Pritam K. Rohila : Escalating incidences of sexual violence against women and female children, as well as ever-increasing reports of corruption in India are a great source of concern to many.
Neither sexual violence nor corruption are new to India. Even the immensely revered Hindu epics like the Ramayana and the Mahabharata, when presumably things were “great” and “wonderful”, contain stories of sexual violence and corruption.
It is true that India is not unique in these respects, and many other countries of the world have their own share of these shameful practices, at least to some extent. But it is certainly worth pointing out that these evils are so widely prevalent in a nation, where some of its citizen as well as leaders often proudly proclaim moral and cultural superiority of India over others societies.
Even though this bitter reality may be difficult for us to admit, we can no longer bury our heads in sand, in the face of facts revealed in some recent media as well as research reports.
Gender discrimination, which probably lies at the root of violence against women, is quite widespread in India. It is evidenced by the common practices such as abortion of female fetuses; killing by neglect or by other means of female newborns; preference for boys over girls in many homes with respect to nutrition, education, and career opportunities; and maltreatment of women who produce female children.
I wonder to what extent the evils of corruption and sexual violence against women stem from the need of Indian youth for instant gratification of their cravings, in any way they can, regardless of its effects on others.
Are these evils, in some way, linked to the ever-increasing accent, among young Indians, on instant gratification, via a large variety of gadgets, they use in daily life?
Could it be because, in the last few decades, there has been an overwhelming emphasis in the Indian society on science and technology, and very little stress on literature and humanities, which used to be important ways inculcating moral values in young people?
Are these evils also possibly related to the way, Indian these days are raising their children? Parents seem to be too busy in pursuit of more money, more prestige and more power to care enough for the moral upbringing of their children. It is easier for them to give in to their children’s cravings, and to turn a blind eye to their misdeeds.
Would teaching of ethics and good citizenship in schools help us mend our ways?
These are some important questions for all of us Indians to ponder, so that we can arrive at a suitable plan to act on individually and as a nation. We can no longer afford to leave these important issues to governmental and administrative bodies.
*Dr. Pritam K. Rohila is Executive Director of the Association for Communal Harmony in Asia