Counterpoint: The dignity of a woman
Counterpoint: The dignity of a woman
By Vivekanand Jha*
Hasn’t the gory spectacle of the murder of Anjali Singh, a young woman, whose body was dragged for almost twelve kilometres- between Sultanpur to Kanjhawala in Delhi- in the naked state on January 1, 2023, failed to stimulate the conscience of the nation? Just a few months ago, the Shraddha murder case in Mehrauli in Delhi in September 2021, had already numbed the national conscience when Aaftab Poonawala, a psychic, killed his long-time girlfriend, cutting her body into pieces, and preserved the parts of her body in the freeze.
With the national capital leading the crime against women, the sorry saga of women’s safety in the country today speaks volumes about India increasingly being an unsafe place for a woman today. It is unsafe even in the air – only last Friday, January 7, 2023, the Delhi Police arrested one Shankar Mishra, who is accused of urinating on an elderly woman on an Air India flight in November 2022, from Bengaluru.
A decade ago, the brutal murder of Nirbhaya in 2012 put the nation to an abysmal shame. But things have not changed as far as atrocities on women are concerned. This growing menace of crime against women is not merely only confined to Delhi or other metropolises. Only in August last year in Ranchi, Ankita Singh was killed by a spurned lover, a neighbour threw acid at another girl Jyoti‘s face who was reportedly recuperating in RIMS in Ranchi.
It won’t be an exaggeration to say that women, far from being an object of veneration, are increasingly being objectified by the roving predatory mindset which lustfully degrades women. Can we blame it on the evergrowing exposure to pornography sites on the internet?
The crime against women has been assuming new nomenclatures and newer dimensions: The latest buzzword in the polity is, love jihad. Further, other myriad crimes of women put to death on dowry issues; the family disputes leading to severe assaults, often leading to wanton casualties. Also, the young women, in many such instances, fall casualty to their own father’s or brother’s lust, incest, which are seldom reported to the police, for the victims keep it wrapped within them, abstaining from reporting to the police for the obvious reason: Where the saviour becomes the predators, who should they repose their faith in?
The National Crime Records Bureau data on women-related crime is a vindication of how the commodification of women has become a new trend. The total number of rape cases in Delhi amounts to 997 which is the highest in Union territories. NCRB data shows in 2021, the total national crime was, 2,49, 192, out of which the crime against women by their husbands and relatives amounted to 2557, against outraging the modesty of women, it was 1840, and against dowry, it was 110. The above statistics invariably suggest a grim scenario for the women in the country; in fact, women are nowhere safe, and it is their safety that rings an alarm bell across the nation.
Gone seem the days when women were regarded with awe and reverence; where the deification of women in our scriptures became sacrosanct in our according respect and dignity to women, as ancient India stood as the living testimony: such lofty characters like Sita, Ansuiya, Ahilya and Savitri, in ancient India– and queen of Jhansi, Jyoti bi Phule, Sharda Mata, in Modern India– showcasing valour and gravity, the feminism in India had the sense of respectability attached to it.
Ours is a country where the Mother Divine expresses Herself in form of goddesses Kali, Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati. The epic proportion to which the glorious creation of Sri Aurobindo, loftily strives to portray the virtuoso character of Savitri, an ancient character of India, the chastity personified, speaks of the glory of Indian women in such loftiest of terms.
‘Yatra Nariyashya pujyante ramante tatra devta’—how the stanza which luminously showcased the veneration of women in the national psyche, is put to shreds by this newly evolved India of the twenty-first century. It is high time we are reminded of the fact that women in India are feminine aspects and dimensions of the Creator.
However, a predatory mindset is getting institutionalised, which should be the cause of concern in society today. It is hight time we fail to stop this menace at the earliest through a collective national resolve.
*Author, Academician and Public Intellectual. Views expressed are personal.