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About a people gone wrong

Published Jan 07, 2013 08:39am


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“If we are lighting candles to support someone, I feel that we should also help someone who is lying on the road. We were without clothes. We tried to stop people passing by. For about 25 minutes, several auto-rickshaws, cars and bikes slowed down but no one stopped. Then someone called the police. Three PCR [police control room] vans arrived after 45 minutes, before that no one came to help us.”

Lighting candles and helping people go together. That’s what the friend of the Delhi rape victim, who died following a brutal rape and assault after being flown to a Singapore hospital on December 29, told Zee news television on January 4.

“We didn’t have clothes, we were not able to stand and there were people passing by... They could have taken us to hospital, given us clothes in that crucial one and a half hours. For a dying person, every minute is important,” the friend, who was with the victim  and also assaulted, said, adding that even when the police finally took them to hospital, “no one even brought us a blanket”.

As I watched the Zee news interview in the comfort of my home, the horror of what this young couple went through took on a sharper edge. Here was one of the victims recounting what had happened to them. A British newspaper, which claimed to have interviewed the gang-rape victim’s father, quoted him as wanting to make her identity public. “My daughter didn’t do anything wrong, she died while protecting herself. I am proud of her. Revealing her name will give courage to other women who have survived these attacks. They will find strength from my daughter.”

The brave young man has also pilloried the police and its attitudes, a charge the Delhi police denied on Saturday, marshalling their own GPS data to suggest that their response was quick and assured.

But, this is not about the police. They deserve separate treatment.

It’s about us, about a people gone wrong.

Imagine, on a cold winter night, two young people, wounded and naked, calling out for help, and people watching them, but doing nothing to help.

And, then comes a massive outpouring that SHE was India’s daughter. Protests on an issue, which had more or less (wonder how though?) vanished from our screens of concern, suddenly sprouted.

India lives in an age where the only objective is personal and immediate progress.

An equal society and its reforms were damned as a mainstream objective a long time ago.

There are few dreamers for a better tomorrow.

There are even fewer heroes for young people to follow.

We live in a country and system where personal wealth and ways to add to it is the only ideology that rules.

More and more, we as a people, choose not to react to the pain and suffering of those around us. In the case of an accident, people will stop to stare, but do nothing to help.

Spectacle is all.

So, it took the breathtakingly horrific to move people, mainly the young, to come out on the streets as television screens showed nothing else other than the Delhi gang-rape and social media too focused on the issue.

But, as the young friend of the victim put it: do light candles, but next time also stop and take the wounded, the injured to hospital.

That’s one promise each one of us can make to ourselves.


Amit Baruah is an independent, Delhi-based journalist. He is the author of Dateline Islamabad and reported for The Hindu newspaper from Pakistan.


The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


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Amit Baruah is an independent, Delhi-based journalist. He is the author of Dateline Islamabad and reported for The Hindu newspaper from Pakistan. He tweets @abaruah64.

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (7) Closed

Tempure Jan 07, 2013 11:42am
I guess everybody wants to get on the self-righteousness brigade.
Deb Jan 07, 2013 11:41am
I am an Indian and I am ashamed.
MKB Jan 07, 2013 10:16am
Thanks Amit for reminding us. But I do feel that Delhi's rich have very litte heart for the this types of cases. They zoom past the victim and passer by who really understand and try to help, find it dificult to arrange transportation for the victims. It is the calllouness of the police for reaching late.
r.s.soni Jan 07, 2013 10:19am
sir, Delhi people all walks of life are selfish and hypocrites. . height of hypocrlsy being shown to the late victim. there are thousands of daminees being ill treated like burnt alive showing stove burning for less dowry.and many more atrocities on women
Zimbo_Indian Jan 07, 2013 12:25pm
Kabhi to subah aayegi ......
Kausik Jan 08, 2013 04:22am
This is excellent analysis maladies of society.candle lighting will not solve problems.citizens have humanitarian obligations.the young mans interview is a eye opener and heart breaking.we all need to change.1adopt Good Samaritan laws to encourage civilians to help.2give local police more freedom and authority3recruit more female officers to correct gender imbalance.this is not just rape but animal behavior with brutal murder.society and laws need to change.empty words or saying we have Female gods will not cut ice.we need to learn respect from our mothers and sisters.
umer Jan 08, 2013 07:34am
Tears all over my eyes as i read your article , i have no words to describe my feelings right now , may ALLAH punsh those who are wrong and give courage the victim`s parents and friends , this is brutal.