Sunday, 23 December, 2012

Delhi Protests - against Rape #VAW - Why you need them?

As I write this post, live TV coverage of Delhi protests is on tv for the second day.  Students are bombarded by tear gas and water cannons. Good work by those who stood up for their rights. There are some good posts covering the agitation and since I am nowhere near ground zero won't talk about how peacefully (or not) the protests is going on.  I suggest you read posts like this :

Also, I wont talk about what the solution is. There are well analyzed posts like

The idea of this post is to answer few questions that are asked about the need of the protests or the quality of the protests: Like(but not just this) conversation

First question that is asked, what do protesters want? I understand most protesters don't know exactly what they want and/or why they want. For example, even a law of death penalty for rape, cannot help today's victim, as the law is only for incidents that happen after that. Most people don't understand all these. My simple point is, they don't need to. In any protests, that is carried out by big leaders, the followers don't understand all the minor details. They just say, "oh. I need separate country/state", right? Same here. I don't support death penalty for rape for many reasons. But one angry lady shouting there and asking for it, is wrong? How? She is not the lawmaker who is going to amend the law tomorrow. She is just expressing her anger in the way she knows and in the way she thinks as correct. And she is better than some "so called" leaders who have millions of people behind them. I am more worried about these leaders pointing the wrong solutions like "blaming the victim" than the innocent/not so well thought protester slogans. So please don't quote the protesters and say, "oh. they don't even know what they want and hence the protest itself is stupid". They don't need to know, the anger tells the government that you need to provide them safer country than what it is today. "How" is a problem of the intellectuals/politicians who have access to the data about the crimes and the reasons behind them. The people are there to show their concern/anger/helplessness.

Second is the undue media coverage. I agree that same level of crime elsewhere in the country never got this kind of media attention. But this is true always. We need to blame the media for this and not the protesters. My take is media is covering this more because, a. They also fear for their own safety. This is their problem too. Many of them take those buses/travel on those roads. b) Happens in Delhi where all the equipments needed are readily available for a 24 * 7 coverage. (Including cameramen / reporters to work in shifts). c. Last but most importantly, the people who are protesting are the first consumers of this 24 * 7 English media. If the media doesn't cover this today, they are going to be upset. In any market based environment, you don't want to lose your customers. Anyway, all these point to the business model of the media and if you have problem with it, you should take that discussion elsewhere, not here.

Third is that the protesters are wasting the national resources like police and blowing up the issue than what it is worth. I don't agree to this. Any discussion on Violence Against Women is welcome, doesn't matter whether it starts from Manipur or Delhi. We need this discussion to start somewhere and hopefully end in better society. If not for these protests, we (men) all would have forgot about "rape/VAW" as a problem that  is faced by this country and would have moved on. To keep this fire burning, to get the media talk about it, to get the leaders think about it, we need these protests. They should be peaceful and hopefully they will be. (Though I hear political parties are trying their level best to turn them violent).

Another point raised is that, all these people protest, as it affects them and not because it is a social cause. As in, question is, why they didn't protest when similar incidents took place in the past, when it happens to lesser privileged people on other parts of India. Yes, they (or I should say we, as I identify myself more with them) are the middle class who usually keep away from the politics and protests and don't comment on most of the topics. You protested in kudankulam or in Telegana and they didn't come there (even on a weekend) to help you. But as you have a right to protest, they do have, no? If they ask you to come to Delhi, to stand with them, please complain. Till then, please give them their right to outrage and show their anger.

I am proud of what happened in Delhi. Hopefully some kind of legislation/procedural change happens in relation to rape/VAW cases. 


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