While watching any cricket match, we all seem to belong to only one race, culture and society—India. Even the daily commercials, like the Hero Honda “desh ki dhadkan” provide a similar utopic picture of the country. But sadly, we have to admit that even after 66 years of Independence, India isn’t really a free country. Freedom doesn’t only mean an escape from foreign rule; it means an escape from all the invisible shackles of capitalism, tortures on women, child labor that have crippled millions of us completely. Let’s look at some facts, figures and statistics that would force any sane Indian to hang his head in shame:
We are in the twenty-first century, and still we are a long way to call ourselves civilized. The way we, and that includes “educated” people too, express our disgust and trauma after even knowing about a HIV positive person is simply shattering. It’s high time that people get to know about the disease, and if not anything, show a tiny bit of respect for the 2.4 million sufferers. And, if you know about any way to escape such trauma, why not enlighten others?
This is quite old an issue but nevertheless, something that demand’s a closer eye. The intellectuals and the celebrities of the big cities are always on the streets demanding an abolition of child labor in India but it is in these cities itself that child laborers are found the most. Instead of walking down the streets, crying out slogans, it’s time to educate ourselves, to be able to stand up and speak out as and when required.
We always speak of equality but it is us who always choose a male child over a female one. In matters of education, it is most often seen. If there are two children in a poverty-stricken family, the female child is invariably forced to stay back home and learn how to cook! The reason: “the boy can grow up, do some job and earn money; but the girl is to go to someone else’s home so why waste money on her”! We wonder why they are not able to get a simple truth: the girl can also get educated and “earn money” for her parents, if that’s what bothers them day and night!
In a country where some of the world’s best doctors, physicians and engineers come from, the heath care system seems to be an utter failure, to say the least. The deficiency of proper drinking water, lack of a proper sewage system and the deficiency of required nutrients in every day diet have kept the national child mortality rate at a steady shameful rate. At an age when India seems to be competing with the first world countries, the child mortality rate (at a recent survey) was recorded around 1.5 million. And, this survey was done across only 597 districts.
“Vadhu Hatya” or Wife Slaughter (or killing of wives) is a common syndrome that inflicts otherwise educated and seemingly religious people of different societies and backgrounds in India. After marriage, the Indians have a notion that the woman is now the property of the husband and the in-laws and they can do anything and everything with her. Mostly, the wives are killed for the want of dowry, no matter how poor the wife is, or how much dowry she has already paid to be a wife, a lifelong devotee, an unconditional servant and what-not. Besides, the women are also slaughtered like pigs if they fail to provide a son! Burning down the wife is the most common way of slaughtering wives!
In a country where Mother Goddess is regarded as the supreme form of Energy, vitality and spirit, girl child is mercilessly killed even before she could see the light of the world. It is to address this inhuman practice that sex determination was declared to be a criminal offence in India. But, this step too couldn’t be enough to put an end to this crime. Haryana and Rajasthan and parts of UP see the maximum cases of female infanticide in the country.
Rapes and gang rapes seem to be the National Crime of India. No matter where you go, such events follow you like a spy. We surely don’t want to comment on how these sad and grievous incidents are politicized but of course, no one can be provoked by someone’s way of talking or someone’s way of smiling or way of dressing to such an extent that he would have to salvage the girl/woman’s dignity? Besides, we wonder how a 5 year old or a 75 year old can provoke anyone lasciviously. Does it signal the end of human race?