Monday, February 01, 2016

Kamduni - Because all rapes are not equal.

Kamduni is a village: a  medium sized village, the census website tells me, but a village all the same. Located in North Twenty Four Parganas district of West Bengal. With a population of about 1500 people.
On June 30, 2013, almost 6 months after Jyoti "Nirbhaya" Singh was - to use that inadequate word - brutally gang-raped by 6 men, Shipra Ghosh, a 20 year old college student was gang raped by at least nine men. 
No less brutally.
After raping her, the rapists tore apart her legs up to the navel, slit her throat and dumped her naked body - oh sorry, must I clarify? - naked dead body into a nearby field
Yet, from what I remember, the outrage was not even a teeny-tiny-candlelight-march-weeping-in-the-Rajya-Sabha fraction of what there was for Jyoti. 
Not in the media. (Arnab, are you listening? And where are all the Western media who interviewed Jyoti's parents and triumphantly wriggled out her real name. And where were they who talked to Jyoti's her male friend and published his heartbreaking story, complete with that poignant picture of him sitting on that park bench).
Mea culpa. I remember my own searing anger and outrage at Jyoti's rape as I ashamedly admit that I first got to know about Shipra Ghosh only 2 days when 3 of her rapists were sentenced to death.
I remember the tsunami of teeth-gnashing, the torrential flood of trending hashtags on social media of which I was a part of while Jyoti struggled to live and then died. 
Nothing for poor #Shipra. No outraged trending hashtags, Not even for #Kamduni. No women celebrities/politicians(barring Aparna Sen), weeping for Shipra; their angry tears glistening like so many diamonds in the light of so many candles.
Nothing.
No one raged for Shipra. No one marched to Raisina Hill, nobody demanded action from the President of India. (The only protests were limited to Kamduni and a few random ones in Kolkata.)
Nobody flew Shirpa broken tattered body to Singapore. How could they? When they found her, she was already dead.
No politician/prime minister attended her funeral.

Should we even bother to ask why?
Because it's clear that a woman raped tiny village somewhere in the depths of West Bengal is far far out of our big-city sensibilities and therefore out of our minds. 
But here is what really bothers me. 
How many more Kamdunis must have happened that we don't even know about?
Because all rapes are not equal.
The ones that happen in big cities, well within the arm's length of outrage of us are more so. 

A ray of hope, though.
All rapes may not be equal. But going by the day-before-yesterday's judgement by a Kolkata court, it may just be that justice is NOT only the privilege of the urban well-to-do....

1 comment:

Ava Suri said...

Right said. I am pretty sure there are horrific incidents happening all over the country which are played down or not reported. Sad state of affairs for women that their well being will be ensured only if they tick certain boxes, that they are living in a city, or in a place where their screams will be heard.

I am also sure the Nirbhaya rape got a lot of eyeballs because it was not committed by anyone important, in which case it might have been brushed under the carpet.