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Saluting The Nirbhayas

Saluting The Nirbhayas

Nirbhaya’s soul has spoken!

In a country where 80% of women do not dare or cannot become Nirbhayas, having to face daily abuses and harassments silently, this verdict of CBI special court is a landmark victory of hope. It’s a victory for the Woman, her Boldness, her Fearlessness. Many abused women, mothers and sisters of ours, have been banging the doors of courts for long years, mostly silenced because of muscle and money power. Most high profile cases like that of Shiney Ahuja, Madhur Bhandarkar and so on have found a twist in favour of the perpetrator. But the ruling against Gurmeet Ram Rahim seems a historical milestone as of now. Was this verdict given by the CBI special court is still a question asked by many, since most ruling parties have this investigation agency their playing doll for over several decades.

Controversies of self-styled godmen are not something new in India. In the garb of religion, exploitation has been taking place under closed doors of ashrams. But it has always been denied and rationalised. It is the unwavering belief system of pious families that has contributed to such secret abuses from being assumed as rightful and without blemish.

Years ago in the 1960s Maharishi Mahesh Yogi made headlines when he seemed celibate to his followers and shame to the victims. Even to this day many more assaults continue to happen in the name of religion through Asaram Bapus, Sant Rampals, Swami Nithyanandas, Narayan Sais and now Gurmeet Ram Rahims. All these years, these spiritual leaders lavished in the good books of all politicians across party lines. They duped businessmen, poisoned innocent disciples, and escaped convictions. But can injustice ever be abused over and over again? Does it not show its fate and let justice have its day?

Gurmeet Ram Rahim – What is there in a name? Isn’t it a paradox in itself? Will Ram or Rahim or any Supreme Being be ever pleased with the life example of the Dera chief? Have Ram and Rahim shown their disciple his fate? May be, he himself had his fate sealed by God.

Are we taking God for granted? How long does God allow evil forces to rule and exploit? Isn’t He on the side of devotees who worship Him with true heart and true spirit? Will He not listen to the victims of injustice and show His power? How long will He bear? Isn’t our God waiting to grant glory to justice? How long can a few spiritual stalwarts (self-proclaimed) go on fooling devotees on the pretext of religion and religious rituals?

True dharma always triumphs.  Isn’t Almighty’s patience tested before justice? Will he not make our tortured and abused sisters retaliate with zest?  Can we ever trust a self-proclaimed Indian guru, multifaceted not just as a music producer, actor and director but also in extraordinary trances? Gurmeet Ram Rahim, an Indian Guru - all in all?  Is this Dera chief and his Dera Sacha Sauda really saccha?

In India, Delhi has the highest number of rape cases recorded every year. Statistics have shown that the number of rape cases has doubled between 1990 and 2008. According to the National Crime Records Bureau 24,206 rape cases were registered in India in 2011 alone. In other words, a new case is reported every 20 minutes. There are even cases that we cannot imagine, girls and women are being molested, raped but only some of them get the justice.

As Shreya Jani, who runs a peace education NGO in New Delhi, said, “Sexual harassment and child abuse is definitely a cause for concern in India. It’s heartening to see that nowadays more women are reporting these crimes and speaking up. As Indian women, we are a paradox of strength and silence. I am glad the silence is being broken by many now."

At least 34,651 cases of rape were reported across India last year, statistics released by the country's National Crime Records Bureau have revealed. These figures reveal and confirm that assault victims ranged from female children younger than six years old to women over 60 years, with those aged between 18 and 30 reporting the largest number of rape attacks - totalling almost 17,000. Out of the 34,651 reported rape cases, in 33,098 (95.5%), the victims knew their alleged rapists, a slight decrease compared with the 36,735 rape cases reported in 2014.

Is this seriously, the first and the last high profile case which has been taken seriously by Law? The question we need to tackle at the earliest is - Is rape under the devotional practice negligible?

The very word high profile needs to be scrapped; because all are equal before the law. There is a greater need to look at these high profile cases just as any other case and justice is done.

May this verdict motivate and inspire many more people to feel bold enough to protest the assaults on them by perverts. May many more of the victims get justice! Hope this is the beginning of the free flow of the river of justice even in high profile cases. May the just river flow justly irrespective of status!

(The writer is the Headmaster of Milagres English Medium School in Kallianpur, Udupi.)

(Published on 11th September 2017, Volume XXIX, Issue 37)