The Withering Daughters of India

October 16, 2020

Has India become a burning pyre for her daughters? This question needs to haunt every self-respecting Indian. The unconscionable atrocity committed by her own sons’ and the glaring increase in crimes against women should be etched in our collective consciousness.

After Nirbhaya, the government set up a committee that led to changes in the Indian Penal Code and other Laws. The convicts were hanged for their crime and the nation thought that its women are safe. Sadly that was not the case. We had many such horrific incidents and now we have landed into Hathras, where the victim was brutally gang raped, assaulted, her spinal cord was fractured and her tongue slashed. The inhuman act of rape was topped with the inhuman act of violence unparalleled in any society. The victim was taken to New Delhi for treatment, battled for life and ultimately reached her pyre to bring to an end another inhuman incident. It is even alleged that there was no dignity even in death and the last rites left a lot to be ashamed of.

Incidents like Nirbhaya, Hathras keep happening at regular intervals as the country waits in anguish for the safety of her daughters, while the rapists go about their barbaric work with impunity. The worst aspect of the disgraceful rape and murder is that our collective consciousness has not been remotely surprised about it. These brutal incidents happen at regular intervals. The victims are gang raped, murdered in the most brutal fashion. Then, the victims’ families are threatened of the consequence if they even harbour the thoughts of justice, then we see that the rapist and murderers have sympathizers’, from some disgruntled elements of society who blame the victim and her family for her upbringing.

These elements have not respect for law, no respect for human dignity and no tolerance for dissent. They collectively become the dangerous cocktail which spell the end for many young maidens, who are treated as objects of lust. The true face of these rabid rapists is their continuing smear campaign against the victims, their families and their strategy is built on a narrative about the character of the victim, the bombardment of the victim's family and they put the victim’s family on the brink of catastrophe. The family is then bound to give up all hopes of justice and fall in line and give up any resistance against the aggressors.

The modus operandi is repeatedly played out in each of these incidents. When a crime is reported, they deny that the rape really took place, then they deny any responsibility and call it a law and order problem, when evidence and proof come in then, the law and order says it is a terrible mistake and promises that the rogue element will be punished according to law. The establishment then says that the atrocities against women won’t happen again and the law will treat offenders with an iron hand. Then it is time to blame the victim for venturing in the dark, going out without a male escort, or slander the character of the women and so on. This pattern is repeated until the next time it happens.

The string of sexual violence cases followed by brutal assault like fracturing the spinal cord, slashing the tongue and putting objects into private parts are cases that happen all over India has only highlighted that stringent laws are not adequate to guarantee the safety of women. The use of sexual violence to oppress women has been on the raise. We as a nation have terribly slipped in providing a safe environment and dignity for women. Fast-tracking investigation, ensuring justice or pledging protection has failed. The challenge is to ensure that these inhuman acts are not forgotten.

The idea of a country with gender equality is not a dream but is idealism and a realistic hope. We need to build a society with intellectual and moral openness. The moral training given at an early age which teaches equality of gender, moral upbringing, intellectual openness, looking at all humans as equal irrespective of gender, class or cast needs to be the bedrock of our education system and the very “soul” of culture must be ethical and moral conduct. Non-violence must be persuaded to uplift others. The sanctity of human life and its deliration must become a national cause. Our society hinges on moral growth of humanism where indiscipline, violence, hatred and unrestrained individualism is empathetically shut. The society and its citizens, especially the youth have to develop qualities like fearlessness, humility, compassion which is the essence of civilized living. Otherwise, the safety of women will be a distant dream and incidents like the tragedy of Hathras will not be the last one and will come to haunt us at regular intervals and our daughters will wither and so will society.




By Dr P G Aquinas
Dr P G Aquinas is professor and chairman of the Post Graduate Department of Studies and Research in Social Work at Mangalore University, Mangalagangothri.
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Comment on this article

  • Hazel Castelino, Pangla / Bahrain

    Thu, Oct 22 2020

    Very well written and thought provoking article Dr. P. G. Aquinas.

  • Henry castelino, Pangla / Bahrain

    Tue, Oct 20 2020

    Dr Paul congrats. Good article.


    Tue, Oct 20 2020

    Sir The central Government has already implemented NIRBHAYA Act to protect the women from such incidenve.As regards Hathras the matter is under investigation by CBI and truth will eventually emerge.I am sure that the state government will take necessary action to punish the culprits.

  • Cyprian Mendonca, Pangla/UK

    Mon, Oct 19 2020

    An excellent thought provoking article from Dr Paul Aquinas. We sincerely hope the politicians and authorities will focus on this issue and take actions to protect daughters of India

  • Thomas Saldanha, Toronto

    Mon, Oct 19 2020

    Very well written and it is thought provoking.

  • Veeda D'Mello, Pangla/UK

    Sun, Oct 18 2020

    Thank you Dr Paul Aquinas for your thought provoking article. It is difficult situation for females unless all human beings change their thoughts and respect for women.

  • kateel pai, vitla

    Sun, Oct 18 2020

    Why aren't people conscious? Why are they so callous? They have wives, mothers, sisters, daughters.... The logic is simple. Treat others how you would want to be treated.


    Sat, Oct 17 2020

    Very apt title to such a powerful message. The only hope every progressive peace loving individual can have is for law and right impartial governance to take utmost precedence in society.

  • Joe Britto, Nakre /Bangalore

    Sat, Oct 17 2020

    Well Scripted Dr Aquinas . The current trend in the Country is ......... Beti Hatao . NEVER Beti Bachao & Beti Padhavo .

  • Vinod dsouza, mangalore

    Sat, Oct 17 2020

    Fantastic article really thought provoking it will be a success when this thought provoking message is instilled in our chosen representatives who are ultimate law makers or rather law breakers, a big question mark to be answered is when we exercise our constitutional right of voting does this ring our mind or we just fall prey for hype in oratory with no goal at sight.

  • LARISSA SAMS, Mangalore

    Fri, Oct 16 2020

    Dr.Aquinas....simply superb...realy the outlook on gir/ our well depicted..

  • Fr Bona, Mangalore

    Fri, Oct 16 2020

    Good.well presentation.congratulations.

  • Ravishankar. K. R, Ujire

    Fri, Oct 16 2020

    Sir, relavent and timely article. Stringent law needed and it's proper implementation without any bias of caste, group or politics. Accordingly sensitization of gender issues in all groups need of the hour. Good article sir

  • Maria Fernandes, Mangalore

    Fri, Oct 16 2020

    The moral values, respect for other gender need to be taught from childhood by the parents, teachers, the elderly, the clergyman, and also by a responsible member of the society. We need an educational shift that would teach boys and girls about mutual respect and boundaries, as well as the concept, where “yes means yes” and “no means no”.

  • Dr. Kumara, Ballari

    Fri, Oct 16 2020

    Excellent thinking, thought provoking

  • Dr.Savitha Suvarna, Mangalore

    Fri, Oct 16 2020

    Agree with u sir, stringent law, proactive and honest authorities and implementing moral education at the early age is more important than ever before.......

  • Anil Danthy, Shirva

    Fri, Oct 16 2020

    Well written article by Dr Aquinas...lot of depth and with a contemporary perspective.

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