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TWO CASES

Talking too much is never a good idea. Experts say it is a sign of unease or nervousness, revealing even more about the speaker than he or she intended. For example, Arpita Ghosh, a theatre person and an articulate member of the West Bengal chief minister’s intellectual brigade, talked a little too much about the earlier rape in Park Street while protesting against the Delhi rape. It is merely the nervy, brittle quality of Ms Ghosh’s logic that would suggest that the experts are not completely off the mark, for otherwise the lady seemed perfectly at ease and not the least bit nervous when drawing distinctions between the two incidents of rape. In Park Street, she said, the complainant walked voluntarily into a car owned by people she had just met at a nightclub, and this too, at the dead of night. In Delhi, the girl boarded a public bus at 9.30 pm. Without spelling it out, Ms Ghosh was laying bare that old, chauvinistic judgment on women: the woman in Park Street was ‘asking for it’, the girl in Delhi was an innocent victim. Her remarks throw up an intriguing question: is this intellectual corruption or just the staggering insensitivity born of politics? The two need not be mutually exclusive, of course.

The corruption of thought and speech induced by nearness to and aspiration towards political power may perhaps be dominant here. While protesting against the rape of the girl in Delhi, Ms Ghosh forgot to mention that not all the alleged rapists in the Park Street case have been arrested while charges remain elusive against the rest. That is the second danger of talking too much. People notice what is left unsaid, and take note of the nonsense spoken to fill up the lacunae. In this case, this nonsense was Ms Ghosh’s defence of the chief minister for having called the Park Street case ‘concocted’. Apparently, that was because the complainant identified the wrong suspect the first time round. To judge a woman for making a mistake in identification after experiencing extreme violence is shocking, but, then, Ms Ghosh was busy tarnishing in public, by suggestion, a woman who unwittingly caused the chief minister to swallow her own words. No wonder there is so little progress in the case; who dares displease the chief minister? Ms Ghosh, however, has revealed a less-known obscenity rape may lead to: sitting in protest against one rape while taking apart the victim of another.