by N.S. Venkataraman 5 October 2020
The recent assault and abuse of a poor and innocent woman in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh has justifiably raised nationwide concern and condemnation. Obviously, such a reaction implies that the basic value system in Indian society is sound and is intact, as the indignation expressed and frustration feeling voiced by the people about such incidents is spontaneous. Certainly, there is a huge concern in the nation about the abuse of women in a variety of ways.
This is not the first time that such women abuse has taken place in the country and it has been frequently reported. While some cases get a high level of prominence, there are several other similar instances that go unnoticed or reported in a corner in newspapers.
Who should be blamed for this situation?
While the need is that the safety of women should be protected by initiating meaningful measures and causes responsibly investigated, unfortunately, when such incidents take place, the politicians use it for getting political scores against the opponents and the media use it for increasing their TRP. Surely, the present incident in Uttar Pradesh would not be a matter of concern for them after a few days, when their objectives would be achieved. The media glare and the political attention for the victim would fade away too soon, leaving the parents and family members to grieve amongst themselves helplessly.
It is true that women abuse has been a matter of historical subject in India for several centuries and many reform measures have been introduced and the status of women in India has improved considerably. Still, the ultimate goal of securing absolute safety for women is far away.
The ground reality is that violence against the weak and exploitation of the weak is part of human behavior, whether it is a man or woman. Men act violently against men, women act violently against women, men act violently against women, and sometimes women also act violently against men. In this process, the weak suffer the utmost.
The ultimate solution to this problem is Mahatma Gandhi’s philosophy, which preaches against violence in thoughts and actions.
Violence against helpless women in Hathras in Uttar Pradesh has occurred at a time when the country has been preparing to celebrate Gandhi Jayanthi Day. On 2nd October, Gandhi Jayanti was celebrated without much reference to the non-violence philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi, with political parties accusing each other and holding demonstrations, as part of their vote bank politics. The victimised woman would be turning in her grave if she would come to know about the behavior of the politicians and media personnel.
Such bickerings between the political parties and sensation oriented media campaign will not help the cause of women’s safety.
The country needs not only strong laws and their implementation but highly heard sane voices against violence in thoughts and actions amongst individuals. The battle for the future has to be fought in the minds and hearts of men and women in India. The bitter fact is that such sane voices are seldom heard in India these days.
The politicians and the media personnel who have made such big noise about the violence against an innocent woman in UP are more focused on the blame game rather than on the failure to create a climate of amity and harmony in the country and preservation of value systems.
Of course, Prime Minister Modi has been frequently stressing about the need for work culture, disciplined life, cleanliness, and value systems. However, the media seldom report such lofty themes propounded by Mr. Modi in a prominent way and sometimes, do not mention it at all. In any case, one man talking on these lines is not enough and multiple people at various levels should echo such a voice of wisdom that should be heard in nook and corner of the country including in rural areas.
Unfortunately, today, the country has gone under the stranglehold of the politicians, most of whom are known to be corrupt and dishonest and do not command any moral stature. It appears that such politicians who have good contact with various strata of society do not have the character to build a morally and ethically resurgent India. The country cannot depend upon them for such targets.
It appears that the only way now is that the government should issue an order that all schools and colleges must compulsorily have a moral education class at least for one hour every week and it should form part of the curriculum to conduct an examination.
Credible citizens, who are available in large numbers all over India and who have concerns about the need for non-violent and ethical society, should be drawn to take such classes in schools and colleges.
Inculcating value systems amongst the children in the formative age group appears to be the only possible way to promote a society in a quick time, where moral and ethical forces would gain upper hand.