India has embarked on a journey; a large public sentiment has been born of the sheer indignity and hideousness of a story so vile that I cannot, with any conscionable rationale, bear to repeat it, even unto myself. So I will not, if even it only serves to stop-dead this noise, before a state of excess begins to work a power of desensitization into the collective conscience of our traumatized people. I’ve cringed at the sensationalism of our macabre media, and have even taken personal offense over the anti-male sentiment that is currently brewing in the Indian blogosphere. I’ve argued with friends and have, more importantly, argued with myself. I have a solution that I know will work, and I will follow it myself. It is simple.
I’ve borne witness to some infantile, ineffectual and insensitive finger-pointing. Some blame has been placed on the inaction of men. Much blame has been placed on the actions of men. This(rhetoric) is as atrocious a crime against equality(and humanity) as any cheap leer from a blithering ill-intentioned idiot on a Delhi bus. But therein lies the distinction I want to make. The condition of women in India is not pretty. Women are still oppressed, and in most households, it is the way of life, as practiced by the mothers themselves. Schools and colleges practice segregation and actively discourage the intermingling of the vastly diverse community. All of this does create a great divide, it births an “us and them” sentiment, and ultimately leads to the ill-treatment of the resultant other. But, rape does not grow out of such seeds. No disrespect can blossom into rape. Nor is rape a frustrated outburst of repressed sexuality, it is not. Rape is a crime against humanity. Rape is a shadow in the ocean of darkness, a darkness that we can neither see nor fathom, in our world of infinite beauty.
Men do not rape. Women do not rape. Monsters do. The distinction is important. These are the same monsters that dismember children and blind them, before sending them out to beg. These are the same monsters that enjoy the thrill of taking a life so much that they do it again, as ritual. These are the monsters that set off assault rifles in elementary schools and movie theaters. These are the monsters that fly airplanes into buildings. These are monsters. They are driven by darkness. Our world is full of it.
We do not see the darkness in our world, nor do we want to admit to ourselves of its presence, and for good reason. It is because our world, is indeed, infinitely beautiful. Every ray of sunshine sends our collective hearts aflutter and every moonlit night delights us in special, delightful ways. We cannot fight fires with fire. We cannot fight fires with fuel either. This is the reason I see only futility in protests and outrage. To improve the condition of women in India(or in any part of the world), it takes an active effort of the populace. It starts at the source, with the parents and their parenting, and it plays out through our time spent in schools and colleges, with teachers and friends brought up through different parenting. I do believe that time can put out any fire, and time will. The condition of women will improve, and it will take time. But it will not stop the rapes, the murders or the torture. Only love and beauty can rid the world of that darkness. I believe in the protests and the rallies, I believe in the outcries and the blogposts, I do believe that any conversation is better than an impassive silence. But I also do think that the object of such effort must be on improving the condition of human life; misplaced anger merely fans the flames.
I do not know how to identify the monsters that I speak of, nor do I know how to cure them. But, I do know that if every single one of us can bring some beauty into this world in our own unique ways, we of this already beautiful world, such beauty will affect at least one other in delightfully positive ways. And I do know that no person affected by such beauty, be it a man with a warmth in his heart and wonder in his eyes, or a woman with a soul filled with purpose and a song at the end of her lips, can ever be driven to murder, rape or any crime against humanity.