06 December 2005

When a Woman takes "Mirchi" into her own hands!

Over 200 women attack and beat-the-crap out of Akku Yadav, notorious criminal, until he dies, in a courtroom in Nagpur. My first gut reaction after reading this news story was “Wow! Awesome”. It was a mixture of bewilderedness, shock, joy and vanquished feeling as if I was part of that crowd. I am sure I would have felt differently if Akku Yadav was a good guy or maybe he is. But 200 women must have had a better reason not to think so than my internal “proven until guilty” logic. I think the very fact that a bunch of normal, working women, doing something as outrageous as this proves his guilt. He should have known better than to mess with the Indian Women! If she can be considered submissive, passive and sacrificing, the same woman also knows how to wield a kitchen knife to test the depth of your liver.

It can’t get more cinematic than this story. I am reminded of the last scene from “Mirch Masala”, when all the women working in the spice factory, ambushes the lustful Subedhar (Naseeruddin Shah) to protect the honor of Sonbhai (Smitha Patil). It also reminds us, how as a society, we have caused so much despair and helplessness in the justice system that these women had to take this extreme measures of killing another human being (very much like the movie when the women lose hope after all the men in the village decide to send Sonbhai to satisfy the lust of Subedhar).

What happens when people begin to take matters in their own hands? What happens when they lose trust in the justice system? Judges? Policemen? Politicians (yeah right!) ? It would be mirror image of all vigilante movies playing in reality and a society of free-for-all. While I am rejoicing at the instant-justice-system, I am also sad at how we have come to this stage. A stage of being despondent, forsaken, abandoned by social institutions like police, lawyers and courts. The reality is that, it can happen anywhere, to anybody and not necessarily, the bad guys getting killed in the end. And I know majority of us wont be yelling and screaming about it until “it happens to us”. How long can a society survive in a system where the conviction rate is 6.5%? Would we learn from these incidents and recognize that we have an epidemic in terms of credibility of justice system rather than a denial that it’s an exception? Will a day ever come when I can say, “Shit! That’s an Indian policeman and I am in a No-entry zone!” than thinking “I got 500 bucks, its all rite, if I get caught!”?

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