From Nirbhaya, Shraddha Walkar to present-day Anjali Singh, each has made headlines for shameful and horrific events in the capital Delhi. The brutality and graphic details that accompany these horrors are widely discussed in dinner table conversations.
Politicians, celebrities, advocates, law enforcement officials, and ordinary people on the street each add their own perspective and angle to the memorized discussion. But it’s a tired, repetitive story.
The déjà vu is unmistakable, as the latest horror template follows the familiar path of minutiae, public outcry, the usual denunciations, and vested innuendo by those with their own agendas. .
Essentially, the plot, formula, and ending of each social outrage are the same as 2012’s Nirbhaya. That is, we worry again until the next outrage consumes meaningless verbosity and passion.
Beyond the barbaric insensitivity of the perpetrators involved and the apparent failure of the police, the greater winds of social regression, apathy, and even revisionism are palpable and shocking.
So who defines or influences these dark winds that blow? Some other people.
Things could change if only “leaders” could speak and tread the difficult path of meaningful social reform, instead of pandering to populist positions and sentiments.
The timeless issue of Indian populism is in its heyday. Because there is a political frenzy that seeks to “appeal” other partisan persuasions with reckless concepts such as Nativism, reinterpreted “culture” and vengeful justice.
Social media barely hides the ostensible “culture” that questions women’s right to go out late at night, party and stroll, as happened in Anjali and even Nirbhaya. I’m inundated with xenophobic comments. It was supposed to be gender neutral, but it’s clearly not. Supreme Court Justice BV Nagarathna foresaw that “respect for women, an important value in society, must be instilled in the minds of young boys as it goes a long way in ensuring the safety of women in the country.” I objected with it.
However, such sage advice is that wealthy city women are often called “par kati mahilayen”, i.e. women with short hair (according to someone who has served as a member of parliament in Bihar 10 times), or the even more despicable “ladke, ladke”. hain … . galti ho jati hai’ Or boys will be boys … they make mistakes (by a three-term prime minister and, ironically, a defense minister).
Seemingly, political and leadership opportunities are better served in such a regressive position. is essential.
The next leadership failure is to continually evoke populism and twist raw social sentiments into irrepressible revenge, as opposed to more reformist discourses.
The vague tales of “hanging the culprit”, “marching the culprit in his own way” (said by a sitting prime minister), or “shooting the culprit in the streets” are all commonplace in some emirates during the Middle Ages. It sounds like the justice of , and can appeal to hurt feelings. But in reality, it does immense harm by weaponizing society and its discourse. At times like these, rather than waste time on the symbol of the “blindfolded lady of justice” with the scales of justice in hand, free-spirited politicians have instead turned the “bulldozer” into a powerful social act. It’s ironic that the “blindfolded Lady Justice” inherently suggests fairness, as opposed to a place specially chosen for bulldozers. Society automatically becomes violent when extrajudicialism is normalized and heroized.
The country’s leadership is pushing for police reform (among other things, to keep law and order out of the hands of politicians), judicial reform (judicial vacancies continue despite an alarming number of lawsuits pending). , or political repression/reform (every day more sophisticated forms of silence, dog whistles, and innuendos interwoven with “hate speech” are allowed).
There has been great zeal to ‘rewrite’ and ‘correct’ the local history in school syllabuses across the country, but not the zeal to inculcate social freedom and the inclusivity of the myriad social ‘others’. was. , ethnicity, gender, orientation, or ability have been equally vociferously debated. Stripped for the sake of opportunity.
A carefully curated, signaled, and protected universe of what we can conveniently call “fringe elements” (the official relevance is with plausible negativity) and a handy army of trolls retained and implied. piecing together and dialing up a storyline filled with elements of Accusations and Hatemongering.
Populism is a dumb curse in a diverse society like ours because it can easily derail hard-won reforms and defy the constitutional spirit of inclusivity. Populist politics also normalize age-old stereotypes and perpetuate the rights of the minority. The Anjali Singh case has put Delhi to shame following the Nirbhaya case after a decade of decidedly immature lessons.
As a symbolic reflection of the time, the government established the Nirbhaya Fund for “the empowerment, safety and security of women and girls”, but according to the 2021 NGO Oxfam India Report, the fund was underutilized and Underutilized (Oxfam itself faced raids and other curbs later on due to unrelated issues).
In the meantime, TV channels yell out details of the incident in “breaking news”, with the hallowed panelists jadedly debating the issue, with little to no pressure on leaders to change course or make systemic reforms. , or not at all.
The parallel drama about the colors of the ostensible dresses by the actors and the equally heated emotions piled up there is a sad reminder of the triumphant politics of populism in contrast to the spirit of constitutionalism and reform.