The recent incident in Delhi, the capital of India, where a lady was raped by a gang of men, and after raping her, they inhumanly tortured her that resulted in her death, has triggered a wave of insecurity amid all, specially the female section of our country. This wave has prompted thousands and thousands of Indians to take the street, protesting against the Government, its system and the laws which are meant to govern us. Interestingly, rape isn’t an infrequent incident in India. A detail study reveals that a woman gets raped in India after every 22 minutes. Shockingly true as it is, it somehow demeans our say: “We are proud to be Indians”.
The situation has created consternation among many, and the youths of Kolkata decided to organize a rally on 27th December, 2012, from College Square to the Writers’ Building, the administrative head office of Bengal, to ventilate their grievances, not only against rape but also against the ongoing indecorous state of order in Bengal. Populated mainly by students from the leading universities and colleges of Kolkata, like Jadavpur, Presidency, Scottish, Bethune, Brabourne, Maulana Azad, Jaipuria etc., the rally witnessed the presence of innumerable NGOs, theatre-groups and bands. Their demands were simple and straightforward- bring forth gender-sensitization and neutral laws ensuring sure justice, form a dedicated department for the funding of medical treatment and psychological therapy of rape victims, hospitals should have the infrastructure for forensic analysis to aid criminal investigations and, most importantly, strengthen laws to prevent rape.
As the rally made its way through the historical roads of North Kolkata to Writers’, students distributed leaflets to the spectators on the streets. Many, who were not informed about the rally, joined in after reading the leaflets. Banners and posters were displayed and the students, thronging the streets that brought the humdrum life of Kolkata on an office day to a standstill, shouted slogans in chorus, making the rally appear like a revolutionary march. As the rally neared Writers’, a group of five girls, went to meet the Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Bannerjee. She wasn’t present in her office. Instead they met Firhad Hakim, Minister for Urban Development and the Minister for Municipal Affairs in the Government of West Bengal, and put forward their demands. The Minister appreciated their endeavor and promised that the Government would take the required actions.
Like many other protest marches and rallies organized in other parts of India, the rally on 27th did face police protest. The organizers peacefully went ahead with their programs without indulging in any disputes with the police. Critics might question the importance of such a rally. Yes, if you do look at the bigger picture and the ultimate goal, the rally does seem very little and to some extent insignificant, for its impact lacks a timeless appeal, which cements a thing forever in commonplace memory. But the only way to prevent such atrocities like rape and torture of women is to strengthen the system and the Government. Since no government likes its people to take the streets, protesting against its system, all we can do is crowd the avenues, make our presence felt, stating that India, or at least the youths of India dream of a better tomorrow, an incredible India, true to its word. And we will claim what we dream.