The trial for India's soul

Two days back a 23-year old medical student and her friend saw a movie and got into a private bus around 10 pm in Delhi. Little did they know, that their evening would take such a turn for the horrific. Within minutes, the 6 males inside the bus started verbally and physically abusing the girl and her friend. The girl was snatched away, gang-raped and repeatedly beaten with an iron rod on her abdomen. They finally threw the semi-naked couple on the streets. While this crime was going on, the bus driver was calmly driving the bus around the streets of India's capital including crossing three police patrol points.

Is this the country I want to call home?

Gang-rape is not unusual in this country. Every once in a while, we come across men who turn into beasts and throw all regard for human life and decency to the wind for a few minutes of savage pleasure. But still such a brazen violation of every tenet of human dignity inside our own National Capital is a chilling reminder of the sickness that resides in the hearts of some Indian men.

Hinduism, the major religion of this country, places women on a supreme pedestal. Even Vishnu is identified by the Vedas by the position of his consort within his heart. How can such degenerate, vile minds flourish within a country that cherishes her women? We have had women Prime Ministers, Presidents, Chief Ministers, Judges and Bureaucrats, why can't we make India safe for women even after all this?

The opposition is obviously gunning for the Delhi Government and for the lives of the perpetrators of this heinous crime. For a change, I whole-heartedly support it. The Delhi Government has miserably failed in protecting its women and has played a crucial role in the transitioning of our Capital into the Rape Capital of India.

Capital punishment for rape or gang-rape will no-doubt make many lawyers and human rights activists queasy. Leave alone 'rarest of the rare', such incidents are no longer even 'rare' in India. They will undoubtedly object to making scapegoats of just these criminals to teach a wider lesson. While there are valid concerns from either side, I believe that this incident should be taken in a wider perspective. This is not just about justice for this one girl. This is a trial for India's soul. How many more young girls must be devoured before we wake up? I consider rape to be a greater assault on the right to life than even murder.

Public humiliation of the perpetrators of this crime will undoubtedly appease many sections of the public, but that alone is not enough. Heads must roll in the establishment of the government and the police. Let each and every police constable on his rounds remember that he will not survive another rape within Delhi.

Education is often cited as the tool to weed out the animalistic tendencies of the human mind. But I strongly believe that irrespective of education, tradition and culture, vermin will always exist. It is up to us to root them out. These are people who will claim to be protecting 'Indian culture' while raping innocent women.

Let us not let such people hold our souls in ransom. Let us snatch away the soul of this country from them. Let us show them that even though India has a high toleration level for crime, touching our women and children is where we draw the line - a strong, inviolable line. 

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