Delhi gang rape: With great power, comes great idiocy!
Don't mingle with males; beg rapists to spare you by calling them 'brother' and now use your guns to fight rapists!
Delhi’s Lieutenant (Lt) Governor Tejinder Khanna recently joined the coveted club of famous people who have made insensitive and embarrassing comments on the Delhi gang rape case.
“Gun owners with licenses must roam lonely spots like bus stands each night and if they spot someone harassing a woman, they should use their weapon to stop the crime. They can at least spend an hour or so every day with their friends in public after nightfall,” Khanna said, according to the Indian Express.
Several women’s rights organisations and opposition parties condemned this statement.
Unfortunately, this was not the first irresponsible statement by a public figure; one who is seen as a role-model and caretaker of the democratic and social ethos.
Self-proclaimed ‘godman’, Asaram Bapu, bit off more than he could chew when he said that the rape victim could have saved herself if she had begged the rapists and addressed them as ‘brothers’!
Can you believe it?
Abu Azmi, a famous Mumbai politician, who is also the father-in-law of Ayesha Takia, a famous Bollywood actress, became a major source of embarrassment for his daughter-in-law when he said that girls shouldn’t hang out with male friends.
Yes, this is all true.
Abhijit Mukherjee’s comment, President Pranab Mukherjee’s son and a member of parliament, on the ‘Dented and Painted’ women protesting at the India Gate is now considered a benchmark of how idiotic a medically sane person can sound.
These examples show that Tejinder Khanna’s comments cannot be taken in isolation; where a leading personality meant to say something else but the words simply betrayed him, making him sound completely out of sync with the ground realities.
What these comments show is how alienated our leaders are from the masses.
Mr Khanna is a man with enormous powers and responsibilities.
Encouraging vigilante justice is not something expected from the man who represents the Government of India in the state of Delhi and also controls the Delhi Police.
This statement would pose a threat of an immense magnitude towards the law and order situation in the city. Just imagine what sort of blood bath would prevail if every night people with licensed weapons kill or mortally wound their enemies, claiming them to be molesters or rapists!
While the public-police participation is a necessity in the modern society, encouraging gun-toting people to take up the role of law-enforcers is a perfect example of a tinderbox waiting to be ignited.
Khanna’s supporters may claim that he was misquoted and what he meant was that people should be more proactive in countering such kind of uncouth behaviour in the evenings and hold responsibility for their own neighbourhoods by keeping a watch out for their women. But there can’t be any excuse for making ambiguous comments from such a high position of authority.
The same applies to all the other ‘great minds’ that have had the unfortunate ‘foot in mouth’ moments. It’s not that the common man expects Asaram or Abu Azmi to understand their plight and help them out. But such insensitive and unnecessary comments rub salt to the wounds of the people.
With great power, comes great responsibility. And that includes the responsibility to speak wisely.
Read more by Kunal here, or follow him on Twitter @kunal_anand1