An Ordinance to Change Little

When the Nirbhaya case happened, the whole world was up in arms, and directed their rage at the government of the time for not doing enough to protect women. I was not one among the crowd as this was the gist of my argument back then -

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“These incidents are only partly down to insufficient enforcement of laws and women’s safety, but far more indicative of a rot in society around us that is spilling over into such horrors. Blaming society’s issues on those who represent society is misplaced. We sit around and pin the blame on everyone else when we contribute to a society that’s in this state and when the only lasting solution is societal change.

The only thing the authorities can do is either find ways to punish more strongly or enforce better, but neither of those fixes the core problem. Pinning the blame entirely on them while pretending society is helpless and has had no part in the wrong is absurd. We refuse to take responsibility and are happy about quick fixes that look good and make us feel good about ourselves while actually changing little”

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That argument remains the same today about the ordinance that was passed that so many are patting themselves on the back for. Putting aside my own moral concerns about the death penalty, this is literally the definition of a quick fix that looks good, makes people feel good and yet ultimately changes little. We’re exactly where we were some 5.5 years ago.

In addition, this is a case where society has undeniably shown how integral they are to the rot that’s causing these horrific cases. They’ve then taken it a step further by brazenly embracing it. Starting with the majority religious community demanding unity with the perpetrators because they’re from the same religion and were doing something against minorities, and continuing on with the members of the legal fraternity itself refusing to allow a charge sheet to be filed for the very same reasons. If that isn’t bad enough, those in power have continued playing games of “whataboutery” (even in official press conferences) and then used (and continue to use) their paid social media crews to spread disinformation to defend this and deem the perpetrators innocent. This kind of co-ordinated use of available machinery to defend something so horrific is something that I can’t recall having ever happened before and it’s sad to see how many are falling for it.

That is what I would protest against today and don’t have much hope for any political party protesting (After all, who wants to lose voters). Protest the nature of a cruel, selfish and misogynist society that refuses to look in the mirror at what it has become. One that looks like it has elected a government that reflects its ideals of becoming a majoritarian state where their hatred and bigotry is justified and even empowered while the under privileged minorities seem doomed to suffer at every turn.

UPDATE — This post comes to mind from the time of the Nirbhaya case and it still holds true today. That a new government has come in and possibly almost gone since then and we’re having these same discussions is testament to how we’re doing nothing to understand or fix the root cause and simply window dressing. —

This piece in the Atlantic articulates things better than I could about India’s Vicious Patriarchy —

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