Rahul da Cunha: Rape waits
2012. A bus circles, and circles, and circles, silently. Its tinted glass hiding unprecedented gruesomeness
Illustration/ Ravi Jadhav
2012. A bus circles, and circles, and circles, silently. Its tinted glass hiding unprecedented gruesomeness. After a Life of Pi, a girl endures an hour of rape and torture. Savageness leads to the death of the girl.
There is outrage. A country explodes, takes to the streets. Tears and tear gas are shed simultaneously. Rape has become headline news. Rape has moved from a back alley crime to a front page sensation. Rape is momentarily nervous. "Do I really want this kind of limelight? Is it bad for business?" Rape is caught. Rape is convicted. Rape goes to jail. A nation bays for blood. And like a runner, Rape waits, catching its breath, awaiting the result. In time, this incident is forgotten.
Rape is relieved. Rape can resume its activity. Rape has found a new courage. It is now in the category of 'Big crime. No severe punishment'. Rape rejoices. Rape grows in stature. It has a new sub genre — a sub-genre called Gang Rape. "Why share the riches alone," Gang Rape announces to the world, "this is our #MeToo moment". In the mix of all this, there is also, Juvenile Rape. And one day, Juvenile Rape walks. No rope around its neck, in fact a sewing machine in its hand.
A country has forgotten. Yet, every December 12, a nation mourns and Rape waits. By December 13, it's business as usual again. No new laws, nothing has changed except the scars it has left in its wake. Rape is relieved. Rape can continue its activities. 2013. South Delhi moves to South Mumbai. An abandoned mill. Gang Rape once again rears its hydra-like head. Rape has struck. A photojournalist this time. Again Rape is caught, reconvicted, and again fast tracks become slow tracks.
Again Rape waits. But there are no public lashings, no lynching in the square, no chemical castration, no capital punishment. Just a bit of jail time. Okay, a life sentence. Still, better than death by hanging, Rape rationalises. By now Rape has figured out the formula. Attack-outrage-silence-repeat. Rapes realises its biggest ally is time. Biding time.
This is fun, Rape feels. 2018. Rape needs to upgrade now. Find newer pastures, discover fresh prey. Rape has feasted on older women, on teenagers, on millennials. "Let's downsize a bit", Rape decides, "Lower the age bar. Let's go after babies. How about eight-year-olds?" And Rape welcomes new members into its fold. After all Rape has no bar, of age, caste, profession. Lust is lust, colour and creed is no object. Even lawmakers have lust, right? An eight-year-old is molested and killed, in Kashmir. Again a nation outraged. And Rape waits. Biding its time. Rape was sneaky, cowardly.
Rape used to wait in the shadows, in the sewers, away from the sunlight. Now it waits sneering, smiling, unafraid, in full public view. Rape is now communal. Rape keeps re-generating, adding new facets. Rape has gained super powers. Rape rules. Rape rocks. India morphs from republic to rape-ublic.
Rahul da Cunha is an adman, theatre director/playwright, photographer and traveller. Reach him at email@example.com
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