Thursday, 21 April 2011
Very recently, there have been a few cases of suicides reported in Mumbai, by young married women who were allegedly tormented by the in-laws. In at least two cases, the unfortunate, desperate ladies also took the lives of their little children, and I can’t think of a sadder tragedy. Remember, such incidents that happen in urban India get a wide media coverage. One can only imagine the number of similar suicides in India’s heartland, most of which don’t get reported. Or even noticed.
And quite rightly, criminal cases are filed against the in-laws. Most of them don’t reach their logical conclusion, as abetment to suicide is almost always oral, therefore difficult to prove in a court. And the accused often don’t leave footprints behind. So the cases inevitably collapse, and the alleged culprits walk free. But that’s another story.
What disturbs me is the role (or the lack of it) of the girl’s parents in these gruesome incidents. That never gets discussed, never gets investigated, and perhaps if it was, the rate of such suicides may actually reduce. Let’s never forget that when a dependent woman gets harassed by her in-laws, her only recourse for help, emotionally and otherwise, is her parents, brothers and sisters. And if that doesn’t happen, if her folks are unable to provide support and understand her predicament, the poor woman has nowhere to turn to. And this helplessness could be a key catalyst for killing oneself.
Questions that need to be asked: Did her parents agree to give dowry during the marriage? If so, they have already participated in the sad outcome. Most in-laws who crave dowry will never be satiated with a one-off payment, and much like blackmailers, will keep returning for more. Did the parents insist that the tormented woman ‘somehow’ make the bad marriage work, to ‘compromise’ and live with her wicked in-laws? Did they fling the stigma of ‘social badnaami’ of a broken marriage in her face? Did they offer to support her financially when she expressed the desire to move back with her family? Did they take her frantic phone calls seriously? Were they there for her??? Questions, questions, questions. And they never get answered.
Point is: Sure, put the errant in-laws under serious pressure. But parents must also do some hard soul searching on how they contributed to their daughter’s death. Directly or indirectly.
Friday, 8 April 2011
I am quite certain a vast majority of the Hazare fans have little idea of what exactly the Lok Pal bill is all about. And no, they don’t even care. Basically, the citizens were waiting for an opportunity to vent their frustrations out on the corrupt netas, and Hazare sahib provided that platform. In fact, I think the real turning point of the movement was when a group of feisty volunteers kicked some politicians out of Jantar Mantar. That gesture made many fence sitters jump to the side of Hazare. We are all Annas now. And we want the dirty, slimy, creepy chor netas punished. Big time.
Fair enough. I think the angst is more than justified. The politicians of India have been sucking the nation dry since independence, and it was high time the usually apathetic nation revolted. So far so good. And surely the Lok Pal bill will be passed under Anna’s watchful eye, and corrupt practices amongst the political class will get a little controlled.
However, simply fixing the dirty netas isn’t the solution. Because corruption runs in our arteries, we have all contributed to it, we are all corrupt, we are all chors. Because in our raging anger, we seem to have overlooked one key factor in the equation: It’s just not possible for our leaders to be corrupt unless we, the people, are corrupting them. So the source of bhrashtachaar is actually us. Not the netas. We give them votes in exchange for television sets. Industrialists ‘donate’ them funds in exchange for licenses, permits and other favours. We fall at their feet when they ‘grace’ our lives with their whirlwind visits (thus acknowledging them to be our monarchs and mai baaps). We are happy to bribe them to get our kids into good schools, secure government jobs, get plum transfers, get water connections, get jhopadpattis legalized, get out of legal troubles… the list is endless. And worse, we also ensure the babus, the police force, the custom officers, the municipality clerks, the lower court judges, the RTO dudes, the IT officers, etc, etc, also get bribed so we can benefit out of turn in every walk of life.
In short, we have made the nation corrupt. We are the real chors out here.
So yes, by all means support Anna. More power to him! By all means stand up for the nation. By all means diss the greedy netas. By all means wear the ribbons and the topis and the badges.
But do also take a moment off and stare at the mirror. Long and hard. The root of the problem is staring you in the face.