Monday, December 24, 2012

India And A Bleeding Christmas

"Koi bhi desh perfect nahi hota, usse behetar banana padta hai." - Rang De Basanti.
I am a part of the youth of India. A part of the "We don't care generation." The same generation that has been out protesting against our nation's government for the last three days and counting. The same generation that demands change. The same generation that wants India to be "Our" country and be proud of it. Not a country where rapists, killers and brutal assassins are "held into custody" and an innocent youth is arrested, her father's clinic, the only source of the family's income is destroyed. All because she "liked" one innocent Facebook post against a dead political leader. This is India, the largest democracy in the world.
I've performed in 6 countries and several cities within India, I've met more people than I can remember and whenever I'm asked, "Where are you from?" My chest swells in pride, a smile comes onto my face and I say, "Delhi." And a bunch of people start thinking, "The capital of India. A metropolitan city. One of the fastest developing cities in the country." The last few days have murdered my pride. Now when I say I'm from Delhi, people are going to think, "Oh, he'll never respect women."
I have women who are friends of mine, some of them are 17 years old, some are 25. I have a 70 year old aunt and a 6 year old niece. None of them feel safe. Not a single women I look at feels safe. Every girl I bump into on the street, I feel like telling them, "Please. Go home. Go home, now."
I read a blog about a 70 year old women, limping on her walking stick who was groped by a teenage delivery boy, I read a story of a teacher who raped a 3 year old girl. I read a story of one women or the other being raped almost everyday and it makes me feel horrible. It makes me feel bad that I'm a man. It makes me feel sorry for what my side of the sex has done to traumatize and scar innocent women for the rest of their lives. 
Just yesterday I was playing cricket with a few friends when the ball flew out of the park and hit a lady walking by on her knee. I ran out, saw she was hurt, instantly got her water, a chair to sit on and a rickshaw to escort her either to a medical centre, her house or wherever she wanted to go. The moment she became calm, the first words out of her mouth were, "Get out of my face. Just go!" And I was left there wondering what was it that I'd done wrong. Surely, me or any of my friends hadn't purposely hit her with a ball, it wasn't in our control. We didn't even expect that a rubber ball could hurt someone.  
But then it dawned upon me, she didn't feel safe in the company of a man, even if it was one who was genuinely trying to help her. She might have gone with the image that I was somehow going to take advantage of her. And I don't blame her for thinking that way.
Our government doesn't allow peaceful protests, the Indian National Congress becomes true to their symbol and uses the, "Talk to the hand" policy. Water canons are used on men, women and kids. Tear gas used on protestors, and women lathi charged by the police. The same people who swear they'll protect us. Our home minister, Mr. Shinde says that people should be "happy" that Sonia "Ji" met them. Sir, you should be happy that the government hasn't been taken over by angry students who actually have managed to do more than your puppets have done in the last two sessions.
Dear Government Of India, if you're incapable of punishing the rapists, take a lesson from The Momento or Ghajini, put permanent tattoos on their foreheads that say, "I am a rapist" and let them go. It'll be a shame if more mosquitos get to them before you can. If you're incapable of changing the country for the better and not just filling your pockets, step down. Because each of you is defined by another Rang De Basanti dialogue, "Ghar ki safai mein, apne haath gande kaun kare."
Let 21 year olds run the country.  Let us change our country so that every brutal man doesn't mentally undress a women the second he lays eyes on her. Let us change our country so that every women feels safe to be walking on the street at anytime of the day or night. Let us change our country so that silent protestors aren't beaten up, innocent people aren't water cannoned or tear gased. Let us change our country so that we don't have labels of safe cities and unsafe cities, we have a safe nation. Let us change our country, so that it is OUR country. The country of the "We don't care" generation. 
And no Mr. Prime Minister, we're not going to look over our shoulders and ask somebody if what we said is okay or not.