It is a dangerous trend unfolding in the Indian society. We claim to make progress towards greatness in various other fields of life, but our social reality is turning grave with each passing day. Women, honesty, intellect are being attacked brutally in every nook and corner and there is little effort visible to stop the criminal acts.
We mostly blame political elements for the dastardly acts. But only pointing at institutionalised evils doesn't bring the story to an end. There is a bigger problem in the society and only law and parliament can't alter the harsh reality.
The Indian society is traditionally an illiberal one. The state or the administration can always try to make changes from above but the goal can be achieved only if there is a concerted effort from below. Democracy in India hasn't just flourished because our founding fathers adopted western ideals to implement a system on their lines. It has taken deep roots with the mobilisation of various sections of the society under competing leaderships.
The decline of the Congress system and the advent of the coalition politics in India have been significant for the country's democracy for it has shown that our political democracy has been strengthened. The chaos and controversy that we see inside and outside the parliament today symbolises a working democracy.
But in fields of society or economy, India is yet to see the process of democratisation fully accomplished. When we talk about the issue of corruption, there is a tendency to label it entirely as a political problem, which is not the case. Corruption is also a problem pertaining to the society and economy, which we do not generally emphasise.
Similarly, crime against women is something which is related to a social erosion and economic reasons have landed the women at the crossroads of a social crisis. When we attack a person of integrity or intellect who is fighting for a cause, we indulge in a social witch-hunting to ensure that the status quo is not disturbed.
People like Dr Narendra Dabholkar challenge this status quo, only to find themselves at the receiving end. There were other activists who also met a tragic end while fighting for a cause to free the society of evils. These personalities, hence, are no less than the freedom fighters of the yesteryear who fought for the country's political freedom. Their struggle will continue but what is worrying is that such people are increasingly finding themselves unguarded and unaided. This is a major concern.
The problem is that the social training in India doesn't teach us the importance of social reforms and the soft virtues that have huge significance in the life of the nation and its people. The materialistic mind of the middle-class, the driving force of India today, has shifted its focus from the fundamentals, unlike during the freedom struggle, when the same class had backed people like the Mahatma. This change of prioritisation has left today's crusaders for any cause helpless.
The class- and status-conscious Indian middle-class must take a wholehearted interest in the democratisation of the society and economy and not just turn the face once the prime time TV debates conclude. The tragedy is: unlike we ensured that each and every person get a chance to stand in the voting queue to cast the ballot in elections, we have not put honest efforts to get rid of obsolete and evil social thoughts and prepare a robust economic policy as a means to fight them.
Dabholkars will not stop appearing on earth, no matter how many challenges are thrown at them but we must not let their efforts go in vain. The political democracy can always intervene in their support but the success will not be achieved till the society in general rises to the occasion without media's backing. The same also applies for the Delhi braveheart who died after being gangraped and brutally assaulted last December or Durga Shakti Nagpal, who was humiliated by the politicians for doing her duty.