Teaching Equality and Respect for Law can Prevent Attacks Against Women in India

To protect women’s rights and future atrocities like the Badaun tragedy, there must be equality and respect for the law in India.

india-badaun-tragedyA strange sense of unease is prevailing all over India. There were new expectations from Prime Minister Narendra Modi who rode to power on the pretext of revamping issues of governance, inflation, and women security.

Indians received a crude shock with recent atrocities against women in case of Badaun tragedy in Uttar Pradesh. Not to forget to mention as to how this incidence was marked by other incidents in the Indian states of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Chattisgarh.

This tragedy was also marked by silence of the power corridors to sympathize with the sufferings of the aggrieved. It was ironic that the incumbent power authority used to attack the same issue of silence to sufferings and plight of common man. Though India witnessed regime change, the response to malice affecting society was the same.

As we begin our argument it is essential to know why women are victims. The crux of debate lies in how we equate the idea of masculine with aggressiveness, and that of feminine as being submissive. It is time that we strive to change this thinking factor. The roots of equality shall be strengthened once we learn to value women in all significant roles we find her- as mother, nurturers, peace harbingers. A sense of respect for these distinct qualities shall go a long way to instil an era of well-being for women.

There is a lacuna in the way a female image is constructed primarily seeing biological differences between a man and a woman as a guide post to analyze their social attributes. The issues of women are interlinked to other aspects like caste, class and economic backwardness. The irony is how a woman becomes a victim of the barriers that have created by few vested minds to cater to their interests. The Badaun case speaks volumes to justify this stark reality.

A society that has fragile laws to deal with issues has its own perils. The case of violence against women justifies this.

As we attempt to change the thought process, we must attempt to back it with stringent laws. India is home to many laws that cater to different aspects of violence against women like dowry and domestic issues. However, a word of caution here as laws do not operate in vacuum. It needs to be juxtaposed with due awareness to sensitize people about it. Mere existence of strict laws shall do no good. It has to be backed by due respect.

India is a diverse land of many political viewpoints. As rightly pointed by Congress, Vice President Rahul Gandhi said that respect and dignity of women are priceless. Therefore, one has to look at issues of violence against women as a breakdown of moral fabric of virtues of humanity. Just using the issue to blackmail state authorities and working out compensation shall be a mockery of sufferings of the aggrieved.

As the nation moves on, one must learn from our past mistakes to work out a better future. The case of  the Badaun tragedy is no different. Due process of law, stringent punishment for the heinous crime, and a genuine attempt by political forces to prevent future atrocities is the need of the hour.

The famous political thinker Harold Laski posited that eternal vigilance is the price for liberty. The need of the hour is to usher in this idea to India.

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Amna Mirza, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in Political Studies at a College in University of Delhi. Read other articles by Amna.