Another new year night party ended in shame. A newly wed N.R.I. couple were assaulted, disgraced, and harassed by drunk hoodlums, with the police downplaying the incident as a "little thing", only to backtrack by mass outrage, aided by a couple of photographs taken by journalists who were on the spot. So far it is normal. There's nothing unusual about it. It is in tradition with the recent trends of crime against women in Mumbai in the last few years. The indifference of the police is also with keeping with the state police's track record, in tackling crime against women. It is revealed by statistics that in tackling crime against women, Maharashtra's record is worst as compared to the other states. In molestation only a petty 11.5 out of 100 offenders are charge sheeted, 10.1% is the rate of conviction of sexual harassment, again
the lowest, and conviction rate in cruelty to women by relatives is only 3.7%, horribly low. [RECORDS FROM 'CRIME IN INDIA 2006' PUBLISHED BY CRIME RECORDS BUREAU]
Now one may wonder what is the cause behind this destruction of the myth of modernity of Mumbai. Let us say it is not a result of any sole cause. The 'modern India', of which we hear so much this days, is basically a superimposed hypocritical modernism, imposed on the structures of age old totems, taboos, tradition, and static values which were left untouched by the winds of change. It has suddenly taken a huge leap from the 80's and early 90's India, to the booming modern regional power status, (thanks to dotted condoms, coeducation and computers), without the adequate change in the average psyche, and lack of proper civil education. The complete class difference of the modern metro crowds and the rest of the "civile" is definitely due to IT, retail and service sector created discrimination. Also India has traditionally been a country, where humans can pee publicly, but not kiss …as contrary to the western civilisation where just the opposite happens, which the moral police despises so much. The picture of a jeans or skirt wearing modern upright woman is a provocation to the "other" India, and it de-stabilises the mental stability of the said, who is only used to see woman as a mother, sister, or a dowry object.
Also gender discrimination is encouraged from the womb. Women are taught in this "other" India to be a victim, where it is natural for them to get beaten by sickos, who come home drunk, mistaking hobnobbing and defenseless women as pinatas …not to forget the hideous religious goons, who coerce and treat women as cattle and force them to wear eskimo suits in the summer. So naturally the men folks of this particular "other" India, are outraged at the sight of women who 'dares' to smoke or drink in public. As for the moral guardians of the society, they are busy catching a couple holding hands in a public park, having no times to catch the real culprits who pull the hair or t-shirt of a daily female commuter in the local trains, or worse, salivate at the opportunity of pinching a helpless victim's body. So are their legal brothers of whom we have already discussed.
Fighting this crime without adequate punitive options, education, and concerted community action, will be a waste of time. Till then we can only say Mumbai is no more the Bombay we used to know, unfortunately though …