The message is loud and clear.
The writing is on the wall.
Wake up before it is too late... says Prasanna D Zore.
Illustration: Uttam Ghosh/Rediff.com
The tendencies, the attitudes, the social mores that led to the rape of Nirbhaya six years ago, and the rapes in Kathua and Unnao recently, and hundreds and thousands of innocent minor, major, infant, young, old, girls and women before them, are thriving and flourishing, despite all our outrage and anger.
They are thriving in the form of the predators who are watching closely, very closely, your eight-year-old, two-year-old, 10-year-old, 15-year-old, 18-year-old, 21-year-old, 30-year-old, 50-year-old, 80-year-old daughters, sisters, mothers, grandmothers.
For these predators, age is no deterrent.
The predators are watching closely your womenfolk go to school, college, office, on the roads, at the bus stations, at the railway stations, inside the forests, any and every public and private place where your daughters, sisters, mothers visit.
These predators are watching your eight year old play in school, in the public park, in the dark as well as in well-lit corners of your localities, neighbourhoods, buildings, even within the confines of your home, closely, very closely.
When these predators are not actually molesting them or planning to molest your womenfolk, they are raping them through their eyes and minds, scanning them from head to toe, leerily, closely, very closely.
These predators are watching you watching them closely.
They know you are vulnerable. They know your vulnerabilities.
They know you are divided. They know you will not act when others go through such ordeal, on some pretext or the other.
They know your caste, social, religious, national affiliations have divided you, and these predators are watching all this with glee.
These predators are watching closely, very closely, how easy it is for those with political might and influence, for those with money, for those wearing the uniform, for those pretending to be uncles, fathers, for those abusing caste, class, religious superiority to indulge in molestation, rape, and brutality and get away with it.
These predators are watching closely, very closely, how easy it is for some to save or attempt to save themselves from getting arrested or facing the law by invoking communal, national, fervour.
These predators are watching closely, very closely, how the law and order machinery, the legal system is readily compromised by those with power and political muscle.
These predators are watching closely, very closely, how slogans of 'Bharat Mata ki Jai' and the unfurling of the tricolour are being used to subdue, overwhelm the system and the rule of law.
These predators are watching closely, very closely, that as time passes, as governments change, only those in the Opposition take to the streets while those in power desperately try to cling to it and make the mightiest of efforts to subvert, subdue the demand for justice whenever an incident of rape scalds the national conscience and the nation takes to the streets to demand justice.
These predators are watching closely, very closely, how this mass moment slackened after outraging against Nirbhaya's rapists and how this outrage has again come to life for the victims in Kathua and Unnao.
They know these massive outpourings of national outrage are seasonal and in between such emotional outpourings they are free to go about their dastardly crimes.
Against our daughters. Against our sisters. Against our mothers.
These predators watch with glee how women in positions of power as well as ordinary workers of the party in power keep mum at the altar of political expediency.
The same predators watched with equal glee when the women now in the Opposition ranks did the same when they were in power.
These predators watched closely, very closely, when rapes and murders were used as instruments of terror, instruments to usurp power, or as tools to get even with the 'other' in 1984, in 2002 and many other times of religious, caste strife in between, before and after 1984 and 2002.
These predators watched closely, very closely, when rape and murder were used as instruments of terror, instruments to usurp land and minerals from India's marginalised sections, by men in uniform, by the administration, by the system that was meant for their protection, inside the forests of India.
These predators have watched closely, very closely, and learned from what they saw how the marginalised are absolutely vulnerable to their lust.
India's women have now joined the list of marginalised section.
These predators have been watching closely, very closely, how rape was normalised even as India emerged from the womb of Partition, how rape was normalised even as India grew, how it is used to this day even after it has grown into a mature republic.
These predators have been watching closely, very closely, how patriarchy, casteism, communalism, nationalism, jingoism are flagrantly used to get away with rape and murder.
These predators have been watching closely, very closely, how the system favours them more than those they prey upon.
These predators have watched you closely, very closely, when you let down the likes of Nirbhaya, and watch as you let down the Kathua victim, the Unnao survivor and hundreds and thousands of others who suffer their fate, or have suffered their fate, for many, many, years and will continue to do so for years to come unless you grow some spine.
These predators have watched you cower before the might of money, muscle, political, State power, patriarchy, communalism, casteism; these predators have watched you turn your back on the helpless, hopeless, victims of rape and molestation.
These predators have watched you so closely that they now know you have become so spineless and lonely that neither will you dare to help anybody nor will anybody come to help you.
These predators are now so emboldened by your cowardly behaviour that they overtly and covertly molest girls/women in the streets, at railway stations, inside buses, inside metros, inside forests, in the lanes near your homes.
These predators are everywhere: Not just in public places, but they have infiltrated your homes too.
Soon, unless you wake up and act urgently, unitedly, they will knock at your doors, if they already haven't.
For these predators, age, caste, creed, religion, nationality, ethnicity mean nothing.
These are the predators who we have fed and fattened on our lack of spine, and on our prejudices.
These predators have preyed on so many infants, girls, women, young and old, that they will not twitch even a muscle the next time they set out to devour your eight year old.
It doesn't matter to these predators if they prey upon a Raziya or a Radha.
These predators and their supporters have discovered that 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai!', the most potent slogan they and their compatriots have used, will cover up all their acts.