Here You Go, Another Post on ‘Nirbhaya’

In the wake of the most recent Delhi gang-rape case, a lot of brouhaha has ensued. Everyone’s moral compass has suddenly swung to ‘Protect the Indian Daughter’ mode. People are organizing mass rallies, posters with witty slogans are found on every paan-spit soaked wall and pillar and every other blogger is crying hoarse for justice, equality, security, yada, yada.

All the news channels are holding hour long debates where the same four – five stalwarts namely, Sheila Dikshit, Suhel Seth, Meenakshi Lekhi, Renuka Chowdhury and one or two extra fittings vehemently discuss how brutal the rape was, what the most tortuous punishment ought to be for the rapists, the hard-heartedness of the Delhiites who let ‘Nirbhaya’ lie sans help and the horrendous justice system with appropriately pained faces and a forced tear and anguished plea for sanity interjected once in a while when things get monotonous.

Basically, my head is spinning after watching, reading and endlessly discussing all this nonsense with every second person I meet. The basic problem is that all we are doing is just that. Discussing, probing, arguing. Conjecture is an art the idle Indian has perfected. We take an issue and dissect it limb-by-limb, criticizing everything and everyone associated with it, proclaiming ourselves to be judges of morality and civility while shaking our heads disapprovingly at others. But, do these so-called debates ever pan out to anything?

Take the case of Priyadarshini Mattoo. Or Ruchika Gehrotra. Or Aarushi Talwar. Or Soumya Vishwanathan. All these are high profile cases. All caused furore in the media and within the Indian community. There were rallies, heated debates and a lot of campaigning here and there (just as is going on with the ‘Nirbhaya’ case). But, a few months down the lane, all that remains is a hurried whisper and a stifled sigh. No new laws have been made, nothing has really changed, we’ve just moved onto a new story. Where is the action that follows a heartfelt discussion? Where is the law that follows a petition signed by a million odd Indians? Where is the court sentence that follows the endless chasing of the judicial system?

Who cares, right? Let us all just watch these debates, make some poignant comments here and there and then return to our old ways of turning the other cheek when we see someone teasing a young girl on her way home from college. Let us all ‘Like’ Facebook pages devoted to the ‘Nirbhaya’ case – albeit the only posts on them being photoshopped pictures of the nth India Gate candlelit-midnight peace walk or some passionate sloganeering-type quote that rouses the emotionally charged Indian to ‘Share’ the post on her/his feed, and feel good about herself/himself. ‘Cause like hell we’ll actually do something about it.

In reality, it is easier to make lofty speeches and discuss intelligently but, are we doing something constructive about the issue? It need not be a massive gesture or something groundbreaking – although those would be awesome – something thoughtful, I would imagine as being enough for beginners. Lighting a candle shows respect, I agree but, berating someone eve-teasing a young girl is what would actually make a difference. It is high time we stopped pretending to care and actually took action. After all, these are our lives, our people and our society we are talking about.

Holi – India’s Excuse for a Nationwide Rave

Imagine a large crowd at a fancy Hauz Khas ground in New Delhi’s posh South Delhi area busting out their choice Bollywood moves to DJ Crayzeee’s Dhol Mix of ‘Rand Barse‘, Bhang or, more likely Vodka-Sprite, in one hand and an acid green water-pistol filled with mellow-yellow colored water in the other. There are photogs, News reporters and the occasional Holi-bash crasher on the prowl as the chic Delhiite parties on with abandon.

Welcome to the new age Holi celebration. Gone are the days when Holi was a festival when family and friends greeted each other with flowers, gujias and organic Vermilion teekas. When one wore white and harmlessly pelted one another with flower-based colors and doused water on each other with simple pichkaaris after gathering around to pray to God to mark the triumph of good over evil.

For instance, in 2011, India‘s capital was host to ‘Holi Cow’ on Vasantotsav (Huh, what’s that?), a rock concert featuring artistes like Menwhopause, Mob Marley Inc., et al which commercializes the festival as well as ensures that teenagers and ‘hip’ Delhiites skip the customary family lunch for an orgy of dubstep, rap and what-not.

Holi is fast becoming a breeding ground for tomfoolery, debauchery and commercialization. There are umpteen cases where boys take advantage of girls, touch them inappropriately and harass them. Illicit liquor, Bhang and other recreational drugs are pedalled freely on this day as the pot-bellied Delhi Police turns a blind eye labeling these exchanges as ‘innocent merrymaking on Holi‘. Mithai shops crank up the prices of frilly ribboned and sequined pre-packaged sweet hampers which not only taste manufactured but, also take away the joy of feasting on fresh homemade sweets.

It seems the undertones of the ‘festival of Spring’ are quietly withering away and like everything else, this link to India’s rich culture and history is dissolving fast into oblivion, just like the shade of organic Holi red dissolves into nothingness when synthetic color is added to the same bucket of water.