Saturday, August 24, 2013

Rapes, outrages and letting go: Delhi (ites), Kolkata (ns), Mumbai (kars) and others

Medical teachers and students express their protest against Delhi rape case while taking out a candle march in Chandigarh on Friday. - Photo: Akhilesh Kumar (From The business line)

Kaleidoscope like many others have a strong faith on the public sphere and civil society movements but he is afraid of the increasing politicisation of civil which ultimately makes each of such movements futile. It starts with the Delhi rape case, continues with Kamduni case and showing similar voices in yesterday's Mumbai rape case in which till now two accused have been arrested. Public media, opposition and important others comment on the lack speedy trial, police patrolling (i.e. law enforcement), and a fearlessness among the people at large are the reasons for these heinous crimes. One thing that often ignored is the socialisation practice with which Kaleidoscope's society up-brings their children and the nature and extent of reluctance to take preventive measures.

Gangs of Kamduni and gangs of neighbourhood:

In Kamduni case the place of rape was a relatively empty road (BDO office road) which connects Kamduni crossing to Madhyamgram. The stretch goes through fisheries allegedly infested with fish mafias. Taking a girl away even in the daylight has been quite easy.

Similar rape hotspot can be found anywhere in and around the city of Kolkata. Take the instance of Kaleidoscope's place. Kaleidoscope with his post Belghoria Expressway life has changed the route to reach the city. He goes through a small alleyway which connects his house with the expressway. In post lunch sessions Kaleidoscope reluctantly sees a gang of young to middle aged persons playing cards. They occupy more than half of the alleyway with their circled sitting arrangement just beside the numerous apartments under construction. The play session goes on till night. Although apparently they play cards, but clearly they gamble, drink country liquor, use slangs, and stares at passing-by girls and women. Kaleidoscope is amazed with the reluctance from his locality and indifference from the houses in-front of which they play cards. In post evening when most of the Kaleidoscope's neighbours are busy in watching television mega-serials they can do whatever they want in the apartments under construction, hence, the vulnerability of a girl passing through that alleyway is potentially quite high. There are empty rooms in hundreds of incomplete apartments, there is an relatively empty alleyway which connects to an expressway, and there are intoxicated card players. 

What happened to the community? 

The question that Kaleidoscope asks himself before looking at the public sphere "Why Kaleidoscope is reluctant? Why don't he say something to that gang?" The answer is the image of fear. They are supposedly having strong network with both politics and local mafias. They are involved in construction business and are also the middlemen. Taking steps to stop them from playing cards is difficult, primarily because apparently they are just playing and relaxing with their circles of friends, so Kaleidoscope really does not have a strong ground to oppose what they are doing. Furthermore, because of their nexus with the local politics getting the leader's support for removing them is highly unlikely. 

The only hope is the civil society/public sphere/community of the locality in which Kaleidoscope resides. They are too busy (as Kaleidoscope too is) with other matters, and since, there is not a single incident happened so far, people do not bother to look at the potential threats and do not take preventive measures.

On the other hand, each of the families of Kaleidoscope's locality is moved by the Delhi or Kamduni cases. They frequently show frustration with the depressing performance of law enforcers but fail to account for the fact that society runs on largely informal social controls and that law enforcement with law enforcers in every corner of our country is impossible. Hence, Kaleidoscope along with others shouts, protests against the rapes, criticises government and legal systems but do not mobilise against what happens at the very next alleyway everyday. 

Socialisation practices:

When Kaleidoscope speaks about socialisation practices he not only means the formal socialisation institutions like family and schools he also entails to focus on the informal mechanisms of socialisation including television, internet, pornographies, advertisements, peer groups, local/regional/school/college gangs and so on and so forth. When the card-players play at the link-road towards Belghoria expressway, Kaleidoscope sees many young adults (12 - 15 years of age) are watching and enjoying the games. They look and tend to imitate their lifeways, hence, these card-players dens are also actively a breeding grounds of the future card-players.

What happens next?

Next, Kaleidoscope posts this text in his blog, shares it in facebook, awaits comments and likes until another news breaks. If it is not in Kaleidoscope's alleyway he feels a momentarily secured until something really happens on the way to Belghoria Expressway.  


  1. I dont know when we would resocialise and experience a fast-track trial. Meanwhile there is nothing that makes us feel secure

  2. Excellent post! I must thank you for this informative read. I hope you will post again soon.
    Kind regard
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