'When you sow a small plant, then you keep watch on it so that wild cattle should not eat that sapling.'
Over the past few days, the Hathras horror where a Dalit girl was brutalised leading to her death has evoked nationwide outrage and anger.
Yet, amidst all the outpouring of shock and grief, in a bizarre statement, a Bharatiya Janata Party MLA from Uttar Pradesh on Saturday said that incidents like the alleged gangrape and murder of the young Dalit woman in Hathras can be stopped 'if parents inculcated good values in their daughters'.
Emphasising on instilling values in women, the BJP MLA from Ballia, Surendra Singh, said neither governance nor use of weapons can prevent such crimes.
'Incidents like these can be stopped with the help of good values, na shashan se, na talwar se. All parents should teach their daughters good values. It's only the combination of government and good values that can make country beautiful,' he was quoted as saying (see video here).
Syed Firdaus Ashraf/Rediff.com speaks to Surendra Singh and decodes his thinking on rapes and the society we live in.
Your statement on family values has created a political storm amid the Hathras rape case outrage.
I said a very simple fact, that only the Constitution or law and order cannot stop crimes. Family has to be involved in stopping crimes, and then the government can come in too.
If these two institutions don't come together, then crimes are not going to stop.
Governments may come and go and so will chief ministers and prime ministers, but to stop such crimes, these two institutions have to come together to make a better society.
You keep your jewellery worth Rs 10,000 in a locker, but your own daughter, who is a jewel of your family, or be it your son, who is the pride of your family, if they roam half-naked on the streets, then no society or no country is going to benefit from that.
And how does one bring these values you espouse?
Our ancestors have said that till your child attains the age of 5 love him as much as you can. And between 5 and 15 years you give him/her our culture which will be with him/her for life.
We need to track our children in that age -- where they are going? Who they are meeting? What they are seeing on the mobile? And this applies to both -- boys and girls.
If we keep monitoring them at this age, then we can bring our society in order.
And do you think we lack this in our society and therefore crimes take place?
Yes, this lacks in our society. I am just suggesting that till the age of 15, no boy or girl should get a mobile phone.
And before marriage, boys and girls must be dressed properly. After marriage they can do what they want.
At a student's age they have to have civil (decent) dress code.
How will such a dress code help?
Desire comes from two things. Food and clothes. You will experience this in life.
Come to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh schools and you will understand what I mean by dress code.
Don't you think you are taking away people's freedom to choose what to wear, eat etc?
When you sow a small plant, then you keep watch on it so that wild cattle should not eat that sapling.
You keep watch till the time it has grown into a huge tree. And once it is a huge tree you don't need to protect it.
The same way a child has to be kept under watch till the age of 15 so that they get a better future.
Whether this will happen or not, I don't know at this moment but this is what I believe is my dharma to tell people.
Do you feel if mobile phones are not given to children below 15 years old, then rapes will stop?
Yes, it will come in control and I firmly believe this.
But your statement sounds as though you are telling girls what to do and not boys.
I made my statement to both girls and boys.
I am saying about girls more because naari (women), right from society to family, lives in maryaada (limits). On the other hand, man has been gifted more from nature.
Gifted? As, you mean added advantage?
Yes, there is no doubt about it. This has been given by nature to men.
We make our daughters like rani not naukrani (servants).
She can live like a doctor or professor, but till the time she achieves that she must live within maryaada (in limits).
But when it is the man who is the aggressor, why are you blaming women?
Let me place a counter-question. Why do you think Muslim women are raped less compared to Hindu women? You tell me the answer.
I don't have these numbers, so how can I give you an answer?
You find out the answer. This happens because Muslim women live within their boundaries. And therefore, rapes occur less in their society across the country because they live in their boundary limit.
Is there something wrong with Uttar Pradesh politicians? During the Nirbhaya case, Mulayam Singh Yadav defended boys by stating, 'ladke hain galti ho jaati hai'. Why do you defend men and want society to forgive them for rapes?
No, it is not like that. There is the Constitution of India which has provisions to punish them.
In Uttar Pradesh, there is politics in everything. Be it culture or family life.
Tomorrow if you tell me that you want to eat your lunch while you are jogging, is that the right way of eating? No. Food has to be eaten when you are seated comfortably.
But what about the Hathras rape case?
There was no rape in Hathras. The family is saying there is no rape and doctors are saying no rape. It is only because of vote bank politics the Congress party is saying there has been rape.
The girl, before dying, had stated on video that she was raped and also named the accused.
I believe the doctor's report. These media people... Bollywood drug addicts were being supported by the media and they hoodwinked the entire nation.