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India has become one of the most unsafe nations for women and Madhya Pradesh is gaining a dubious reputation of being a leading state when it comes to the incidents of rape. The latest Mandsaur rape case has set the nation on fire.

 

There is widespread rage and condemnation that is reminiscent of the outrage during the Nirbhaya case, even as people are coming out on the streets for speedy justice to the 7-year-old victim battling for life. However, it is very difficult to pinpoint a particular reason or cause behind such rise in rape cases. It is easy to blame the government or push the ‘religion’ narrative to convolute the issue, but that will not change the larger picture and we will lose focus on what we should actually be doing.

 

The government has even strengthened the rape laws to deter criminals but that too has not been able to instill the kind of fear in the perverts that could be good enough to lessen the crime. There is a background of multiple and deep-rooted skewed social underpinnings that find manifestation in such acts of bestiality. Illiteracy, poverty, ignorance, corruption, the growing gap between the haves and have-nots, the highhandedness of the police and politicos, lack of hope and opportunities for a vast section of the population, the abominable conditions in which they live— all have a role to play in promoting  despondency and desperation.

 

Often people who don’t have much to lose perpetrate these crimes. They become reckless and are immune to the consequences of their action because their animalistic life cannot get any worse. They lose the power to think rationally and since they stare at a bleak, uncertain and fragile future, they don’t mind what misfortune their actions bring to them or others. This has nothing to do with politics or religion, for a destructive mind doesn’t belong to any order.

 

They are their own breed and chalk their own wild path, wantonly disregarding of social norms or legal limits. Wide availability of porn and booze in the public domain further sets up the right stage for these minds to exercise their perversion.

 

It is very difficult to tame criminals if all the social coordinates are not right and as long as our schools aren’t safe enough, as long as parents are not conscious and aware, as long as our children are not taught the rights and wrongs, as long as our governments don’t control the spread and penetration of wine shops, as long as the police are not sensitive and honest, as long as the feudal mindset in families don’t change, as long as dowry deaths don’t end, there is little hope of any drastic change in the mindset and people’s proclivities.

 

We cannot douse a flame without taming the source of the fire. We try to treat the symptoms of a social malady by punishing the culprit but we don’t act to root out the disease. Culprits will continue to evolve in society as long as the channels to nourish their perversions exist.

 

We need to strike at those channels if we want to change the social picture. We need to rethink to which direction our society is going, how our children are being raised and how we can educate our people better towards finer cultural ethos that many western societies have done. More than a political, religious or law and order problem, it is a problem of having a fractured and confused society that we need to address urgently.

 

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