The Great Indian Rape Trick

During the 19th century “The Great Indian Rope trick” is said to have been performed in and around India . Sometimes described as "the world’s greatest illusion", it reputedly involved a magician, a length of rope, and the disappearance of an assistant. It would be one hundred years before "the great Indian rope trick" was fully exposed as a hoax.

In present day India we have “The Great Indian Rape Trick” where a young woman or child is brutally gang-raped by a bunch of men and then a few days later the story mysteriously disappears from the media headlines and public memory while the battered victim is abandoned to an inefficient judicial system and a callous society!

The tragedy of the latest brutal rape case in New Delhi is that despite all the shock & anger that is being vocalized at the moment, this too will end up being another shameful statistic in the history of Modern India.

So is there some way to change history? Can we channel all this furious energy and rage into effective action and deliver justice to the victim against all odds and in the face of official apathy? Or will this ultimately end up being all sound & fury signifying nothing, just like countless other rape cases in India over the years since Independence.

Let us do a quick recap of some of the most revolting rape cases in recent times which were highlighted amongst hundreds of rapes because of the unspeakable savagery and inhumanity which made these cases stay in our memory.

1. The infamous Buddha Jayanti Park gang-rape case when four members of the elite President's Bodyguards brutally raped a helpless Delhi University student. They were military men and in uniform. The crime was committed when the 17-year-old girl, along with her boyfriend had gone to Buddha Jayanti Park in the backyard of the Presidential Palace on October 6, 2003, to watch a programme of the Dalai Lama. (How ironic and tragic can life be!)

After 9 long years the courts finally gave 2 of them life imprisonment and 2 of them got 10 years in jail and will probably be free by next year!

2. Just weeks later, a 28-year-old Swiss diplomat stepped out of the Siri Fort auditorium after watching a film at the International Film Festival. As the diplomat was about to get into her car she was abducted and raped in her own car by two men while being driven around the Safdarjung Development area.

3. On 27 November 1973, Aruna Shanbaug, a nurse at the KEM Hospital in Mumbai was sexually assaulted by Sohanlal, a sweeper on contract at hospital. Though police lodged a case of robbery, assault and attempted murder, they did not record rape, ostensibly to save her impending marriage. It has been almost 40 years since her rape and Aruna has been living in a permanently vegetative state which does not permit her to know, least of all enjoy, favourite foods, music, people. It also doesn’t allow her to smile in response to an external influence. Aruna has mush tipped into a nasal-feed pipe going directly into the stomach to keep her alive. For almost 40 years she has been condemned to a living hell.

Her rapist, Sohanlal, went to jail for seven years but now his whereabouts are not known.

4. In 2001, in the first of its kind incident in Delhi, a 26-year-old woman was gang raped by four men in a moving Blueline bus. The victim boarded the bus from Mathura Road in south Delhi. The men threw her out of the moving bus after raping her.

5. A Delhi University student was raped in a moving car by four men near Dhaula Kuan in south Delhi in 2005. The victim was walking home after buying food from a roadside eatery along with a friend.

6. In 2010, an 18-year-old girl and a 24-year-old woman, who worked in a factory at Mangolpuri, were raped by four men, including a minor, in a car in Sultanpuri area in north Delhi.

7. The same year, a 30-year-old BPO employee from Manipur, was picked up by four drunk men near Dhaula Kuan and gang-raped for over 40 minutes in a moving vehicle.

8. In April 2011, a Class 10 student of Gurgaon was abducted and raped by three men as they drove around in south Delhi.

9. In August 2012, a minor girl who had gone to the market with her two friends, was gang-raped by nine boys who drove around Pitampura area. The accused stopped the car in which the girls were travelling, abducted the victim at gun-point and raped her in their car.

Shamefully the list of cases is endless but it’s as if they mysteriously disappear like the Great Indian Rope trick.

The usual scenario after each case is a media frenzy for a few days during which the same characters come out of the woodwork with the same platitudes and shaking of heads. “ This is terrible- Something has to be done – We cannot tolerate this!” Etc,etc. But the rapes seemingly continue undeterred and nothing gets done to reduce and stop these unspeakable crimes against women.

Some of the resulting statements could be funny if they were not due to such tragic and horrific crimes.

One Chief Minister responded to a brutal rape of a journalist by commenting that perhaps she should not be out working late at night. Incidentally the Chief Minister concerned was a woman.

Some male member of a Khap Council blamed fast food and “chowmein” for rapes! Another Council member recommended that women should be married off at an early age.

But the recurring theme seems to be that these women were partly responsible for their own rapes either because they were not “appropriately dressed” or that they were out too late or that they were with some man who was not their husband. Reading between the lines, the implication of these people seems to be that women should NOT be educated, independent, confident and self-sufficient. They should be married off early, stay at home to perform domestic chores and not aspire for freedom of any kind.

According to this section of people, if women are raped or molested then it is apparently largely because they have brought it upon themselves.

I don’t see how this explains the rapes of infants and minors but who can argue with morons.

This is in a nation where the longest serving Prime Minister was a woman, the leader of the ruling alliance is a woman, the leader of opposition in the Parliament is a woman and the list goes on. This just seems to imply that the current leaders do not feel the pain of these traumatised, brutalized and devastated victims.

So why is this happening? 50 per cent of the votes in this country belong to women! Surely they feel the pain of these women who have become victims of such brutal sexual acts. Even among the male voters there must be some fathers, brothers or even just some decent men who are appalled and pained by these crimes against women and would like to see an end to this!

While the battered victim of the latest gang rape lies in a critical condition in a hospital in Delhi, surrounded by her grief-stricken parents who must have brought her up like a cherished little precious child for whom they had so many dreams, our administration is pointing fingers in all directions to find someone to blame. The elected members of our democracy are indulging in an unseemly fight in the Parliament for reservations based on caste and religion so as to cater to their greed for power.

Let’s face it – no one cares enough for this poor girl to try and change the laws. To make the inhuman animals who perpetrate these monstrous crimes pay dearly. To create such fearsome punishment that it fits the crime and terrifies any person so much that they would not even think about committing such heinous acts.

Remember it is not enough that justice is delivered but also that justice is seen to be delivered!

We need drastic changes to laws so that women in India are protected and safe. The punishment should be such that it fits the crime – like chemical or physical castration in public, the death penalty and public canning! We need to brush aside the bleeding hearts who cry for human rights because the people who commit these ghastly crimes are NOT human and exceptional crimes should have exceptional repercussions.

For instance just recently in Salem, three teenage girls were tied to a lamp post and badly beaten up by the public on suspicion of having stolen Rs 1,000 from a textile shop here, police said. The girls were rescued by police and hospitalized.

In another incident a minor girl, who had accused a local goon of raping her, was strangled to death by the hoodlum in full public view in a Fatehpur village after she refused to withdraw the complaint against him. After brutally assaulting her, he strangled her to death in full public view and escaped.

The current lot of political parties do not seem to have these concerns for women anywhere on their agenda. We need a third or fourth force, maybe a fifth column to address these issues. After all, women represent half the voting population of this nation. Surely that is worth something.

Or else The Great Indian Rape Trick will continue and it may take 100 years for the hoax to be revealed that our leaders and administration care for the rights and safety of the women of this nation.

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