The young girl, who was gang-raped in a Delhi bus has died. Her suffering has stirred the Indian conscience. It has started a new process of a revival of the cherished values of ancient India.
One day, Swami Vivekananda was walking along a street in Chicago, clad in two pieces of untailored saffron cloth. An American lady, who was taken aback by his appearance, said to her husband: “I don’t think this man is a gentleman.” Swami Vivekananda overheard the woman, walked up to her and politely said, “Excuse me, madam, in your country a tailor makes a man a gentleman. But in the country from which I come, it is character that makes a man a gentleman.”
The Delhi incident has awakened the soul of a sleeping nation. The tragedy has reminded us of the great tradition of Mahatma Gandhi, Swami Vivekananda and other national heroes. It is often said that there’s a woman at the beginning of all great things, and this brave girl is that woman. It was mainly non-violent activism that made India free, and I hope the current movement will revive the spirit of India.
We should also think about the root cause of such a heinous crime? The main reason is the lack of legal punishment. Scams, frauds, murder, almost all crimes go unpunished. I grew up in pre-independent India, under British rule, when crime was quickly punished , so no one dared think of committing a crime and escaping without punishment. The only check against crime is deterrent punishment.
After independence, our leaders engaged in paper activism, that is legislation and not implementation of the law. And legal loopholes provide lawyers a golden opportunity to find technical grounds for saving those clients who are willing to pay them heavily. We have numerous human rights organisations, but few who engage in human duties activism. We have a society that is conscious of human rights rather than duties.
As an old man, who has crossed the age of 90, I have just one advice: Take precautionary measures. More than a gender issue, this is about a failure to follow practical wisdom. I would like to tell both males and females, it might be a good thing to be adventurists, but it is bad to indulge in misadventure.
The writer is an Islamic scholar and the founder of the Centre for Peace and Spirituality International.