New Delhi : Gang Rapped

India Gate. Delhi

FEEDBACK UPDATE: “Rapped” is used intentionally as part of headline, it’s not a mistake.

Over the last few days I have been extremely saddened by the turn of events in my city, in my Delhi.

A student (Jyoti Singh Pandey, as revealed later by her father) was gang raped, brutally, she is fighting for her life everyday at a hospital. (Update: Unfortunately, the victim was not able to survive) This crime was committed in Delhi city main, not in the fringes of city, which makes it even more appalling & shocking.

I have been disgusted & depressed but right now I want to talk about none of that. Mainly because people from all walks of life have written, tweeted, protested, shouted about it & I have nothing more or new to add.

Make no mistake, I’m in no way defending the culprits, for I personally think that mix of chemical castration & life imprisonment should be meted out to them without much delay. But I want to share my thoughts about how I feel when due to handiwork of few illiterate idiots the entire city & its inhabitants get branded. & Viciously at that.

In fact a digital “creative” agency came out with a microsite, www.thingstodoindelhi.com which had just 1 word written across, “RAPE”. So much for callous creativity.

Of course, after all the outrage & realizing their insensitive piece of crass work it was taken down, but my city got branded as RAPE city. Nobody denies or overlooks the fact that numerous sexual assaults (rape, gang rape, domestic violence) happen in Delhi NCR. Also for every one’s better understanding Delhi NCR is not just Delhi but Delhi + Gurgaon + Faridabad + Noida + Ghaziabad + Jhajjar + Alwar, among 13 regions as metropolitan area ringing around Delhi. I won’t delve too much into the concept of Delhi NCR but surely that doesn’t help the stats concerning law & order. In fact, as per Wikipedia, NCR is India‘s largest and world’s second largest agglomeration with a population of 22,157,000. Rapes & crime against women don’t just happen in Delhi, unfortunately they happen all across our country, the only difference being that crime registration rate in Delhi is way higher than other areas of the country.

Among all the states, Madhya Pradesh actually emerged as the rape capital of India with 3406 cases involving this heinous crime – the highest in the country. West Bengal, the state known more for its rich literary heritage, ranked second with 2363 rape cases. Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan followed next with 2042 and 1800 cases.

Delhi had 507 cases of Rape in the year 2011.

I have always felt that people from other cities have been resentful of New Delhi, whether that’s world class infrastructure, dual climate advantage, stable political leadership, food or even the title of “Capital”. I wish they could realize that all capitals of the world do get some preferential treatment & Delhi is not the only one figuring in that list.

Delhi’s citizens get classified as brash, loud, snobbish, show-offs etc. etc., I have been to my fair share of cities around the world & I have come across far too many arrogant & snobbish people not hailing from Delhi. Even if some of my fellow citizens are loud, brash & all that, what gives anybody any right to question anyone’s way of living or attitude?

And again, branding the entire city that because somebody called you “Madrasan” or has a fat diamond on her finger is pure ignorance. But feel free to write an entire blog post about the classy fictional incident.

Delhi also suffers from a problem, which is widely talked about, that of Migration, rather illiterate migrants. I was born in this city but my grand folks came from Lahore, so in essence my roots may be of an outsider itself but the problem as I typed above is that of illiterate migration. Read here for more on that. Most People who come to Delhi from other parts of the country possess no education or basic sense of living, they mostly try to find odd jobs & ultimately veer off to the world of crime for a quick buck.

We are not the only city in the country facing this issue; Bombay or Mumbai (depending on which part of the city/town/suburb your from) suffers from it as well. But unlike their political goons (thankfully we don’t have that breed of politicians here) people in Delhi don’t go around destroying their source of livelihoods in the name of “Maratha Power” or “Marathi Manoos”. Much more details here.

I also want to remind all of you kindly about couple of incidents in recent past where the efforts of Delhi Citizens were appreciated & accounted for all around the country.

1) Remember we hosted Commonwealth Games in 2010, games went off really well, athletes were happy, none of their flats were flooded (as was reported days before the event), all in all a world class event happened but I want to divert your attention towards the grand opening day of the event.

An individual by the name of Suresh Kalmadi was booed & jeered in front of the world, & then again during the closing ceremony of the CWG. These might seem like little events in isolation but once you realize what people of Delhi actually tried to convey through those emotions you would appreciate it more. In fact my twitter timeline was filled with personalities, usually not big fans of Delhi, praising the crowd & so on.

2) During the heyday of Janlokpal revolution, people of Delhi turned up everyday in large numbers to support the anti-corruption legislation, which was not meant only for Delhi but for the entire country. Delhi & its people were enthused by it till the time the event got politically motivated & left it’s social foundations.

Delhi had again sent a message out to organizers of the movement to put their house in order.

These are couple of recent examples, which I wanted to mention, I’m sure their must be countless others too, some got the limelight & some did not. Not to mention the ongoing wave of peaceful protests which Citizens of Delhi are holding everyday despite the threat of political heavy handedness. I must add that Delhi has also been joined by fellow states across the country, doing their bit.

To conclude I would like to appeal to all my fellow citizens to stop branding not just Delhi but any city a derogatory term & branding its citizens as specific type of people. Cities like Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai have had plenty of unwanted incidents recently too. Our nation is at cross roads & all of us face challenges in different forms, highlighting & harping on just one will improve my city but may lead your beloved city down the wrong path.

After all, Ignorance is the root of all evil.

JAI HIND (on second thought, would JAI DELHI work? Nah!!!)

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18 comments

  1. Kanika

    quite well written.
    all things mentioned by you are correct.
    and needs to be pondered upon by all

    that brutal assault sent shivers to everyone… i just pray that law changes quickly and justice is given

    Like

  2. Abhay Tandon

    What is really surprising is that there are only a handful of people like you Vishal, who have actually thought of challenging the mass-sentiment, which is terming Delhi as rape capital. I am sure your figures for MP, UP, Rajasthan check out totally.

    But on the other hand shouldnt Delhi, being the capital of the country, be a safer place for women? I mean we have all the VIP’s living here, they get protection from the SPG’s, but what of the women, or even men. the womens male companion was beaten up here, and also thrown off the bus. The problem is not rape..the problem is Hooliganism..I know you were not discussing this issue in this blog, but I’d like to just say one thing..the bus crossed 2 check posts, and the carpenter who these 6 people mugged even approached the police, but the chose to ignore him…what is the underlying problem here?

    Like

    • Vishal Mehra

      Thanks for the encouragement Abhay. & yes, your completely right that Delhi should have adequate security for its citizens, irrespective of their sex. Heck, the whole country should be safe & secure.
      Hooliganism & apathy by the administration (including police departments) have led us to where we are.

      Like

  3. rohit

    Excellent….
    I completely agree with what you have written. When we say Delhi is unsafe for the girls/females. I think we need to trigger what makes them unsafe, there are multiple reason behind that and one cannot hold Delhi or Delhiites responsible for that.

    Like

  4. Soumya Jain

    A great post Vishal! Till now, even I was thinking that Delhi might be seeing the highest number of rapes in the country. But your stats have happily dispelled that myth!

    Having said that, Delhi (and the entire country) still needs to take stricter, firmer action to curb such heinous crimes. I hope that these protests lead to some tangible results, and don’t fade away like its predecessors…

    Like

  5. Sudha Malhotra G Bhalla

    Mmmm… I really liked reading an article in a long long time and identify with the feeling behind it. Brilliant work. I feel all women all over the World, who work late or party late, should carry a stun gun/ electric tasers (http://www.weapons-universe.com/Personal_Defense/Air_Tasers/C2_Taser-Electric_Blue-with_Laser_Sight-TS-31040.shtml) and specially keep them handy when stepping out in a lonely street. A damage free escape and an instant (though mild) punishment for the could be tormentor. Infact, the work organizations should give these with the ID cards !
    Very well written, Vishal.. KUDOS!

    Like

    • Vishal Mehra

      Thanks for the feedback Sudha, appreciate it.

      However i feel Tasers would not be a practical idea due to a variety of reasons, i think a more practical option & must for all vulnerable individuals should be Pepper spray.

      Like

  6. thestorytellingmom

    You know Vishal, all this while when everyone has been throwing muck on the name Delhi, there was a moment I had wondered- that Vishal Mehra’s first voiced response would be in favor of his city. 🙂 I had expected a tweet. But you have shown your unfaltering love for the city, by this full-fledged blog post, laden with facts.
    I agree, it’s not about the city in question, but the heinous incident that could have happened anywhere.
    And I admit, for a certain period of time, after listening to this horrific news, I, like most of those out there, felt shame, rage and disgust for Delhi.
    But thinking over it again, I realized that this city has surely accepted and embraced this Madrasan 🙂
    My roots are not in Delhi, but the only place I can call home is Delhi.

    Yes. Even after all this.

    A fabulous write-up, Vishal.

    Like

  7. Akanksha Rajput

    I understand the sentiment behind this post. Delhi is your home. The point you’re making is logically informative and most importantly, sound. However, I feel that if the incident had happened in Delhi NCR or Madhya Pradesh or Mumbai, it would have still moved you to bits – as it did to me and the good people of Delhi who braved the chill and tear gas and humiliation even on a Sunday. Correct me if am wrong.
    True, Delhi is more than just a “rape capital” or a getaway place for anyone with a political connection. The city is India’s favoured mistress- a place of history, culture, love and longing. Personally to me, Delhi or Dil-li is a place of beauty and wonder- as if alternate universes co-exist.. that’s the feeling I have when I am in Red Fort or at India Gate. It gives me an acute sense of being an Indian.
    And this incident is not unforgiving because it happened in Delhi and not in West Bengal; it is unforgiving that it happened in our country.
    I understand your pain to see a beautiful home city reduced to this scarred reputation. And one can only imagine the pain we feel for a country – a place of beauty, unmatched history and culture – reduced to this reputation.

    Like

    • Vishal Mehra

      I’m in agreement with you Akanksha, a crime committed anywhere else still remains the same & needs to be dealt the same way.

      Delhi is a wonderful place to be, and I’m delighted you feel the same way.

      Like

  8. Surmeet

    I understand Vishal what you are trying to say, but me as Indian, from Delhi who are staying abroad have to face those questions which I have no answer.

    In capital of your such things happen and what would he happening in smaller cities?
    The country the city from where I belong is bot safe enough for me and my child?
    why the culprits don’t get punished immediately?

    After this for the first time I feel that good I moved abroad at least me who is mother of a girl child has not to worry every evening for my daughter.

    But yes all my friends, sisters all the women over there, they have to go through that unknown fear by the every passing second.

    Like

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