The Sexual Violence National Outrage Playbook

90 Comments

1. Not every rape can shock-spark the starter-circuit of the national outrage factory. No sir it cannot. The act has to be egregious in its sexual violence (shock and awe compulsory hain boss), must have occurred in a “decent” area of a Tier 1 metro (smaller cities, villages and metro slums—you are out of luck, the outrage factory cannot empathize with you folks) and the lady in question must have been “innocent” (i.e. no prostitutes please, we are Indians). Remember, if the crime does not pass the sansani test or make you feel that the victim could have been you, or your maa-behen, it will not make it to Step 2.

2. And that Step 2 is TV coverage. Which is where the wheels of the outrage factory truly start humming. Breaking news ticker. It’s exclusive. Carefully concerned reporters with their mics roaming the streets and getting “reactions”. Audience changing channel from Pavitra Rishtaa and gawking at the screen. They are also talking among themselves. TRP rising. Newspapers catch on also. Suggestive pictures are put, artistic impressions only, for anger purpose. Anger rises.

3. Anger. Nothing cleanses the collective conscience like anger, pure 24 carat anger, Sunny Deolian anger, of the kind that once made the great man thunder “Kahaan chupayenge humare ma behnon ko” (Teesri Aankh—the Third Eye). Severe indignities must be heaped on the perpetrators, the skin flayed off their bones in public. The wise National Council of Women will ask for death and castration, possibly in that order [Link] since rape, as well as know, is not a crime of control but of lust. So na rahega baans, na baajegi baansoori. Life is quite simple once you think about it. One must not point out that what emboldens sexual predators and skews the cost-benefit analysis in favor of the crime is not that punishments are not severe ?but that the chance of getting caught and convicted, especially if the perps are in a group, is rather slim, what with the understandable decision taken by most victims to suffer in silence than complain to the sexually-harassive, insensitive and inefficient police force or take the truth to the equally insensitive “It-was-your-fault” social system. One must not point out this. But let collective anger flow. Pure. Hang them by their necks like they do in Lebanon. I saw it in this picture on Facebook. Honest. What? How do I know that actually happened in Lebanon? How do I know that was for rape? Arre. I told you no. I SAW it on Facebook. Once we start doing that kind of public sooli pe charana, I tell you yaar problem will be solved. See,what a peaceful society Lebanon is…such a…

4. And then there is Facebook. Twitter. Echo-chambers of Re-tweets, mentions, comments and shares. A collective competition to appear “sensitive” and win the endorsement of peers. The +1, as they say. Rays of outrage are reflected, refracted and diffracted. Here is a petition I made. We want 1 million signatures. How will that change things? Well…mm….we want 1 million signatures. Sign it and you can sleep easy. Don’t sign and you are on the side of the rapist. Like my “Indians against rape” page. Like it. Share it. Did I say “Like it?” Okay. Remember how India won freedom by making “#QuitIndia” trend?

5. Put on the ghungroo on my foot and watch the deraamma. Thus sung Dharmendra in the epic movie “Tehelka”. Nothing defines the outrage machine more than public drama. And nothing says “public drama” more than candlelight vigils, which are flash mobs you do when you are sad. The press love to cover such vigils because they are very media-friendly. They hold the pose like this. And then they give “touching” ” Be the change you want to be” lines like this.

Himanshu confesses that he had been an eve teaser until yesterday. “I was an eve teaser, and I accept it,” he says. “Mein aaj yahan apne paap dhone aaya hun,” says Himanshu. But he swears that he has never touched a girl. “I have passed comments at girls on the road. I was the leader of my gang,” he adds.
But something a few nights ago changed him. “There was no power in our locality and my elder sister had not come home. It was a day after I had heard about this incident. I was so scared for my sister,” he says.
“I decided then that I’d never indulge in eve teasing again and I will also not let anyone else do it,” he says

My sister, who is in the US, tells me that if she is alone on the road at night, she is easily able to ask a complete stranger to escort her home,” says Himanshu, 25, is software professional.

The cup doth brimmeth over.

6. When Arnab Goswami, the Lord of the National Outrage, says “The nation demands answers” what he means is “The nation needs someone to blame”. That’s what print, TV and social media is for. The blame game. And there is enough blame to go around. The curators of the pitch…oh I am sorry, I am on the wrong outrage. What I meant is…Western culture, short dress, chow-mein, cell-phones, roaming the street at night without a male escort, roaming the street at night with a male escort, women drinking, men drinking, roles essayed by Sonakshi Sinha, politicians, police, law, Ravindra Jadeja. Damn. Wrong outrage once again. The only thing that escapes blame, in the midst of the blame orgy, is the face in the mirror.

7. When sparks fly from the gears of the outrage factory, politicians have to be seen to do something. And that something is—reaction theater. This could entail spilling tears in public, putting on the “concerned” face, blowing hot air about “changing the laws” (even though the basic problem is not the law but the low rate of conviction), and then taking countermeasures that cannot be called cosmetic or knee-jerk—like making sure cars dont have dark screens, or making sure that bars close by 7 pm (Since people cannot drink at home or in the streets or in their cars). There are some politicians who react differently—they blame the victims, call rapes a “political conspiracy” and then transfer out the courageous police officer who cracks the case. Is there any particular politician I am talking about here? Of course not.

7. Like a hyper-energetic baby on a sugar-rush, the national outrage factory burns itself up and settles down into its warm blanket, sucking on a pacifier. The politicians go back to their day jobs—making money for themselves and those that give them money. Police reform , a national 911 for sexual violence, a national sex-offenders database for convicted sex felons (and yes not just rapists but convicted street-sexual-harassers) are not pursued because they are all difficult concepts that difficult to get angry about. People will keep opining on message boards, on and off, as to why rapists are not being hung by their testicles, but, in general, that will be their level of their engagement.

8. A blog-post is written to outrage about the outrage.

9. Till the next outrage.

 

 

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90 thoughts on “The Sexual Violence National Outrage Playbook

  1. Brilliant GB! But sometimes it does require a jolt to shake the masses out of their slumber. I hope something substantial comes out of this horrific incident although my cynical self knows the chances of that happening is about as much as that of the world ending today!

  2. Don’t know what to say- hope that this event and the subsequent hype does materialize into something concrete. Things might not change overnight, but maybe a quick movement in judiciary and a harsh sentence will instill some fear in the mind of beasts!

    The rediff.com article was completely unwanted. I wonder if they have stopped reviewing articles before printing them out.

  3. Well, nicely put. You know, I am aware that crimes are not exactly solved the way they are in CSI, but the US has at least an accessible database of offenders. Outrage is going to amount to nothing, but at least I hope someone is in the process of thinking about control measures. Until then we have Facebook and vigilante justice.

  4. Brilliant analysis as usual, Arnab. Thanks for pointing out that systemic failure is the reason for the madness. It’s so true.

  5. While I agree that in general rape is about control and not libido, but I feel in case of Indian youth, it’s probably not so much. If you see the stuff people do on valentine day(for and against), you will know what i am talking about. Indian youth are probably the most frustrated sexually, especially in the lower rungs of economy. Thus the whole groping and pinching in public transportation and such places. Ironic considering the country is shooting to be the most populated country in near future.

  6. For me, this incident like countless others only evokes grief.. No anger. Have been following the news regarding the victim’s condition and cry when I think of the life she will lead once she leaves the hospital. Justice may be doled out sooner in this particular case, but what we truly need is an overhaul of our archaic judicial system. As for me, the least I can do is explain the difference between what’s right and wrong to my two little boys hoping that they grow up making the right decisions along life’s way.

  7. Thanks to the Outrage the police was under pressure arrested the rapist ( i know There is a good chance they might have just picked some guys from the street to calm the public). Yes I agree the outrage happens for incidents in metro cities but the answer is not to shut up totally it is upto media & general public in small cities to raise their voice , announce boycott of the media that is ignoring them. Bombard big media and govt in social media.
    In this new world there is no such thing as small city as long as you are educated and Internet savvy playing field is level.
    In short i say when an outrage happens in your city express your outrage that’s the least u can do.

  8. Sadly, its not just Delhi that has turned into India’s Rape Capital, thanks to the apathy of Sheila Dikshit’s Govt.

    Our beloved Bengal, especially its border districts, is witnessing horrific gangrapes on a regular basis. But the paid media is hushing up all of these barbaric rape attacks, because of the culprits’ identities. So what do I and my friends do? I humbly state that we try our best to offer support to some of the families of the raped girls and we directly pay the lawyer’s/court’s fees so that atleast some of the victims can take their rapists to court. But the remaining raped girls are still awaiting help, because of the apathy from fellow urbanites. :(

    And in Mumbai, the last time a brave man tried to save a girl from being sexually assaulted, her would-be rapists killed him by kicking his genitals. But since he happened to be a Shiv Sena leader, most of the biased media hushed up his ultimate sacrifice.

  9. Brilliant post. These “revolutions” will amount to nothing in a country like India where the machinery that runs the nation needs huge amount of skilled repair. If it needed to be thrown out then going on the streets would make sense. In this case too it will die a natural death but the way this picked up was amazing. I see nothing but this in all the news channel 24 hours a day because it so easy to report and garner viewership. The numbers on the streets swelled by reinforcement and attention provided by the media. Once that goes it will die down but not after a record run.

  10. It’s a good post about outrage. I have a couple of questions:

    1. I keep hearing this Rape is about control and not about lust. What does this mean? Why does that rapist want to control a random stranger by forcing himself on her? Why can’t it be just lust?

    2. This is a post about outrage and I agree with you on false outrages. How is this outrage different from your outrage on Guns in America last week? If you substitute this Delhi Rape case with Newton tragedy, where was your post on outrage on blaming guns when there were several other reasons for the tragedy?

    3. Some of the solutions you present may have some benefit in preventing rapes. The sexual offender database is certainly not one of them. Read how things can go out of hand with these databases.

    http://www.economist.com/node/14164614

    Other than those, I generally agree with your post.

  11. 1. Try outraging against every rape that happens in the country. There were over 1,00,000 rapes in last 5 years. It is physically impossible to outrage against each of them even if you decide to become a professional anti-rape outrager, outraging 24/7.

    2. Outrage on TV is necessary and important part of change in society. The manufactured outrage by secularist on TV news channels against Gujarat riots may have forever ended mass-killings and state-sponsored ethnic cleansing in the country.

    Points 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 are various other manifestations of the outrage. These manifestations of outrage may look silly and slightly comical when clinically analyzed with a cynical eye, but nevertheless are a better option to collective apathy.

  12. I shivered with horror when i read that girl was brutalised by iron rod damaging her intestines.

    We need to think about workable but little restricting solutions in this imperfect system where police to population ratio and crime conviction & reporting is very low. And whoever still opposes tinted glasses or ban on alchohol without doing anything to stop crime are gen X Chuttiya who cant think beyond showing anger on facebook.

  13. My IQ is in the low 50’s, so I find it really tough to understand sarcasm. Do you, by any chance, want to summarize by saying “Is desh ka kuch nahi ho sakta”? If so, I urge you to seek medical help. If no, I urge you to see literary help, because laymen like me are really unable to grasp the point you’re trying to make.

  14. It is better to do something then nothing. Jessica lal, Ruchika Gehrotra, Lokpal, Citizen charter i can give many example where something happend due to your ‘manufactured’ outrage. Kuch na karo to Indian people kuch nahi karte. Kuch karo to ‘manufactured’. Jheel (Lake) main ek patthar (stone) to fenko. Kuch to hulchul hogi.

  15. GB, I’ve been reading your blog for quite sometime now. Your writing has become much fluid and its an absolute delight to read, and the fact you could turn up excellent posts with a brilliant insight so prolifically, is just awesome. Well done.

  16. Hamming is just the way we communicate. Subtlety, has never been our forte, be it jokes in our movies, which have to be explained in excruciating detail. Or a social message that has to be spelled out, just in case the audience had a sub zero IQ. I want to believe that all the song and dance our dilli wala’s religiously pulls out on long weekends, does make some positive dent in our collective psyche. I would love to believe, that atleast one “Himanshu” would take ‘eve-teasing’ out of his evening routine.

  17. I would ssuggest use FB and twitter to discourage tourists an business people (foreign and domestic) to go to Delhi. Atleast that can be done with just being infront of a monitor. Go to travel-boards, explain why Delhi is unsafe to visit, discourage setting up businesses there etc. At the same time, people inside Delhi should be encouraged to move out elsewhere for the sake of their family.

    While the things one can do without physically protesting are limited, these things can surely be done. Even if a tiny fraction of people who are newly outraged today still remains upset a week from now, it can still make a little difference.

  18. If eve-teasing can be achieved by whistling, adam-teasing can be achieved by suitable clothing. (No contact is needed in either case.) But complaining about adam-teasing is the stuff from Afghanistan, whereas eve-teasing is first-world. We will never get past this mess as long as men’s bodies need women’s bodies for gratification so much more than the other way around. So yes, castration would be a great plan, and not only for rapists. See? Sanjiv Gandhi was spot-on all along!

  19. Normally I like your sarcastic take on things but this one has a reek of a professional armchair cynic in it. What’s wrong with feeling outraged at a horrible crime? Would you feel as cynical about the outrage due to Connecticut massacre? It is easy for people like you and me to feel all superior and amused at the events in our homeland from the comfort of our couches. No change will ever happen without an outrage. That is as true of India as it is of America.

  20. Delhiites, try kicking Sheila Dikshit and Congress Party ouf of power next time.
    That would be a good start.

    You people vote for corrupt self-serving people who come to power and do naada for you, and then you bitch on the internet and take out candle light vigils, when the people you gave the responsibility, fail.

  21. “Remember how India won freedom by making “#QuitIndia” trend?” lol !

    There is much value in this sentence of your’s which I wouldn’t devalue by belaboring.

  22. Seriously why are we so shocked at a brutal rape? Type in the search string ‘rape scene’ or ‘brutal bondage’ on Google and your would discover a huge market for those of us who get pleasure from total subjugation of another human being. So its ok to fantasize about it?

  23. Arnab usually I like your sarcasm but you are really crossing the line here. People are just sympathizing with an unfortuante person and you are just mocking them. I know the point you are trying to make is that in 10 days, everyone will forget about the girl and will go back to their usual life but that doesn’t mean that they can’t help the kid by rising in protest.
    I would very much like to see what you would suggest people should do under such circumstances. I know you would go idealistic that system should change and should be overhauled but such kind of change doesn’t happen in one person’s lifetime. Everyone is frustrated with the law and order situation in India but we are tying to make the best out of it. If everyone would not have protested, this issue wouldn’t have got such a coverage and I hope that this protest will result in something positive not only for this victim in Delhi but also in small villages and towns where such occurrences happen regularly.

  24. Wonderful point, Mr. Vivek Gupta. After the Connecticut massacre, the self-proclaimed “Great” Bong writes at length about why there should a more stringent gun control law in the United States.
    The same person, after the Delhi rape, makes a mockery of the protests.

  25. Vicky/Vivek Gupta,

    I am saddened by the fact that you misunderstood my post. My points:

    1. Some people are using this tragedy for their own purpose. Amreekandesi pointed out a FB page where people were being pretty shameless about using the tragedy to get “Likes” (Like this page if you oppose rape-type rhetoric). A news channel is pitching a “protest” so that they can get “live and exclusive” coverage to boost their TRP.

    2. If sexual violence is a concern, why not make it an election issue? Why the need for visible, over-dramatic displays of outrage? We saw the same thing for “Lok Pal Bill”. In the case of Lok Pal, at least they were trying to get a Bill passed. By the way, how are people “helping the kid by rising in protest?” (your words) Protest against what exactly? It’s not as if the perpetrators have been let go, like in some prominent cases.

    3. If the intent of “protestors” is to force the government to make a policy, what policy is that? Stronger laws? How many people on the streets or on Twitter know what the laws are? What are the policy changes that need to happen? If you want to increase conviction rates, how would standing on the streets and shouting lead that to happen? Will you keep doing that till police reforms happen? You seriously think, this is THAT easy? In USA, the solution is simple. Ban guns. It’s not going to happen but the solution, once again is quite simple. This is a far more complex problem than that.

    4. Every year, there is some outrage. It was corruption last year. Sexual violence this year There will be some days of “Tahrir Square” rhetoric. Some police-protestor action. And then soon, business back to usual. To repeat, you have a vote. Use it. When the politician comes to your door during Corporation/State/Central election, ask them what are they doing about police reforms, a sex offender registry, a sexual-violence national hotline? Why not ask them to give up, as a personal gesture, the cops that wash dishes at their house so that they can patrol the streets? Why not use social media to create a group of like-minded individuals, each of whom can ask their legislators their same questions and give the same ultimata. Note, I am talking about holding politicians accountable for concrete measures not taken. Ill-articulated “outrage” does no one any good.

  26. You can choose be critical and cynical about the outrage (which is easy, different, and attention grabbing; but adds up to nothing except for few more clicks on your blog-post and some zero-value discussions like this one), or ignore it, or come up with constructive suggestions / solutions, or even better do something about it.

    In your post and and of your comments, you criticize media and people to be using this tragedy for their own benefit. What makes you different from those people, and why I can’t I assume that you are using this issue to promote your blog?

  27. Debasish Choudhury,

    You are being unfair. Arnab has not proclaimed himself to be a/the “great”bong. As far as I remember he was bestowed this epithet sarcastically by a friend/rommmate from grad school days. Of course this is asll subject to correction from the great man himself.

  28. Rishi,

    Because my blog is my space. I choose to write there. I do not ask people to RT this or share this as a protest against rape. Nor do I benefit commercially from any site visits. That’s why.

  29. @Bengal Voice – fantastic! this was the perfect time to dish out your propaganda. Is there anything in this world which you don’t see from your saffron tinted glasses ?

  30. Not sure if I completely agree with your argument. Going by your rationale, no one’s asking you to watch TV, and one always has the option of not watching/ignoring TV or other media. Plus, not all benefits have to be commercial. It’s your blog, and you can choose to write what you want, but you expect people to read it. Don’t you? Otherwise, this would have been your own personal diary.

  31. Agree..

    Why is there an overall lack of Leadership in india?

    Where is our choked up obama address for the victims?

    Where is the watch out for this dude who is going to one up Sachin?

    Kejriwal is tainted, SRK/Sachin are selfish, Rahul is a puppet and Modi is a mass murderer. Sub sale chor hai…

    Do we not let leaders develop, everything slightly good is put under a microscope immediately?

  32. Question is what actions can be taken by citizens apart from shouting on facebook and streets…We should be open to all sorts of solutions…i tried to guess some solutions.

    Pepper spray with alarm can be distributed at concessional rates to women.
    Honey traps for Roadside Romeos.

    Severely Limit Alcohol availability and ban it in crime prone cities like delhi till it learns to behave. (for example- In kolkata, people knows to drink soberly.)

    Implement Ban on Tinted films in vehicles. Presently its banned and only factory fitted glasses are allowed.Again its about availability and deterrence.

    Setup legal help centers for victims.

    Dont let them forget. And keep communicating with the govt. File PIL and RTI queries with help of activists.

    Stop reading dumb newspaper like TOI which does not educate the readers abt their rights and solutions.

    To all the commentators here, do tell me what action are you going to take. Dont just talk, take some action according to your ability.

    Think of greater good and be ready to give up few comforts.

  33. Ornob Da,

    forget delhi. our kolkata has a cm who may be incorruptible but completely MAD (rape? shob CPM chaal). Bengalis would like to believe that they have another grace period of 30 years to realize this.

  34. “Like a hyper-energetic baby on a sugar-rush, the national outrage factory burns itself up and settles down into its warm blanket, sucking on a pacifier.”

    Though that is a good analysis, however, Arnab, if you fail to empathize with the genuine outrage of thousands, who may be misguided, then I only want you to re-examine your own contribution to anything.

    People do what they can to the best of their understanding (however flawed). A little bit of empathy for their genuine feelings wouldn’t be out of order.

    Don’t throw mud, offer something constructive. And we both know how f*cking hard things are to change to some permanent good.

  35. First gather all the six accused who raped the young girl
    Strip them all naked and tie both their hands and legs with steel ropes.
    Leave them for 2-3 days and dehydrate them. Their bodies should be completed dehydrated.
    Then they should be injected with such a chemical that they are instantly paralyzed but they don’t lose consciousness.
    Take six steel rods each being 8-9 ft long with both sides that are completely blunt. Added bonus if the steel rods are highly rusted.
    All the six victims should be conscious. Take the first one and lie him chest down in the ground. Spread his legs.
    One person should slowly enter the steel rod through his anus.
    Another person should be at the other end of the steel rod and he should use a hammer to gently strike the rod should it give any resistance.
    Now first person should keep his foot firmly over the rapist’s neck.
    The second person should keep on hammering the rod gently and steadily.
    The steel rod will gently penetrate the rapist’s large intestine and then proceed to tear his stomach and liver. Eventually the steel rod would tear some of his arteries and move though his lungs.
    The steel rod would then penetrate his wind pipes and slowly and steadily pierce and enter his tonsils. Finally the rod would slide through his brain and eventually reach the inside of his skull. At this moment the person holding the hammer might need a little bit of extra effort and strike it a little harder. The steel rod would eventually crack his skull.
    Now the rod should be pushed a little bit extra so that the rod is approx 1.5 ft extra on both sides.
    Lay the bastard aside.
    During all of this make sure the other five bastards are watching this.
    Now take the next bastard and repeat the same steps described above.
    When the remaining last has been done the job is almost complete. Remove the steel rods from each one of them.
    The corpses can be thrown in the midst of some really hungry dogs.
    Alternatively they can be pulverized in an industrial pulverizer and turned into fertilizer.

  36. There is an Arundhati Roy in you, sans the exaggerated persistence towards contrary view points.

    On a serious note, I agree with your post. Kidnappings and sexual assault on women in Delhi and Gurgoan are as natural as a popcorn during movie interval.. yes the act was gruesome and the outrage is justified only if its the accumulated expression of the frustration and helpless of people..hope something concrete comes out of this and this exercise is a farce if its being given as a support of this victim alone who has already suffered some irreparable damages..

  37. Very very cynical.

    In the Pakistani newspaper Dawn, career-India-basher, Jawed Naqvi wrote that a prominent Indian newspaper’s report on shanties around Delhi as ‘fertile breeding grounds of crime’ was due to the paper’s proprietor’s real-estate ‘ambitions’. He could do without the slums.

    We could do without this kind of cynicism.

    What you call the ‘outrage factory’ is nothing but the people’s desire to participate, but without a real grassroots culture and knowledge of participatory democracy, the only way they know is to turn it into an us-vs-them confrontation. They are leaderless. That’s why you have the surreality of teenagers screaming into microphones for hanging and housewives demanding castration.

    To call their outrage manufactured is to belittle them. Are they out on the streets just because they want to be on tv? Are they that clueless that they do not understand that the government is not going to hang and castrate the criminals in public? Do they not know about the three other brutal rapes reported in just today’s newspapers alone?

    Calling the Govt of India ‘reactive’ would be the understatement of the century. The current incumbents in power would like nothing better that collective cycicism among the populace and its resulting silence, as they lay low and pray for the media storm to die. Thankfull, the media is still on the case. Thanks to the thousands of people out on the streets. Yes, some of them may think that the protests will culminate in public hangings at India Gate. But all sorts are welcome, when it helps to create public pressure.

    As insurgent groups in many parts of the country have learnt, create some noise, explode a few bombs, kill a couple of dozen people, ambush a CRPF patrol, and it’s very likely that the government will sit across the table with you and give in to at least 3 of your 10 demands. It’s a sick model of governance, but this is what we have. It will not change overnight.

    If an outrage model of protests is what it takes to get government machinery moving, and if media only coalesces around an issue when it smells TRP, I’ll definitely take that as a way forward rather than being cynical and doing absolutely nothing at all. There will be extreme positions taken, but I have enough faith in the lethargic, glacial law-making process of the country to weed out these outliers and move towards sane, humane, legally defensible, laws. But they need to be pushed, at the point of anarchy, if necessary.

  38. GB,

    I agree that there is exploitation of tragedy by some people to further their own interest. This happens in every society. Just the other day there were reports of some shameless swindlers creating fake charities for Newton victims.

    The broader point remains that people in India feel that without a display of anger, the powers that be don’t listen. I can sympathise with that sentiment though I may not always agree with the means to express that anger. Yes, people can vote, get organized, file petitions, etc. and for all I know there may be people out there doing exactly that. But, elections come every five years, courts move with the speed with which courts in India do. The unfortunate reality is that our leaders wake up to people’s concern only around election time. It is understandable that poeple feel that Indian system needs a more forceful statement to be heard. I doubt that without the colective outrage, any action would have taken place in the telecom scandal, commonwealth scandal and numerous other scandals. Rapes in Delhi have been a long standing problem and despite constant noise in that regard, nothing concrete has been done to get a grip on the situation. It is understandable that people’s anger has boiled over after one horrible rapes too many.

    The Internet and media has certainly made it much easier for people to get mobilized and express their view. I think of this constant outpouring of outrage in India as a sign that Information age has helped people be more active in civic life. This is probably a good development for the future of Indian democracy.

  39. The State is like a sphinx without emotions. It just occupies space – suitably high for its own pedestalization – and keeps looking at the world around without a blink. Its very demeanour is like the inelegant emblem of power gone brutally wrong. Its architectural maze is the very essence of a mild and lingering fear that refuses to go away. No matter what, your relationship with the state can never be easy. You cannot move in a surge towards its august abodes in the hope of a dialogue. You cannot have a dialogue with the State for like, the pretentiously blind justice, the State is conveniently deaf. To compound our difficulties, one is invariably more than just a citizen. Even those whom the State and many of its bonafide subjects treat as less than citizens and therefore only partially acceptable as human beings, even they have enormous capacity to dream and to have, at times exasperating, desires. All acts of anguished coming together of the people against the State are, therefore, acts celebrating the self and opening it up in unexpected ways like inchoate desires.

  40. Many news organizations in the western media hypes up the kind of protests/ organised outrages that they wish to cover. Fox did that for the Tea Party, MSNBC for OWS, CNN,BBC for Tahrir Square. While its not the same as organising something itself, its not entirely a novel concept to boost TRP. Besides, what is even wrong with a TV channel selling public a popular product which in this case happens to be a healthy one as well?

  41. What happened in Delhi is totally not acceptable and media is doing a great job against this, but my question is why the media working only in delhi or similarly sized cities? My friends please tell them there are many more places in India where law is so non-existent for many rowdy that it’s a shame. A rape or murder is part of daily lives….. that’s the state of affairs in our great democracy.

  42. I think this is the second most insensitive comment I read/heard ever since this tragedy happens. The first one was by Roy, Arundhati Roy. Here we are almost crying, unable to sleep properly at night thinking about the 23 year old kid who was brutalized, who could be my niece. Here we have self-proclaimed intellectuals ridiculing such a brutal incident and the public response to it. I do not know enough English to express my disgust against these insensitive people. But I will try.

    Mr. Ray, the people who were out on the streets expressing their “outrage”, were mostly comprised of college girls from Delhi, one of whom was gang raped and brutalized and who continue live through the abuse and humiliation in public transports and other public places. I will bet my life that their anger and frustration is genuine and not a fashion show as you are alluding. People feel connected with a certain socio-ethnic group and when something happens to one from that group, they feel more pain than same thing happening to people from other social and cultural background. This is natural human tendency. So when a middle class college kid gets brutalized, we, other middle class people, with college going children feel angry and scared. We have not learned from intellectuals like Ms. Roy and Mr. Ray to hold that anger and pain for some adivasi girl from a tier 3 city. We are sorry. May be we should read your posts more often to learn that. And the media is just reporting that anger. What’s wrong with that? Private media do not run on charity. It’s a business. So they need TRP. What’s wrong with that? Because of this “outrage” and continuous media coverage, the victim is getting the best medical care possible, and hopefully she will survive and the six accused are in jail. What is wrong with that? I guess they did not ask Mr. Ray to appear in TV and give his valuable suggestion on how to fix India’s problem that is the main crime of the media. I do not know what channels Mr. Ray was watching, all the channels I watched, people did talk about better enforcement and more accountability, changing attitude towards women, along with capital punishment. Mr. Goswami (of Times Now) was just doing his job and I think he was doing rather well.

    What are you suggesting that a crime of this nature will happen and all the college kids and media people and politicians will have proper breakfast, dress properly, sit around a round table with glasses of water in from of them, go over an agenda on how to improve the situation, create a MPP and implement it!

    Now let me come to your valuable suggestions.
    1) Database of convicted rapists: How good are they? They only work on serial rapists, which are abundant in USA but rare in India.
    2) National 911: How will national help line help a girl getting eve teased in Bankura?
    Parroting a bunch of American concepts is not sound advice, as if anybody is asking for some from you. What will probably help is a massive increae of lady police in the force. This will also help in reducing corruption. I hope that the protesters demand that when they meet the politicians.

    Coming to your paradise AKA America. Few days before Sandy Hook massacre, there was another massacre in a gurudwara in Milwaukee, with a racial overture to it. I did not see any national outrage in the USA; no one was calling for throwing all the guns in Lake Michigan. Obama did not break down in tears. I doubt if you wrote a piece on gun control and got wah wah from courtiers. Why not! Because the victims were not mainstream. I and totally understand. This is normal human reaction, not a pseudo-intellectual one.
    Finally, things DO change in India. For example, police did effectively clamp down on drunk driving after a few tragic accidents and the “outrages” that followed them. They change because collage kids brave police batons and water cannons to express their “outrage” against injustice. Not because cynical and selfish people like you who after receiving free public education flee their homes, families for greener pasture to a society where they are treated as wanted aliens writing cynical blogposts about the country you fled.

    I hope you will have the moral courage to keep this comment and let your courtiers read it.

  43. “You have a vote. Use it.” — For how many issues? To redress how many wrongs? To kick out how many jokers? I have only one vote. It’s tiny, shriveled and entirely pathetic.

  44. It’s the brutality of the crime that sparked my outrage more than the social affiliation of the victim. I believe same is true for many people. Same thing happened in Sandy Hook. It’s the young age of the victims that sparked the outrage, not just the scale of the massacre. But these human feelings are beyond your cool intellectual logical brain.

  45. Excellent points, Subhendu.
    Some things are just too genuine and too important to throw the water of cynicism as Mr. Arnab as done here.

  46. I would not bother to write so much about a stupid post had I not been really sad and angry about this incident. Ever since this happened, I have not spent a single hour not thinking about what that poor girl had to go through and how her parents must be feeling. Instead of being a stupid post, had this been a wise one full of solid ideas, I would still say insensitive comments have their own time. At a time of a national tragedy, when the victim is still fighting for her life is not the right time for rationalizing how pathetic your country is. Would you be courageous enough to rationalize US policy on 9/11? You would have been lynched had you done so. But you feel safe to do the same for your poor country, because you know that you are safe in your US apartments. I hope that changes soon.

    Now coming to the point that you do not gain financially via your posts so you are better than Arnab Goswami, who is trying to make a buck. I would argue that you are worse than him He is trying to make a living by giving media coverage for a national tragedy. In that process he is probably helping India. You write your blogs just for intellectual glory. I doubt if welfare of India and Indians are your motives behind writing these posts. I have a sneaky suspicion that you have a suppressed desire that India stays violent and backward so that you can gloat over how your lives are so much better than those pathetic Indians. I regard Arnab Goswami’s motives less conceited than Arnab Ray’s.

    This is my last comment about your post. I had enough.

  47. Arnab,

    On the whole, I agree with the gist of your blog post. Watching the ‘protests’ on TV, I got the same feeling of witnessing outrage for the sake of outrage, of protest as an end in itself.

  48. Please stop being highly intellectual for a moment and think about this.

    Think about the poor girl who was brutally assaulted, thrown on the street left to die. A crowd of 50 mute spectators gathered, not a single one helped or even tried to cover the injured, bleeding, naked girl with his shirt. The perpetrators went on with their lives the next day confident that they wouldn’t be caught.

    Think about the poor family who sold their land to send their daughter to follow her dream of becoming a doctor, think about what they must be going through. Think about how that poor girl is going to live the rest of her life if she survives. What about physical pain, financial burden of care, her quality of life, lifelong care for her, her dreams of becoming a doctor, marriage, having a family one day (all that apart from the social stigma that is attached to rape)?

    If this doesn’t make you angry and make you want to do something I don’t know what will? The least you can do is write such piece and ridicule people who are trying to do something about it.

    Our Indian government is too busy organizing CWG, selling 2G spectrum, diligently mining coal to solve energy crisis. If it wasn’t for this outrage nothing would have happened.
    I hope you publish this in your post.

  49. I have been following your blog posts for almost 3 years now and I have enjoyed it thoroughly. But today the feelings were different – disappointment and hopelessness

  50. Big fan of your writings but am on a different page on this. Your post came across as too cynical and projects an opinion as if there is no right of the citizens except the voting right. The leaderless and spontaneous agitation might have its own shortcoming and may seem pointless for not having a specific objective and goal but in general this is the genuine emotional outburst of the the people who empathize with the poor victim and share an angst against the mis-governance, ineffecient policing and lack of fear of law in the mind of perpetrators of such heinous crimes. There are times when you can’t help getting emotional and if this is not that time then what is? This public pressure will surely pay some dividends. Lets be optimistic….

  51. The comment section looks like a huge outrage about a blog post which was an outrage about an outrage.
    GB always tries to flip the coin,he was trying to direct our attention to people who are taking advantage of this situation.
    But I guess he screwed up.
    Everyone is way too angry right now to get the point.
    PS: just because he is in US doesn’t mean he can’t have opinions about Indian issues

  52. GB, you have become unusually sentimental. I may be blocked for writing this but it is true that in Modi’s utterly communal India which is ‘not represenative’ of India as a Nation – sexual offence is much less.

    Just a thought

  53. @Bengal Voice-

    “Our beloved Bengal, especially its border districts, is witnessing horrific gangrapes on a regular basis. But the paid media is hushing up all of these barbaric rape attacks, because of the culprits’ identities. So what do I and my friends do? I humbly state that we try our best to offer support to some of the families of the raped girls and we directly pay the lawyer’s/court’s fees so that atleast some of the victims can take their rapists to court. But the remaining raped girls are still awaiting help, because of the apathy from fellow urbanites. :(

    And in Mumbai, the last time a brave man tried to save a girl from being sexually assaulted, her would-be rapists killed him by kicking his genitals. But since he happened to be a Shiv Sena leader, most of the biased media hushed up his ultimate sacrifice.”

    =================================

    Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap Clap

    Firstly what a brilliant post by the great GB. He possesses a rare insight that few intellectuals around the world possess. Someone like N. Kristof of NYTImes is like a baby in front of the great GB.

    Now coming back to what you said Bengal Voice, it is true. In fact the defining trait of the Indian secular are as follows:

    1> A dad with a sexy teenage daughter. Signs 1000 Facebook petitions everyday. Sharpens a knife and meat cleaver everyday thinking about a million different ways to hang a rapist by his balls or castrate him. One night, he is watching porn and jacking off in his bedroom. He hears the noise, “Bachao Bachao”. He sees from his window that his teenage daughter is being raped. he runs down with his knife. Frees his daughter. About to castrate the perpetrator. Then the perpetrator says, “In the name of allah, dont do this.” The pseudo-secular man melts. Leaves the man. Drops the knife. Kisses the M perpetrator in a way which pornstars can dream of. Mouth to mouth. Saliva flows out of his mouth like water thru a broken dam. The astonished perpetrator asks, “Why are you doing this?”. Man replies, “Because I am a pseudo” :)

    2> A girl called Falio Solar Eclipse, a Christian, writes a book. She is a bad writer. But psuedo faux pundits elevate her to Hemmingway levels.

    3> Bangalore. A self-proclaimed social liberal. Going to work in an auto. Sees a small news item on his item where its reported that in Bengal, a M has raped a H girl. Quickly dismisses it as its against his worldview of ‘fixed’ perpetrators and victims. He then sees a NE India girl from Manipur being pushed around. Again this is not enough to provoke him as in his eyes, people of NE India, just like Bengal are not Indian enough. Then he sees a Catholic nun being molested. He swings into action like a coiled spring and does what his pseudo-secular worldview tells him to do.

    The media is pesudo-secular sighs, my friend BV. What can you do? This selective outrage frustrates me no end.

  54. Completely agree with you GB.

    It is Step 1 that makes me feel all this outrage is manufactured and that these guys are the biggest hypocrites. On the same day as the coverage of the rape, I saw a big piece on Mint about a child dying of hunger / malnutrition as his mother did not receive their due rations (due to people siphoning it along the way). Why, there was even a rape of an infant in Vadodara this week.

    I don’t see these upper class scums ever protest against such atrocities

  55. A small article in Kolkata local newspapers yesterday (26/12/12) – a group of picnicers, (employed people, which means minimum graduates with stable incomes) have beaten to death a roadside-eatery owner (on the road to Digha)as he refused to serve them food at 2 AM! I’m sorry if some of you feel that I am out of context. But I found the news completely in the same league as Delhi gangrape. A woman’s modesty outraged, she is beaten up and left to die. A low-income earning man beaten to death because a handful of middle-class people could not control his decision. Again this news will not attract media because of the many reasons that GB pointed out so well. And about the effect the outrage has produced – go through the mainstream newspapers day by day, page by page for everyday after 16th December. You will not find a single-day’s newspaper without news of a rape. Be it a 3-year old baby girl or a 52 year old mentally challenged woman. So much for candlelight vigils and media coverages!

  56. It’s a tad cynical this post. There is some truth to it in the sense that it takes something as ghastly as this incident for the pent up frustrations to come out, but please understand that the people who are out there on the streets are largely young people varied backgrounds, and they do not have a leader. What I am hopeful of though is some leader will emerge out of this and channelize all this energy towards something which will hold the cops as well as the society at large much more accountable towards such incidents.
    Like the Protection of Women from Sexual harassment in the workplace bill for e.g. which is currently pending approval in the Rajya Sabha.
    Like some bill for fast track courts
    Like some law that ensures implementation of these bills.
    I can hope, and this movement has given me that hope

  57. its good, a bit over done.
    Should have got to the point earlier makes good point or two.
    It starts with the man in the mirror and also they are simple small solutions which are not glamorous but can get the job done by doing them consistently
    the early part does all it self to be misunderstood.
    That’s what happens when you focus too much on effect rather than essence of your message..

  58. Although same template, bomb blast(forgot the name of the chapter…lost the book) in MIHYAP, still holds true!
    Interesting indeed…

    we are guinea pig in an experiment….civilization…region…history …blah blah…

    and … a very happy happy birthday!!

  59. I Did NOT like this post at all.Sarcasm,Arnab? You?
    We all want amendments in law.If you don’t know it already,Pratibha Patil gave a life sentence instead of capital punishment to rapists in six different cases.
    Why not pass a law on castration?
    You tell me,how else will change happen if people like you sit pretty ranting impotently..

  60. Yes, this does tend to become a tamasha. Yes, the real problem is a culture that begins to hate women before they are even born.

    But think about this: all these protests have made more rape victims come forward rather than cowering in silence. Maybe the police will be frightened enough of public anger that they will pay attention. Even if the changes are small, isn’t that a good thing?

    A thought experiment: imagine that this had happened in 1987, in the days of Doordarshan. What do you think would have been the result? Would the 6 men even have been arrested?

    It may be a tamasha, but it’s progress. Progress is never as rapid or as clean as we would like.

  61. I believe that people who have left India for better prospects are not an authority to comment on things like this.

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