The voice of the oppressed now resonates; it seeks an end to the malady. The voice now reaches the echelons of power and the sanitized confines of drawing room, mostly emanating from the histrionic filled oratory in the cool confines of television studios. Oppression of the gender that bears life has become a hallmark of the times we live in. No, it has been a hallmark since humongous number of generations. Perhaps the voice of the oppressed is heard a little louder now; stirring our conscience, hopefully; sparking discussion on matters that was always safe, in the attic; and causing action to cause deterrence, thankfully.
I will not discuss the ‘Aarushi’ double murder verdict, its fallacies and its merit; I will not discuss the Tejpal turmoil, tenacity of the claims, tumbling of revered institutions or trite conspiracy theories. I will also not write about venerable Justices and their tribulation with justice; or the millions of maladies that women face, at the hands of the marauder; who also turns murderer of body and soul both. Setting something straight by an exemplary execution, by delivering the rightly deemed justice, by empowering the oppressed while bearing empathy, are just, practical, warranted and vehement need of the hour.
But then that would not stand the test of something more beautiful yet obfuscating, something more potent yet vulnerable, and something that is the greatest gift of the species, yet its bane too, the human mind. How has the oppression of women been so systemic that it almost gives the impression to have been encoded in genes, dominantly expressing themselves, part of our fundamental DNA. Or is it just the acceptance of a fact which however foul is passed off as fortuitous, unfortunate, and fractured? Do we as a human race, with sweeping decline in ability for deep thinking, drastic depletion of lax time, ponder over where we went amiss?
As much as the finding of the golf club, or the blood-soaked pillow cover, the lift at the hotel, the hotel room, the letters, are all discussed threadbare; as much as sections of penal codes, the Vishakha guidelines, the pronouncement of verdicts analyzed intently; a discourse on the psychological verity is paramount. For, where does transgression stem from, where does misdemeanour get impetus from, how does man become so monstrous? The arrows shall point to the ‘thought’. The all power and all pervasive thought. The spark that a thought sets off gains momentum akin to that of a cascade, which when reaches the nadir expresses tremendous energy.
Thought feeds both on thoughts and actions. We were born unconditioned, a clean slate, but then thoughts got added, actions analyzed, environment internalized, and we grew up into what we are. Radical removal of raucous thoughts would require that un-conditioning. And for that behemoth roles have to be played by institutions, with sometimes an altruistic intent.
The moral science class that gave away to an extra hour for ‘entrance preparation’ cries to be reinstated. Regulation of TV and Internet content, not to the extent of being draconian, both institutionally and by a family is essential. Case in point, innocuous appearing deodorant ads reek of sexism; and if you think it doesn’t influence anyone go find out which ‘deo’ the teenager picks. Onus should also be on professional educational institutes to both sow the seeds of gender equality and uproot weeds; for a large time of the life is spent there. Pressure cooker education situations could and does in many cases culminate in high-earning wife-bashing professionals.
Dire situations call for dire measures. If you are in denial, you live very comfortably, oblivious to the rot that spreads, which god forbid could engulf you one day. If you are in affirmative then you need to do your bit. Would a Supreme Court, a committee, a National Commission for Women, set things right in this country? Definitely not. It will take more to tango. Media sensibilities, political will, effective policing, faster and accurate justice system, victim support systems, sensitive and sensible educational setups, they will help. But what will also help touch the core of the issue is introspection, an honest looking into our thoughts, both individually and collectively. Where did we go amiss? Where are we going amiss? For thoughts mould us, and we mould the thoughts.