“Hardened policemen were nearly moved to tears as they conducted a preliminary examination of the ravaged body and carried it away in a little bundle.” It was a four month old baby-girl violated and murdered. The place of occurrence was Madhya Pradesh in 2018.
The little girl is one among the hundreds of thousands in the apparently never-ending series who are lost in the hands of the beasts among humans. Only a few fight back, but they are too few and the rest are buried underneath cruelty- indifference-even hatred of also humans who are variously placed in the corridors and rungs of power. These latter may be the police-military, the strong-arm criminals, socially powerful rich, even MLAs, ministers or their accomplices, or anybody in administration- even judiciary. And many times more are the hapless girls, mothers, even centenarian mother who are never reported suffer from life-long torment, if not murdered.
There may be thousand and one ways that make life hell for women of any age. It starts from the generally talked about rapes and gang-rapes that is sexual violence, acid attack, forced sex slavery, forced labour, dowry murders, domestic servitude, forced begging, forced drug peddling, forced prostitution, child pornography, female foeticide, female infanticide, humiliation and torture for girl child birth, torture for nil child birth, deaths from unsafe abortions, pressure for male child birth, least education for girls, honour killings, child bride, child marriage, greater exploitation of women workers. What more horror our daughters and mothers are to face? Is it a civilized society we live in?
A few palpable statistics are given below. The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) states that in 2015, as many as 7,634 women died in the country due to dowry harassment. Either they were burnt alive or forced to commit suicide over dowry demand. For crimes against women overall, pending cases increased from 1,081,756 to 1,204,786. The horror of Kathua and Unnao rapes have once against brought into focus the safety of women in India, and especially that of children. Looking back at the latest data available, in 2016, India recorded 106 rapes a day and four out of every ten victims were minors. According to the NCRB, between 2014 and 2015 alone, the number of honour killings in India leapt by 798 per cent. States such as Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Andhra Pradesh are leading in such extra-judicial killings. In a recent report it has been observed that in 2017 about 6, 00,000 infanticide have been perpetrated. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has acknowledged that illegal abortions still outnumber legal abortions. According to the Population Research Institute, at least 12,771,043 sex-selective abortions had taken place in India between 2000 and 2014. Human trafficking is on the rise and it is more “horrific” than ever, a United Nations agency found. In a new report on human trafficking, the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) found that the global trend has increased steadily since 2010 around the world. Women and girls are especially vulnerable, making up 70 per cent of detected victims worldwide. India, among a few countries can claim distinction in holding high rank in human trafficking in recent times. These are but a few statistics, the tip of a massive iceberg.
The point is why is it so? Why has there been such a spurt of atrocities against women particularly during the recent past. The data presented above speak of the trends between the years 2014 and 2016 or later. One cannot miss that during this period the country has been under the rule of the BJP led by the prime minister Narendra Modi. And one of the most favourite slogans of this government has been Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao (educate girls, save girls). And this is the condition how the girls are being saved. Not only that, in cases like Kathua and Unnao, among the accused, there were leaders- activists- associates of the BJP, even a BJP MLA. Coolly and calmly, they were not only not apprehended, even the party brought out procession in support of the accused to create pressure upon the administration that it does not take steps against them. BJP candidate Shobha Chauhan from Sojat seat in Pali district of Rajasthan openly promised voters that police will not interfere in child marriages if she wins. She was highly applauded by the assembled BJP workers. Is it then not a case of sheer hypocrisy?
But why is it that the BJP does not feel the least compunction at this exposure of the reality? Here it may not be irrelevant to bring back a piece of history. In the days of the renaissance, the democratic revolution, the bourgeoisie led for bringing the change in society issued the call for individual liberty and freedom, which also implied equality of man and woman. So call for women’s liberation from abject patriarchal domination of the feudal society was an important issue at that time. But the capitalist society that was established in the process remained still a society based on exploitation and discrimination, not only in economic fields, but also in social-cultural fields and every-where. So patriarchal domination or misogynist attitude towards women persisted in the society along with exploitation of both toiling men and women in the hands of the capitalists, the owners, the rich. To add fuel to fire, in our country the democratic revolution was left in a half-baked, truncated manner. With independence, a sovereign capitalist country was established politically. But in the cultural-social –ethical fields the task of democratization remained unfulfilled. The past legacies not only remained, they gradually raised their heads, as the Indian capitalism as an inalienable part of the most decadent world capitalism assumed a moribund reactionary shape with each passing day. The governments which take up the charge of governance of the country, merely act as the political manager set to keep this exploitative, discriminatory decadent capitalist rule running. The BJP, as the trusted representative of the Indian monopolists, have proven in all aspects of social-political-economic activities, that they are efficient subservient agents of the ruling capitalist class. Hence all their pro-people slogans and gestures are mere jumlas (rhetoric), as their president has himself admitted with respect to their electoral pledges. And this is the reason why on one side, they call out Beti Padhao, Beti Bachao, on the other side they do not hesitate to stage demonstration to hammer out that the accused in the gang-rape of a poor child, is really innocent. It is for the people to note and judge this hypocritical face of the BJP, which once claimed to be a value-based party and the task is to organize themselves to develop strong movements against it.