Rape in the name of Culture: Incredible India
Rape of a 20-year old woman by a dozen villagers on orders of Salishi Sabha (an equivalent of Khap Panchayat) in Birbhum district of West Bengal enshrouded the media headlines, newspapers and blogs. The girl was in a romantic relationship with someone outside of her community. The panchayat imposed a fine of 50 grand on the couple as a measure to eliminate such “threats” from their community. Unable to pay her share of fine, the girl was abducted and raped (as punishment) by men from her neighbourhood on the preposterous decision of the panchayat. What is wrong with us Indians? We talk day and night about “sanskars” and protecting our culture. What kind of culture is it, which makes us such ethnocentric fanatics that we forget humanity? There is a new trend of honour killing (“Pran Jae par Shan Na jae”). In which framework of mind can someone take pride in ruining someone’s life, killing people and raping women for they did not abide by the age old orthodox methods? The impression that such incidents leave on the society is that women are incapable of love and right to their sexuality. They are deserving of rape. They can be traded for sex in the name of culture or religion. I have a question for all those who believe that daughters are a symbol of respect and pride. How does it make them feel when their daughters are married off to beasts and become victims of domestic violence, rape and dowry related torture? I think that brings them immense happiness. How does that matter atleast she was married in her own community with her family’s blessings and did not do anything to embarrass them. Our tribal panchayats will be very glad if the country shifts from being a democracy to a cultural dictatorship. They will love their new vigilante role to create a “cultured” society. It’s high time the government should take rigorous measures to eliminate such kangaroo courts and look deep into village administration. There should be a check on panchayats, on their hearings and decisions.
Such an incident is a disgusting blot on the nation and threat to its prosperity .What these people forget is that they can’t enforce their own irrational laws. They need to see people as “citizens of India” and not as people of some community living in their village. And citizens of India do not abide by the Constitution of such panchayats.
———— About the Author: This article has been contributed by Aqsa Zaidi, our intern. Aqsa is a Botany Hons. Student from Hindu College, Delhi University. She feels it’s her constant struggle and effort to understand and redefine independence and equality in its purest form through her writing . Believing in women and youth empowerment, Aqsa wants to induct the same in her readers.