The Guwahati syndrome
If you currently reside in India and have access to TV or the internet, you probably know about how a mob of twenty perverts openly molested a young girl in Guwahati. This happened in public and was caught on camera. Currently, there is widespread anger over the issue all over the country. The “media” is having a field day. Women’s lib supporters are losing their shit. A whole bunch of men are contemplating voluntary castration purely out of embarrassment. Me? I’m trying real hard not to laugh.
Now before anything else, let me make this absolutely clear: I am in no way, condoning what happened. My heart goes out to the poor girl and if it were up to me, I’d burn these sick bastards at the stake.
Unfortunately, it is not up to me. So I’ll laugh. Not a “Oh man that’s so funny” kind of laugh. But the sort of laugh that keeps me from snapping. The kind that forces down the bile that rises up to my mouth. You know, the sort of laugh that keeps one from packing a loaded shotgun and going to the mall. That kind. It’s the exact same laugh that I perfected years ago as a teenager growing up in what has got to be, the most hypocritical nation on the face of this earth.
This righteous indignation that has flared up, seemingly out of pity or a broken sense of justice, (it’s hard to say which) is so far beyond pathetic that’s it’s impossible not to stand in awe of just how blind our society has become. So a girl got molested. Well guess what? This sort of shit and indeed much, much worse has been happening for centuries in this part of the world. Women have been getting the short end of the stick since the dawn of, (I’ll try not to laugh at this one) “civilization”. When I was a schoolboy growing up in Noida, incidents like this were almost weekly occurrence. It was pretty much expected that if you were a female, you would have to be borderline suicidal to step out alone after dark. And this wasn’t some backwater rural land that time had forgotten. No, this was the NCR. The National Capital Region. A stone’s throw away from where the laws of the land were formulated and debated over. You see or hear about this sort of shit long enough and it just becomes a part of the scenery. Background noise to add to all the other noise. Reality rubs into you so hard that even the soul gets calloused.
Why else would our politicians still be in power? Why else would we have police force that’s little more than an uneducated mob? When the Nithari child killings came to light, the police brought in rag pickers and garbage collectors to dig for evidence. More than one politician has been accused of multiple homicides. All of this is established fact. And none of it means anything. People don’t care, they never have. Then why insist on pretending like they do?
Maybe it stems from the idea that “if I don’t show I’m mad at this, they will think I agree with what happened”. Protest in this case, comes from a sense of self-preservation, not real justice. Or maybe it comes from the twisted mind of the repressed male that cheers for Miss India on the world stage while secretly swearing his daughter will never be caught dead in a bikini. Perhaps it comes from this ridiculous notion that our women are somehow more virtuous. At least more virtuous than the white skinned whores across the ocean right? It stems from the minds of millions of parents who still pray for a male fetus, prostrating themselves in front of stone idols that hold more power than any government ever did. Actually, I take back what I said. We couldn’t be hypocrites if we give hypocrisy a bad name.
For all the ways our ignorant society considers itself “cultured”, the reality is that India, despite its supposed advancements, is very much a backward country. This wouldn’t be such a shame if we could claim ignorance. But hell, we’ve been crying hoarse at how rich our culture is, how we gave the world Aryabhatta and his ilk, how we annually produce more software engineers than the entire population of the UK, so on and so forth. But don’t talk about how our poor live, about how being born a woman in this enlightened land is a curse, or about the million other social ills that have been plaguing us forever. That’s not important. India is shining remember?
Sorry but polish a turd, it’s still a turd. The cultural bigotry that has been the reality of life in India has changed very little. No amount of righteous indignation is going to change that sad little fact. The land of diversity was a brilliant little lie we bought into in school. The land of extremism is the truth. Indian culture, as it exists on the ground, far away from the world of philosophers and dusty old tomes, is a rotting thing. What happened in Guwahati is a small symptom of a much deeper disease.
It’s high time we accepted that fact. The causes of this disease are many. But ignorance is not one of them. Call me a cynic but we know this is only going to hold our attention till a Bollywood starlet “suffers” a wardrobe malfunction. In the meantime, I’ll be over here.
Laughing my ass off.