Monday, 24 December 2012


The Delhi gang-rape is all over news now. Just read an article by Pratiksha Baxi on  I had never gone to this kafila site before. Now about the article, which is my take on the gang-rapes and the subsequent protests in Delhi.
All very eloquent and full of vitriol against rightist parties for demanding the death penalty for rape or against the students for demanding castration, but at the end of the day no solution is suggested. Except platitudes, pious wishes, references to Scandinavian countries where light punishments have supposedly resulted in fewer rapes (forgetting that in those countries a small population, extremely good governance and relative absence of social tension all have a part to play). The article is just another Left-Liberal tirade which typically raises a lot of questions but answers none.
So what is the solution? Yes, I think the death penalty would be a real deterrent, although the judge should have the latitude to prescribe Life Imprisonment which must be without parole; castration is an option. Death penalty should be indicated in particularly bestial rapes, such as gang-rapes, rapes with serious and deliberate injuries inflicted on the victim, etc. Not just for rapes, but death penalty should also be an option for acid attacks on women which really subject them to a living death.
Marital rape must be brought within the purview of punishments.
And what about female foeticide? the doctors doing it should be liable for Life Imprisonment. That will be a step in favour of inculcating respect for women.
The Criminal Procedure Code must be radically rewritten to accelerate the trial process so as to complete it within no more than a year.
There is no point in asking the government to do social reforms to prevent rape. Government means bureaucracy and no one has ever heard about social reforms being brought about by writing notes on a file. It will have to be done the way Raja Ram Mohun Roy banned suttee, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar legalized widow remarriages for Hindus, Harvilas Sarda banned child marriage. Social Welfare organizations, intellectuals, opinion-makers will have to do that job.
And if in doing this if one tries to be politically correct the whole purpose will be lost. There is a dictum that a woman is a man’s tilling field, the man can go and till the field whenever he pleases. It effectively legalizes marital rape. There is even a dictum that the wife can be beaten by the husband if she refuses sex. And where are these dicta to be found? In the Quran, nowhere else (I think the second one is in some Haadis). So if the government or opinion-makers shy away from doing anything about it for fear of interfering in the minority religion (with the thought of the vote-bank at the back of the head) then we might as well continue to be politically correct and go on making empty noises. Till the next gang-rape.

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