Column: India in 2013: stemming the rot
The most obvious fault that has been exposed by recent events is India’s dreadful treatment of women. As many have already written, rape is just the tip of the iceberg that represents the full scope of the problem. We have known for some time, have seen it documented, have read numerous stories, about the indignities suffered by India’s women and girls. But it took one exceptionally brutal and visible act to shake up at least a significant portion of Indian society, which took to the streets.
Perhaps this process will follow the course of events we saw in Eastern Europe, where long-suppressed fear and resentment of repressive regimes boiled over into the streets and led to astonishingly rapid change. Of course there are other examples, including India’s anti-corruption movement, where little has improved as a result of public outrage. In the current crisis, what is needed is a comprehensive examination of legislation that affects women: not just the laws and legal processes surrounding the crime of rape, but also education, marriage, inheritance and other aspects of women’s lives. Let us see if 2013 brings some real progress.
One reason to be pessimistic is the kinds of institutional responses we have seen to the
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