Saturday, July 14, 2012

The Jungle around us

There are humans. And then, there are animals. 

I think it is highly foolish to believe that everyone processes information, values and ideas the same way in which we do; that everyone thinks the same way we do; and that everyone possesses the same ideals of morality that we believe defines a human.

There are many animals around us and there are many more within us. We are not the same all the time - I have done inane things in the joy drunken, post-work party nights which I would never have in the self-controlled, work-driven mind of the morning light. I sometimes have the most unbelievable defenses convincing me that something unacceptable is actually okay in my case. There are plenty of reasons that can be offered in justification of the most heinous acts by the ever-mysterious mind.

And this is exactly why incidents like the Guwahati molestation incident doesn't make me feel so much shocked or  angry as it makes me feel helpless.  The men there cannot be compared with human standards at all - they were all possessed by the terrible animal spirit that hides within all of us to various degrees and it was so blatantly evident in the way that they were enjoying themselves as though they were engaging in a casual sport - no hesitation, not the slightest doubt or remorse. It is that occasional animal spirit that comes out in the otherwise normal people in their most angry or frustrated states - perhaps that is the baseline morality of men like these all the time.

People say we need to do things to them - hang them in public, sentence them to life imprisonment, strip them in public and stone them and so on. Well, I wonder what purpose it might solve, other than perhaps a sense of vindication for the victim, and well, feeding our own animal spirits within. Any hope of eliciting guilt or remorse from those men, to me, is a far-fetched fantasy. It is an exhausting thing to make animals feel what their minds blocked out years and years ago. 

Perhaps a better place to start would be from the near-humans - those who watched the crime and couldn't get themselves to act for reasons other than the pleasure of voyeurism. Maybe they were scared of being shamed themselves by such an animalistic mob, perhaps they didn't know if it were appropriate to interfere, or maybe they were apathetic. I think these individuals might be a better place to start and we are them. 

The need of the day, to me, is not so much about vague statements like "we need the state government's immediate intervention and stringent punishment of the guilty" and "steps must be taken to see that the safety of women is ensured in public places". Perhaps I have grown pessimistic but I am tired of these predictable statements of the institutions. Not that I blame them... how much can one do to curb animal tendencies in millions of people? Surely, a better economy will help ease certain triggers; definitely, a better education for everyone will. But at the end of the day, the world around will always be a jungle for a long time to come and the smartest thing to do can be to prepare our wits, mind and resources to defend ourselves to the best possible extent, erasing the slightest notion that something called the 'public' will ever comes for help or support.


Vicky Dada (Vikas) said...

There is nothing called 'public'. Society is just a logical entity. The reality is still only at the level of the individual. People care as much as they can, but ultimately each of us lives and dies alone.

CHIBI said...

Hmmm.. everyone talks about educating children and people about these social ethics and equality, but do schools and colleges really do it? in fact, in a metro like chennai there are many schools which promote dividing boys and girls into seperate sections within the same school, and some mental engineering colleges as well.

we say untouchability is bad, women should be respected equally, they shouldnt be seen as a sex object etc.. but it's not taught in a classroom or at home. it just exists as few sentences in first page of the textbook, which teachers don't even care to talk about.

so the govt's sole responsibility is to implement a strong ethics and social/sex education subject along with all the sciences and languages.. this might help the future students understand the perils of behaving like an animal admist humans. at least the future would reform.

CHIBI said...

P.s. I hope the media doesn't ruin the life of the victims by exploiting their misery for TRP ratings.. It's more monstrous .

Tangled up in blue... said...

I sincerely believe India is, hands down, one of the worst places on the planet if one is born female, that is considering if one is allowed to be born at all if one is female.

I understand how fear works - I can understand how one might be afraid of intervening and getting hurt at such times. But it astonishes me that so many people can simultaneously be so devoid of morality as to act in such a way.

I wish I could just put it down to just one person being ignorant or cruel but when I think about how hundreds of people act like that at once, it seriously scares me how little goodness people really are capable of.

It really is a jungle out there and only might is right. Some days, I really wish I could be another species of animal though.

Srinidhi said...

Despite the number of times it happens, I think we cannot take the heat off the men. No matter how prepared or ready the women are, the "animals" causing the acts of violence need to be held responsible. Without finding a need to justify their act. "She was drunk." "She was out late at night." "She was dressed inappropriately." She didn't commit the crime, unless the crime was that she was present there at that moment. I am not saying women must stop defending themselves or staying brave. But that alone, will not solve this growing problem.

My 2 cents :)

ganeshputtu said...

you know Sindhu...there are some things i just dont understand...even with my best efforts i am unable to get some rape for instance..why would anyone go to all that trouble for something they are not going to enjoy? or acid attacks on can you disfigure a face you love? i used to think that maybe there was something about these gents which i dont get. now i know, that i will never get them...merely being a male does not make me the same as them or give me an insight in their ways of thinking. its just an accident of birth that we ended up in the same gender, that's for the explanation- i can only come up with this one...some are born normal and some are born evil..there is nothing to justify or discuss in the presence of pure evil...trying to understand their motives is a waste of time.

Sinduja said...

@Vikas: You have beautifully summarized what I meant to convey - 'The reality is still only at the level of the individual'. Exactly!

Sinduja said...

@CHIBI: You seem to be a strong proponent of education. Well, I agree - to some extent. However, what is taught in class can only do so much. The real factors of influence are outside the authority of class - friends, peers and family. I remember hearing from fellow teachers, how whenever they tried to talk of the topic of sex (it was a part of 8th grade curriculum), the boys intentionally asked perverted questions for the sake of it. Yes, I understand it is a vicious circle and the teacher should have boldly stood up to it and smartly tackled it and inspired them to think a different way.

As for family, the elders at home too have a huge responsibility of living through example. The simple things like what place the mother is given in the family and how the women are treated and what importance their decisions hold, go a long way.

Sinduja said...

@Tangled Up in Blue: You are right. It is scary. In Chennai, a bus toppled over a flyover a few days back and fell down right in the middle of a bustling area in the middle of the day. Apparently, scores of passers-by came forward to help pull the injured people out and assist them etc. My mom remarked the next day of how humane the city is. I remember telling her that while it is noble what they did, it was a direct ego boost to them. It makes us feel powerful when we go out of our way to help distressed people. Why didn't that act here? Perhaps fear is a bigger emotion than the pleasure of altruism.

Sinduja said...

@Srinidhi - Hey Srinidhi..long time! I hope you are not thinking that I justified the acts of the men. I only tried to think of the drive behind it. But just because there are reasons does not justify the act itself. As for the men justifying themselves by blaming the women, yes, downright ridiculous. Thank you for writing in. :)

Sinduja said...

@Ganesh: Yeah, it has nothing to do with Gender I guess. It definitely has to do with evil and I am glad you are unable to relate to it! :)

Srinidhi said...

Hey Sindu!

No no not at all. I understand the need to question the force behind their actions cause it has to be studied. My larger thought is that, we can't hope to solve the issue by separating the perpetrator, the victim and the act. Cause I think all three of them need to be handled better.

The irony of this sad world is not just the men blame the women for the act. There are enough and more women who believe it was the girl's "fault" or she just wasn't careful enough. Oh the sadness. :)

karthick r said...

A rather looong hiatus. :)
Very disturbing to say the least. Let sanity prevail. Amen.!
~ cheers.!

Sinduja said...

@Srinidhi: Okay.. I get it now :) Narrow mindedness exists without a gender bias I guess!

Sinduja said...

@Karthick: Heyy Karthick!Changed your profile pic and all.Orey the photoshop and all. Lol. Nice to be blogging again. You too write wokay. Cheers! :)