Sunday, December 30, 2012

Victims of Sex Crimes in India - Does Regional Language TV care for them?

Nirbhaya passed away in Singapore on Dec 29 and her body was cremated today in Delhi, but her fight lives on. Millions of us will not forget it and will ensure that what can be done is done to drastically reduce such crimes. Why only reduce? Because statistics show that there are currently an average of 600 rapes a year in Delhi alone. To eliminate them would be a mind-boggling achievement. 

In any case, the goal cannot be to control such crime in metropolitan areas alone. Women in rural areas and small towns suffer a lot, in fact a lot more, because of sex and gender-related crimes: rape and other forms of violence including murder, acid throwing, "honor killings" so-called, Khaps' persecution of women who marry out of caste, denial of inheritance, domestic violence, intimidation, denial of equal wages for equal work, reduced job opportunities, and so on. Socio-economically backward women in urban areas suffer as much as their rural sisters, perhaps more. They and their sisters rarely express themselves in English, so they do not get heard on English language TV channels. 

Regional language TV channels seem to have ignored the revolution taking place in Delhi more or less, denying 90% of Indian women their say. Leaders have failed to recognize that revolutions lack teeth if the masses do not participate in them. I compliment urban youth for taking up leadership roles, but experienced leaders should have strengthened their hands and supplemented them by goading regional language TV channels to come out of their slumber. There should have been gatherings and protests in small towns and rural areas as well. The protest leaders should have taken great care to see that the socio-economically backward women have their voice heard loud and clear. I monitored Kannada and Tamil language channels frequently during the last 72 hours - most of them were running routine movies and entertainment programs most of the time. In contrast, English language TV was spending well over 80% time on the revolution.  

We cannot win if we do not unite. 

Srinivasan Ramani 

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