ‘innovations’ they have adopted – from rods and bottles to candles. This makes me believe even more firmly that these patients require mental treatment.
I hardly believe that vigils or even stronger laws would improve the situation. I on the other hand, believe that
1. The Police department urgently needs to go through a complete reform so as to remove corrupt officers from the department and ensure that corruption does not eat the department up again. If the police becomes co-operative, the victims will come forward to complain against the wrong. And if the laws are enforced properly, the wrongdoers will be aptly punished.
2. Social reforms are the need of the hour. It is ironical that a woman who gets raped fears of the society and does not raise a voice. Why should a victim fear of the society? A person who has been pick-pocketed does not think of the society before going to the police. Why should the rape victim be fearful? This is where the two problems that you mention connect. The society poses a great barrier for women in India who are ‘trained’ to keep quite rather than complain. I agree that the change has started and that it will take long before the situation is amicable.
Thanks for your thoughts Arindam. I do agree with both your suggestions, but they both focus on a change in someone other than the perpetrator. Yes police need to enforce and yes women need to feel safe to speak up, but the people that actually do these crimes also need to understand and be responsible for their actions.
Contrary to what Rakhee perceives as the comments in the aftermath of rape cases being relating to that of a law and order problem, it is usually the patriarchial angle that is brought out by feminists to explain away such occurences. This was in prominent display during the Jyoti Singh Pandey gangrape aftermath. I had to exercise an immense degree of restraint not to lash out at these feminists at that time because I was enraged at their arguments that patriarchy and rapes had any connection whatsoever.
Nevermind that, when the opportunity to legislate came up, these feminists were stuck up on the issue of consensual sex age in the so called “anti-rape” bill (really the Criminal Law Amendment, 2013 bill). I wrote about this on my blog making the argument that the prosecution aspect needs to be strengthened rather than the above mentioned irrelevant aspects, but these feminists are too caught up in themselves to heed to anything rational.
There are related aspects of this rape phenomenon that need to be addressed such as legalisation of prostitution and rescinding the obscene behaviour law; both of these keep our society sexually repressed and inevitably lead to frustration which combined with lack or law and order produce the dastardly crimes against women (rape, acid attacks)
Your comments have reminded me why I hate the term “feminist” so much especially when used to describe “these feminists”.
That is a whole other philosophical discussion though. I don’t personally believe that we can explain away any of these horrible acts by one issue within society. I also don’t believe the we rape is a “phenomenon” or that it can be addressed by legalising prostitution. Prostitution is a means for consensual sex in exchange for money, rape is an act of power and abuse.
Just to clarify, I used the term phenomenon to mean as an observable pattern of behavior.
To reiterate, sexual crimes including rape must be solved through legislations and its implementation at the level of law and order as well as societal attitudes towards sex. The case for law and order is easily made but very poorly executed even at the stage of legislating leave alone implementation (as I showed in my blog post http://anupknair.wordpress.com/2013/03/14/the-lost-opportunity-anti-rape-bill/). In addition, the difficult case is the one that relates to societal attitudes towards sex (and for that matter public display of affection). While the difference between between rape and prostitution is clear as you mentioned, the fact is that that rapes happen when the sexual energy gets misdirected and perverted owing to repression. And repression takes such ugly forms such as the rapes we hear about. Repression in India is so extreme that even public displays of affection through say kissing is deemed to be obscene behaviour that is punishable under law. These aspects need to be taken into account before anyone even begins to parrot the patriarchy angle and confuse the discussion on rape.
Thanks for the clarification.
I don’t disagree with your thoughts on repression, it is palpable even at the most innocent levels here.
There was a panel discussion held by the Women’s Group on NDTV where a group of experts,i.e., people who make valid point based on a systematic, scientific and rational line of thinking, expressed what I felt were extremely valid concerns about the anti rape ordinance (unfortunately it’s a law now). The age of consent being only one of the things they think were unhappy with. If you already haven’t already, I strongly recommend that you watch it.
Personally I feel that having a provision in a law to allow the assumption of statutory rape in a situation where a 17 year old girl associates with a 18 year old boy is blatant moral policing. I wonder how you would feel if one of the many self proclaimed protectors of moral values of society came in to a coffee shop where they may say two teenagers and take them to the police and ask that a rape case be to files against the boy.
Also, I don’t know what your background is, professionally, so you may know more about this, but it is may understanding that a harsher punishment, like the death, only increases the burden of proof on the prosecution and makes is harder to get convictions. Try to watch the video. I won’t link it here because this is not a promotion, but if you try searching for “Women’s groups reject ordinance on rape laws, urge President not to sign it”, it’s the second video you get. It’s dated February 2, 2013.
Thanks I will look up the video and take a look.
In Australia (my point of reference) I believe the consent laws allow for a 2 year age gap between people, provided they are over a certain age.
In terms of death penalty over other penalties, I don’t know enough about the research on this to be able to make an appropriate comment at this time. However your comment on the burden of proof being higher does sound valid.
Obviously there are many things happening in India at the moment that are not fully known to those outside the country (comments about consensual sex age and the Criminal Law Amendment) and I am not aware of that detail, but I am dismayed about two aspects of your comment:
1. That you disparage the link between patriarchy and sexual assault when it is clearly quite strong; and
2. That you are so scathing in relation to people who describe themselves as feminists (no matter what their gender). It shows a bigotry and narrow-mindedness that is disappointing.
It is clear that you abhor these acts of violence against women and children , but such disrespect for those who would support equality for and the well-being of women is disappointing.
1. Please show me any research that shows this link between patriarchy and rapes. I assure you that you will be hardpressed to find such a link. At best, you may find a correlation but not a causal link. Take for example Islamic societies; do you think those societies are patriarchial? You would notice that the rape statistics there are much lower than countries such as the USA, Sweden, UK (developed and largely equitable societies which don’t have patriarchial attitudes).
2. There is a strong reason why I am scathing in my remarks against those who are toasted by many and viewed as leaders of any movement supposed to stem the ride of any undesirable forces. And the reason is their incompetence, their failure, their ineffectiveness, their misplaced sense of focus in dealing with problems, their weakness in getting coopted by the forces they are fighting against. All this ensures that the progress for the cause is slowly if ever barely made. And I hold these leaders to a very high level of standard.
I don’t endorse people making condescending comments towards others on my blog so I have edited your post. You are entitled to express your opinion but please be polite about it.
I also do not agree with you.
Rakhee, I don’t see where I have been condescending. I have simply pointed out a matter of different standards on a topic and I think it’s quite OK for people to have different level of standards. And please do recall that Duckie called me a bigot and a narrow minded person and I didn’t say a word against it except to accept his opinion about me. In any case, this post is for your personal consumption. Thanks for the intellectually stimulating discussions around here.
I too enjoy the stimulating discussion here. I have gone back and checked and Duckie did not call you a bigot or narrow-minded but some of your thoughts demonstrated those traits.
By the way, Duckie is female, not male as you have assumed.
Oops! Looks like my male chauvinism showed@ referring to Duckie as a male! (sorry, operating from a feverish state of mind for the past few days). Yes, you are right about Duckie referring to what I said as bigoted and narrow minded instead of calling me that. I chose to ignore that since I don’t want to get personal issues get in the way of discussions around a larger cause.
Although I totally understand the pain and agony you must be going through after reading about such incidents, your digression from objectivity is something I’m not comfortable with….
you’ve presented your opinion on what’s wrong, like significant number among us don’t treat women and children equally and that police should not be blamed. So WHAT? the difficult question is how to solve it?
The real reason why incidents keep on happening again and again is that ppl like us only identify various problems and do not take the next step of solving them….
your post would have been much more powerful had it suggested some ways to tackle these issues…..
I don’t ever portray myself as anything other than subjective in this post so I won’t apologise for “digressing from objectivity”.
I also don’t agree with you when you sau the reason these incidents happen is because “people like us” only identify the problem. These things happen because some people choose to abuse other people. However I take your point that some ideas of how to tackle this would be appropriate, however at present I do not feel that I have any answers that are appropriate. I will however continue searching.
In a country where there are 1 billion plus people crammed together and everyone is out to get theirs, personal freedom is luxury item which most citizens of India cannot afford. Add to this the archaic nature of most of our laws and the ad hoc way in which they are imposed, you get a situation where people can get away with almost anything. I’ll give you an example-In Guragaon, a suburb of Delhi which has many offices of various multinational companies providing BPO or KPO services, there was a flurry of cases of sexual assaults on women, back in 2011-2012, most of which happened late at night (after 10 pm). An outsourcing job often requires having to work late shifts and women who left their offices late were ‘easy targets’. When there was outrage in the public and a demand to provide preventative measures, a very senior official, I forget if it was a Police or a State officer, dug out an old law of the State of Haryana which says that women cannot be employed in shifts that end after 8 pm and so it was not the responsibility of the police to ensure their security.
When things like this happen it means that most people feel like they can get away with almost anything. Provided they have the resources and guile to manipulate the system properly. All this in a society where people are inclined to take use their own sense of ‘right and wrong’, which is often based on medieval system of moral beliefs, means that what is ‘right’ is what you can justify and get away with doing. Which is the case in most, if not all of the instances that you have mentioned here. The problem is that most people are dicks (rape, exploit, extort, those kind of dicks, not the piss in your beer kind) in general towards most other people because-
a.They think that they can get away with breaking a law and therefore they will break a law if it mean attaining a selfish goal-be it monetary gains, sexual release or a sense of power over another person. (Note: most people in India consider not having a baby girl a monetary gain)
b. They think that that’s how things work and that’s how they are supposed to work.
I read an article, almost half a decade ago. The author said that most men in India, when they see a man and a woman together out in public feel the same way a person who has gone without food for for a week would feel when they see someone eating a big burger with large fries. I feel this is a very accurate portrayal of the mentality of most Indian men when it comes to their attitudes towards women. In a society that is heavily patriarchal this means trouble, for the woman. And so men will find ways to justify getting what they want through force and exploitation and use whatever ‘moral values’ they have justify these acts. Once that mentality sets in. it’s a fatalistic attitude towards their actions, all the way from. You have already broken one law by finding out the gender of your future grandchild child ( a grave legal, offense punishable by long jail sentences for all involved) what’s stopping you from stomping on its mother ( also a grave legal, offense punishable by long jail sentences for all involved). We believe in God and we believe what we are doing is right and we accept our fates because God will save us.
That was a long rant! But the point is that when you have a somewhat chaotic legal framework and a dysfunctional justice system where ‘getting away with it’ is easy, present in a country where even the highly educated often using their own misguided sense of right and wrong to govern their actions, the most vulnerable sections of society will often be denied equality. In India this section is women and children. So crimes committed against them will be brutal and shocking because they will often be crimes motivated by a sense of impunity. The only hope is to empower the weaker sections of society, which I believe is happening now. Change, in India, is always a slow and painful process. But things will keep moving along as long as we have people, like you, voicing their opinion about these injustices. Giving words to the discontentment that many feel but cannot express, So I think it’s okay if you are disgusted by India, but please continue to be verbal about it.
Thanks for your thoughts, long but eloquent. What you say does make sense, but I still struggle with the level of depravity.
Don’t worry, I will continue to be vocal, you do too!
It was just yesterday that someone made a remark, “Life isn’t easy”. I was very amused. Not having all the answers isn’t the problem. But not trying to find them is. The depravity of crimes against those who have no recourse against them is something that should bother everyone You keep trying in your own way to stop it . So will I.
Rakhee, I have to agree with Angela here. The whole thing is that rape IS actually a different crime. The other things are VERY characteristic of underdeveloped, uneducated, and superstitious population AND can be found in contrasts in the same country, town and street- depending on the exposure and education level of the people involved.
Rape to me (though i agree it is a crime), is more of a sickness or mental illness. The people who do it are ‘different’ and they mostly do it because of:
1. An uncontrollable biological urge that is the result of the illness
2. The lack of fear of repercussions (or that the sickness overshadows the fear)
Unfortunately, neither issues will solve by just candlelight vigils and people coming on the roads to protest it. These issues will ONLY be solved when people exercise their voting rights to vote for a political party which has the inclination to enhance education. Again, remember that this is a vicious circle because i have always believed that Politics is a dirty game that believes in deliberately ignoring the downtrodden so that they remain uneducated so that they can never really educate themselves and so that they can really never wield enough power to bring about “change.”
Which means then that a LOT of responsibility lies with YOU and ME to bring out the change that we desire because Politicians in third world countries definitely don’t want that.
My thoughts on the issue of rape a slightly harsher. I believe that a sickness such as this has NO immediate cure.. it will take a very long time to educate people to the extent of helping them overcome an illness and new people with this illnesses is always born.. everyday.. somewhere on earth. So then what do we do?
I say flog them and then hang them in public. Sounds very unlike the person I am. But believe me, that is the ONLY short term answer to this epidemic. A punishment so severe that it will scare the living daylights out of even the sick!
I agree with you partially. Rape is sometimes a mental illness, but I am not yet convinced that all the perpetrators have no control over the actions, and do not believe in allowing them that “out” from their crime.
I am not a fan of flogging, but certainly am feeling a lot more comfortable with the idea of castration.
While I generally share your disgust for India and it’s insensitive citizens, I believe you have jumped the gun on this one. The link doesn’t even point to the source of the news article reporting the story about the HIV blood transfusions. Also, it is an allegation which is still being investigated.
Personally, I think the rapes shouldn’t be lumped together with the other topics (even though they seem particularly brutal here lately). Rape happens everywhere. There are fathers in the U.S. who rape their 5 year old daughters daily, criminals who rape little girls and little boys in western countries every day — sick bastards who I can’t wrap my head around either but… that is not a crime specific to India by any means. Although the police encouraging victims and their families not to report it — well, that’s another story but hopefully that is changing now little by little.
The shame and punishment by some for having a girl child or the brutality of in-laws or the mistreatment of women to a degree that makes the head spin…well, Yeah!! THAT is VERY specific to India (and Afghanistan, Pakistan, etc etc etc…). This country has sooooo far to go still to reach International standards of equality and human rights that it truly is holding India back from becoming as powerful a country as it really should be given the talent and innovation here.
I understand what you are saying about rape, but I believe it is far more pervasive here then in many other places, and the extent of the brutality goes without saying.
Yeah, I think Aussies are better than Americans so your experience of daily news on this topic would be skewed to a kinder place than mine. We have some really sick bastards there and they do completely heinous things to innocent victims day in and day out. America has the highest murder rate of any country not at war or with civil unrest. Highest incest, highest …. you get the picture. BUT, we do love our girl babies and in ‘my world’ there we all love gays, blacks, whites, and everyone in between and don’t force our daughters to marry rapists or someone they don’t want to for the good of the family – so we are good in those departments 🙂 Brutality included, I still don’t see India as worse than the U.S. for rape.
Totally off topic, but LOVE your auto spell checker in the comment field. WordPress plugin? 🙂
better = less violent, less criminal
Angela, I am still not sure I agree entirely with you on this point, after all 53% of children in India are subject to some form of sexual abuse. That is a ridiculously high figure, I am not sure the US beats it! But then this isn’t a competition I want any country to win.
I do however take your point that perhaps Australia is less violent in many ways, but I don’t have the figures to support that so please don’t quote me on it.
As for the spell checker, I have no idea but if it is special then it must be a wordpress plugin or something in my theme.
ya your just saying all this as you are indian trying to be american
Absolutely not. I’m Indian origin born in Australia, which is quite clear from my profile. I’m saying this because while I may love a lot about India, there is an awful lot to be disgusted by as well for anyone, regardless of where they are from.
You are disgusting Malliaka. You actually enrage me with this. Its like saying that you only hate rape because you want to be australian.. ffs