An article in a national daily reports that Delhi crime statistics for 2005 have only strengthened the dubious tag Delhi has had to live with for many years -- India's rape capital. There was (the paper reports) an almost 20% spurt in rape cases as compared to 2004. Every day, along with the usual report on Iraq, India's cricketing woes, and bollywood news is the obligatory para or two on another rape case.
Young girl abducted, minor raped, maid raped and most of these are cases of the women being hauled into cars and gang raped while the car roams around the city roads and then the bruised and battered woman is dumped by the road.
And yet, this past week, the top story in media is Brinda Karat's obssession with Swami Ram Dev and his purported usage of animal parts and human parts in the ayurvedic medicines that his organisation / ashram has been dispensing. I am neither for or against Ram Dev and his medications. If he is using human bones, it must be investigated. But what a collosal waste and shame that people in power, especially women, have remained mum or paid mere lip service to this horrific issue. Can we dismiss it by saying, its the responsibility of the Delhi authorities? Shouldn't women, and specially those in power do something about it?
I remember, back in France, in my french class, where the prof encouraged debates which often tended to be political. My classmates often would have scanty knowlede of India and I once proudly pointed out that despite being backward compared to the west and France, we had women in powerful positions including prime minister, chief ministers. Sonia Gandhi, Sheila Dixit, Jaya Jaitley, Jayalalitha, Mamamta Bannerjee, Brinda Karat, Rabri Devi and the scores of others women - celebritiy and film star MLAs & other party functionaries.
I no longer think its something to be proud of. What if women got thier 33% reservation for women in Parliament and State Legislatures. I donot think it will make lives of women any more better or safer than it is today. There will be more discussions on non-issues (not the domain of women alone) with more women now in a position of power, in a position to be heard of, with access to media.
Arm yourself with pepper sprays, learn some form of physical defence, avoid travelling alone, use cars...whatever. Donot expect any help from any of your powerful sister politicos.