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LISTEN TO THE VOICES

Rape. The more I think of ‘rape’, the more I feel anguished by the many different ‘rapes’ that this benighted nation has been assaulted with over the last few decades. Women, particularly the poor and the destitute, have been attacked, raped and beaten up, with the authorities watching and choosing to look the other way, because, more often than not, upper-caste men believed that it was their prerogative to rape lower-caste women. Within large and rambling joint families, a young bride was ‘raped’ by elder male relatives, including the father-in-law. Post-Independence India, with its laws in place, never wielded the whip and the law to ensure women had access to that law and would be protected. The enforcers of law were the culprits who broke the law of the land either by looking the other way or, worse, by taunting the woman concerned. Sixty years down the road, officers of the Indian Administrative Service have failed to operate the laws of this land and govern India as they had been mandated to do when taking their oath of office.

The IAS officers, in the thousands of far-flung districts of this country, ended up doing the bidding of the socially and economically powerful ‘lords’ of the community, and betrayed India. They were allowed to run amok by the political class that, as it became more and more powerful, used the ‘service’ to service its irregularities, illegalities, extortion and more, for its ‘survival’ and personal advancement. No one was accountable to anyone. No one cared as long as the small cabal was serviced.

Millions wallowed in exploitative environments and sunk deeper into the mire of these different types of rapes. Today, the bottled-up patience, the decades of humiliation and battering across all classes and social strata have exploded and are demanding a radical overhaul of the law, the way of enforcing the laws and accountability from the ruling classes, the privileged and the insular politicians and babus.

Get on

If the ‘rape’ of India, at all these diverse levels, is not addressed immediately, the men and women in power will be responsible for the shattering of democratic and liberal processes, of handing over the public domain to the lumpen. Is anyone listening to the voices on the streets, sensing the humiliation of a people exploited, their demands ignored? Why is the government not working? Are the rulers, who call the shots, too old and exhausted, both physically and intellectually, requiring to shut themselves off from the truth on the ground and retreat into their ‘palaces’ to lead insular lives, surrounded by sycophants and genuflecting officers and minions?

When will our political class mature and discard its mantle of supreme, arrogant denial? When will it relish a sensational ‘mind’ rather than a silly ‘story’ on sensational television? Why are the GenNext politicians silent and disengaged from every public grievance? Why must a Rashid Alvi and his ilk control the mind and ideas of members of a ‘party’ and dumb down the discourse on every issue? Why are minds being ‘raped’ and silenced? Is this democracy circa 2013? Where is the leadership? Where is the game-changing narrative and blueprint? Where have the excitement and nashaa of nation building and the challenges that come with it disappeared? Why is there this lacuna in ideas and alternatives amongst the privileged ruling class?

GenNext, in the many disciplines other than active politics and babugiri, is alive and energized, raring to go, but repressed by babugiri, which is protecting itself from being exposed as irrelevant and responsible for stalling change and growth. When will the aged in power ‘let go’ to allow India to ‘get on’?