Unnao and Kathua – An Anatomy of Rape of the Collective Conscience

Rape is the most gruesome assault on the feminine identity. It has been used as the most noxious weapon by the demented maniacs and perverts who otherwise do not have either the mettle or the nerve to enforce their male supremacy. As per clinical psychologist Nicholas Groth, there are many causes of rape; masculine supremacy and sexual aggression being the most common. It is perhaps because of this characteristic of rape that it may be often seen as an independent, dispassionate crime against women, and not as a consequence of any social or political declension in general. However, rapes in Unnao and Kathua that rocked the country recently must not be seen as independent instances of sexual aggression or the masculine crave for sexual superiority. There is a divisive covalence towards targeted oppression of specific minority groups that must be brought out loud and clear. Here is why.

Because of its repugnant and abhorrent characteristics, rape has been extensively used as a weapon in the struggle for political and social supremacy. In the scaffolds of ancient history, rape was a powerful weapon to control and manage the slave culture. An article titled “Conditions of antebellum slavery” on PBS.org reports that:

African American women had to endure the threat and the practice of sexual exploitation. There were no safeguards to protect them from being sexually stalked, harassed, or raped, or to be used as long-term concubines by masters and overseers. The abuse was widespread, as the men with authority took advantage of their situation. … Slave men, for their part, were often powerless to protect the women they loved. … The killing of a slave was almost never regarded as murder, and the rape of slave women was treated as a form of trespassing.

Another Wikipedia article on treatment of slaves in the United Statesmentions that:

Some slavery advocates asserted that many slaves were content with their situation. African-American abolitionist J. Sella Martin countered that the apparent contentment was a psychological reaction to dehumanizing brutality, such as witnessing their spouses sold at auction or their daughters raped.

Two important aspects may be derived from the above discourses. First that rape was nonchalantly employed as a weapon to contain the slaves and second that the deep but abstruse psychological reaction ensuing from rape (indifference towards the act) ensured that the slaves were preconditioned to accept it as a part of their general social echelon. This portent characteristic of rape was impeccably exemplified in modern history as well – in the Jewish concentration camps during the Second World War.

In the present Indian political regime, when Hitler is a celebrated hero, it is not unusual that his thoughts and policies, and that of the likes of him, are flaunted with full political honor. This doesn’t really end here – no wonder Veer Savarkar, the standard-bearer ideologue behind RSS, essentially endorsed rape not just as a political weapon but actually a virtue if employed to further Hindutva ideology.

The rape incidents of Unnao and Kathua predominantly expose the extreme carnal outlook of a pervert political group that vies with anyone and anything that may hamper its ascent. Viewed in this gaze, the rape incidents at Kathua and Unnao are not independent incidents of sexual perversion; but have been meticulously premediated to terrorize the target minority groups. As Shruti Rajagopalan writes:

If a premeditated plan to gang rape and murder her, allegedly executed by members of the administration, law enforcement, and Hindu clergy, inside a temple to explicitly drive out a community from an area does not incite anger and outrage in us, then we are not human.

That opens another question for the larger discussion – why has the collective conscience of the nation failed to respond to the two incidents the way they should have? Why have Unnao and Kathua remained mere hashtags while Nirbhaya saw an exceptionally emotive and exceedingly pronounced outpour of the national collective conscience on the streets against the incident? The answer is that the collective national conscience has been raped – and impregnated – with either indifference or hatred towards the social and religious minorities in India. The answer is that the idea of patriotism has been raped and impregnated into believing that anything, just anything – including rape, can be defended and justified behind the unriddling flutter of the national flag. The answer is that the cognitive parlance of the rationalists, who acclaim their championship in social justice, has been raped into shrinking the often organized and sporadic sexual crimes against religious and social minorities to a simple “me too” hashtag. This, my fellow countrymen, is the whole anatomy of the rape of the collective conscience of our nation.

The fact of the matter is that rape is being nonchalantly used as a weapon of war against minorities – the same way it was used as a weapon to contain the African slaves and Jewish prisoners of war. Unnao was enacted to terrorize the Dalits, and Kathua was enacted to terrorize the Bakarwal community. It took more than three months for the nation to rise from its slumber against the Kathua rape case. Residents of Unnao marched in support of the rape accused and some lawyers in Kathua tried to disrupt the judicial process in Kathua rape case. To the extent that the counsel of Kathua rape victim's family received rape and death threats.

But this verity is probably too precarious for the communist liberals and “me too” hashtag holders – who don’t see anything communal in these incidents – to accept and dislodge. Nah, they see but still don’t to see. They do not see any communal angle in the misuse of the tricolor to justify the rapists and provision a respite for the criminalsin the Kathua case. They do not see any communal angle in how “a jhanki (tableau) lauding the hacking and murder of Mohammad Afrazul by Shambhulal Regar was taken out in a Ramnavami procession at Jodhpur”. They will probably also not see any communal angle in how “Hooligans pull Imam’s beard, force him to say controversial slogans in Delhi bus” (Siasat). Nor will they see a communal angle in how “an entire Muslim settlement was ransacked by a huge mob in Jharkhand … on mere suspicion of beef consumption” (Caravan News). Either they are cognitively retarded to the core (which they are NOT); or they willfully don't want to acknowledge and accept the fact that Dalits and other social and religious minorities are under siege in India. Shame on them who relish in projecting themselves as champions of liberalism and social justice but leave no stone unturned to defy logic when it doesn’t align with their own interests. And when it comes to their self-interests, they are no better than the Right Wing.

Thus spake Marc Antony in Julius Caesar (one of the best Shakespearean plays):

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;

I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.

O judgment! thou art fled to brutish beasts,

And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;

My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,

And I must pause till it come back to me.

It’s time our national collective conscience lends its ears to reason, logic, and cognition, to ensure that it is not “preconditioned” to accept crimes against minorities as a part of their general social echelon. And to heal its raped soul before it irrevocably flees towards the brutish beasts of today’s social anarchy.

Sharjeel Ahmad is MBA and an Economics graduate. He is an instructional designer by profession and is presently based in Saudi Arabia. He has keen interest in social, economic, and political issues facing Indian populace, with special emphasis on minority issues. 

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