---- Editorial ----
Army is not above law
Congress leader Sandip Dikshit's statement of comparing army chief to street goon
is huge disrespect to men in uniform. The political parties should keep army out
of politics. Congress leadership led by its vice president Rahul Gandhi immediately
distanced itself from his statement. BJP strongly criticized Dikshit and sought apology
from Congress president in this regard. In the last 3 year on several occasions Army
has been used for propaganda by political parties especially by the ruling party.
For years Indian army has acquired respect and adulation across the world for its
secular nature and ability to remain neutral. Indian army is considered to be one
of the most discipline armed forces. However gradual politicization of army has started
and sadly army is maintaining stoic silence. Also the right wing media and activists
try to portray anyone who questions army as anti-national. Even though there is massive
admiration and respect for army, people should not forget that army is not above
law. In India the constitution is supreme and no one is above it. The armed personnel
are also human and prone to committing mistakes. No one should be allowed to save
their skin using nationalism as shield.
---- Readers Forum ----
Rape and patriarchal mentality
It torments my heart to witness everyday horrendous news of rapes perpetrated throughout
the country. The 2015 National Criminal Records Bureau reports a decline in rape
cases from 2014 at 5.7%. It should be noted that this numbers are not indicative
of the ground zero situation. This numbers are a result of various complex factors
operating at a same time while individually applying varying degrees of influence
on the result: Population, literacy, social structure, judicial efficiency are some
of the factors. Kerala reported 1256 cases of rape while Bihar reported 1041 cases,
despite the fact that population of Bihar is 3 times that of Kerala. The social stigma
as well as the delayed judicial system associated also leads to under reporting of
It's been 5 years since the sinister Nirbhaya gang rape case which evoked our national
consciousness and women safety became a national issue. Nirbhaya fund was created
with a corpus of 1000 crore, changes were brought in the juvenile justice system
which provided provision for trying 16- 18 years as adults in cases of heinous crime.
Fastrack Mahila courts were also established. Even then why rape continues to pest
our society, is a question that we need to find answers to. Shakti mills gangrape(2013),
rape of six year old at Vibgyor high(2014), Uber rape case and Bulandshahr gangrape
cases are some diabolical instances post 2012 December gangrape in Delhi.
The solutions are multi-pronged and require reforms across various institutions.
The final judgment in 2012 December Delhi case came in May 2017 in which the Supreme
Court upheld the death sentence of the accused. This 5 year delay in pronouncing
judgement will make most of us disillusioned with the judicial system, least of all
the resource ridden and economically broke lower strata of the society. The need
of the hour is to fast track the cases concerning women safety and introduction of
Fast track mahila court has been a move ahead in this direction. The manpower shortage
can be addressed by notching up appointment without compromising on quality and by
reappointing retired judges. Secondly, the armed forces, men in uniform committing
rape under the cover of AFSPA should be tried for rape instead of providing them
protection. The essence of AFSPA is to empower the armed forces to fight militancy
and anti national element giving them immunity from prosecution. The immunity should
not be extended for indulging in looting the dignity of women and sexualised violence.
However, the most important step that can be taken is from the ground level of society
i.e, Family. There has to be a change in the patriarchal mentality. Sons should be
taught to respect women and it should be coupled with the empowerment of women financially
as well as socially. Daughters should not be treated as a liability and kept within
the confines of kitchen. The performance of girls in CBSE and the fact that three
girls from Arunachal Pradesh cleared UPSC 2016 augments the above statement. Proper
schooling and parenting of boys is of paramount importance in this mission. The real
fight against the social menace called rape can be won in our homes and in our thoughts.
Judicial system, policing, changes in legislation will only act as a secondary arm
in this struggle.
Reducing our scientific temper to tears
Recently, a High Court judge has given a statement to the effect that a peahen drinks
peacock's tears to get a peachick! Some years ago, there was mass hysteria when the
idols of Lord Ganesha started sucking milk in many parts of our country. Some regressive
forces tried to siphon off whatever scientific temper we had at our disposal with
such siphoning trick.
It is a shame that no government in our country is eager to help people discharge
their fundamental constitutional duty "to develop the scientific temper, humanism
and the spirit of inquiry and reform;" as enshrined in the Article 51A (h) of our
Constitution. Even the government of Kerala had meekly submitted to age - old prejudices
of prohibiting women of menstruating age to go on pilgrimage.
Our political parties are going soft towards regressive prejudices or sometimes
even using such myths in their favour as they think those nonsense stuffs will give
them vote - bank dividend. It is an irony that when Raja Rammohan Roy had successfully
guided even a reluctant foreign company (East India) to the path of reform in the
eighteen century, Davolkar and the likes could not take us from the narrow lane which
is potholed with myths, superstitions and prejudices to the constitutional highway
of scientific temper in this twenty-first century.
Given some advertisements for controlling others are mushrooming day by day, they
must have been doing a brisk trade. This means that the umpteenth number of our brothers
and sisters are being slow poisoned in the name of black magic!
Word has it that some couples are now preferring a Caesarean to normal delivery
and specifying the time of incision so that the baby can come out at the auspicious
time that has been predicted by their astrologer! If such illogical propaganda in
favour of ludicrous myths, superstitions and prejudices is being allowed to be filled
the media and thereafter the mind space, then a time is bound to come when we start
committing suicides at an auspicious time and place to make ourselves heavenward
bound! Indeed, the need of the hour is to stop the menace of further reducing our
scientific temper to tears.
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