The Silent Singh

“Bolo Bolo Ab to Bolo, Manmohan Kuch to Bolo” – a slogan i made up during one of the Jan Lokpal protests in the past.

So Manmohan Singh spoke. He spoke for one long minute. With no emotions and no expressions, the PM spoke. Not that his emotions or expressions or the fact that he spoke would have or could have changed anything. But the situation was such that it demanded a leader of the rising, shining and emerging country called “India” to comfort the people and offer solace in whatever possible way he can. What we got instead was the exact opposite. A cold response from a cold leader.

Credit goes to Manmohan Singh for just being himself. He didn’t try to be what he cannot be ? In many ways, he represented the quintessential political clan of India to perfection. Cold, emotionless, disconnected and completely indifferent.

The Challenge:

Putting things in context, it’s unrealistic to think a change will be possible or the politicians themselves will bring these changes. But that doesn’t mean it cannot be forced upon, civil society can force it’s way. This is what we are witnessing in the country every where. The challenge really is to be persistent with it.

But there is another challenge. Just like how the problem of corruption, which saw a similar outrage nationwide, will not be solved unless we as individuals stop being corrupt, the atrocities on the women will not stop or slow down unless we start taking responsibility and start respecting women and start respecting each other.

Awareness & Education:

Years ago when I was in college, an incident took place at a bus stop where I usually boarded the bus to my college. A random guy got off the running bus, touched a girl inappropriately at the bus stop who was waiting for the bus, then immediately got on the running bus. All this happened in a matter of few minutes. We didn’t know who the girl was or who the boy was and nor did we see this happen. But it became the talk of the bus stop for a couple of days. I personally don’t quite remember how I reacted to this incident but I remember clearly no ever talked about the girl or the kind of mental trauma she had to go through because of this. Not once did we talk about this during these two days. There was clearly a lack of sensitivity about these issues. No one ever spoke about sexual harassment or issues concerning them @ college or @ home.

This girl could easily have been my friend, my sister or my mother, who knows ? And even then it would be only my issue and I would be left alone to deal with it. Because no one else is sensitive enough to stand up for what happened.

The mother of all problems: 

Be it a high school, a college, university, the government or the corporate offices, a village or any other place, or even for that matter the police stations, the problem of sexual harassment is present everywhere. Is there one school, one college, one university, one government or corporate office or even one village, one police station that can be declared as  “Zero Sexual Harassment“. It’s a no brainer that no laws however stringent they are can never help attain the status of “Zero Sexual Harassment“.

Because this is not a law and order problem it’s an individual problem. It’s what the individual inherited from a patriarchal society, from a male chauvinistic society, from a society that’s filled with discriminations of caste, creed, rich, poor, men, women – you name it we have this discrimination in our society.  And this individual problem is of lack of respect & compassion for each other which to me is the mother of all problems.

And who is supposed to teach about respect & compassion, let’s see  ?

  • Is it the Educational Institution ? Respect and compassion is not taught in schools for they have only become a means to earn money for the students and the teachers and not to forget the parents. So they can’t teach, can they ?
  • Is it the Religious Institution ? Even today most temples in India don’t allow people of lower castes to enter (hate to use this word, but it’s a reality that it still exists) or have separate treatment for them. So they can’t teach, can they ?
  • Is it the Society ? We as a society accepts dowry as a norm, accept corrupt and criminal politicians as our leaders. So can the society teach, can it ?

The answer is unambiguous NO. And this is what needs to be changed. This is where individuals like you and I can help bring the change. Let’s question this lack of respect and compassion, let’s make our

  • educational institutions better such that they teach how to become a better person, a better human being
  • religious institutions worship the human values not just the idols of gods
  • society show respect to one and all

The Silent Singh

So I as an individual, a husband, a son, a father will not just teach my kids how to respect each other and be compassionate towards each other, but I must practice this. Once we do this, then we will protest when a 23 year old medical student is brutally assaulted and we will protest when a teacher from a tribal village is tortured by the police in the police station. If we don’t change this, then the current trend of breaking an assault news every day on national media circus will unfortunately become the only news they are ever going to talk about. And it’s not like there is a surge in such incidents, it’s always been there, the Media Circus has just started to pick this up.

Obviously the circus is going to do it’s show and move on and pick up another location and start another show. They are soon going to forget about this. But if we as people forget about this, there is nothing much anyone could ever do not even the law and order.

We would then be no different than the “Silent Singh” – Cold, Emotionless and disconnected !

What we can also do:


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