The last, traumatic days of a simple girl in Delhi has robbed the Indian ‘establishment’ of the last fig leaf: The pronouncements of the people in power, their actions [and the absence of it] are clear markers of a ‘leadership’ gone astray. If those who are at the helm mismanage affairs, misuse their positions, and hold the country hostage to their myopic machinations, who is to blame? As is the monarch, so are the subjects they control and command, which includes the police force, the bureaucracy, the law and justice system, et al. But we are not a monarchy. So, we, the people of India, can and must fight for our better tomorrows.
- For a start, we should demand that all the several thousands of rape cases that are manoeuvring various stages of judicial ‘escarpment’ in courts across the country be taken to their logical end by the first anniversary of Damini’s death. Monthly reports must be issued by the ministry to help us monitor this.
- We should demand the immediate withdrawal of the term ‘VIP’. The notion of ‘ruler’ and ‘ruled’ does not exist in a democracy. So, the appurtenances that accrue to the so-called VIP must cease to exist.
- If a minority are in positions of power, it is but power that has been given to them to serve the majority. It is in our name – the name of the majority that every decision is taken. We must ensure our proxies do not renege on their commitment by educating ourselves, and demanding that we be educated about our rights, and about our elected representatives’ actions through all available fora, including regular public broadcasts.
- The existing laws to protect women have not helped. They need not be re-examined by committees and commissions at the cost of the public exchequer. Rather, they should be withdrawn and replaced with a new law that reflects grassroots-level realities and sentiments. This cannot be decided by eminences far removed from the people they are sculpting the legislation for. It has to emerge from a broad-based, rigorous discussion. All available media, including the social media should be roped in for this. And a law has to be in place by the first anniversary of Damini’s death.