God bless India were the words chosen by the Orissa nun who had been mob raped in August to end the almost half an hour statement recounting her horrific tale. In a controlled and choked tone she related how she had been abused, humiliated, violated and defiled. Her narrative was graphic. She described everything she was subjected to including the total apathy of the police.
I sat in total silence, dumbfounded and shocked. Her last words carried terrifying portent. Which India was she blessing? The one that had stood silent and watched her ordeal? The one that had refused to give her justice? The one that claimed thousands years of civilisation and tradition but could not protect one of its own? Or the one that today was using her harrowing ordeal to garner political brownie points?
Which religion are we defending as we chose to violate a woman of faith? In which God's name were such acts perpetrated? And what makes seemingly innocuous human beings commit such horror?
The questions are endless, the answers few or empty. I was shocked beyond words by the pathetic and pitiable defense put up by a guest at a talk show debating the issue: the rape has not been proved he shouted. I would like to ask him what more proof did he need than the woman herself saying on national TV that she was raped. Need I remind him that it is not easy for any woman to come out in the open, least of all one who has taken wows of chastity? But who is listening, no one is really interested in the plight of the poor woman. Every one is seeking his pound of flesh.
There are more disturbing questions, the ones that address the cause and not the effect, the ones that are never asked for fear of revealing what we are not ready to hear. Why is this happening? What is making people act in such dastardly ways? What is ailing our society? What lies behind it all? Where are we heading?
who invade the privacy our homes through innumerable TV programmes and intoxicate us with nonsense? I wonder why not one of them has ever denounced such And again I have no option but to resort to my leitmotif: the widening gap between the have and the have nots, the absence of any self respecting system of education, the total abdication by the powers that are to address real issues. Such are acts are indeed whipped up by some vested interests but are executed by disgruntled and weak individuals seeking instant gratification and unless we address the problems of such individuals we will never be able to reverse the situation. But again who bells the cat: a hijacked education system that has lost its way and instead of bridging gaps is playing to the gallery and widening them; religious Godmen who invade the privacy of our homes through innumerable TV programmes. I wonder why not one of them had ever denounced such despicable acts.
Unless we garner the courage to face real issues, such acts will continue. Another headline will replace the story of Sister Meena, actually it already has and even those of us who were moved to tears by the tale will move on. Such is life. I wonder how many more such horror stories will it take to awaken our collective conscience.
God bless India said sister Meena. I wonder which India she was referring to.