India’s moments of shame—and lessons!

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SummaryThe last few months of 2012 saw a gradual and in some cases precipitous decline in many parameters that truly define a country.

The last few months of 2012 saw a gradual and in some cases precipitous decline in many parameters that truly define a country. Apart from the most obvious ones, GDP and IIP, business confidence also became lower and but for a revival towards the fag end of the year, this would have been truly an annus horribilis for India. However what really seemed to be the last nail in the coffin of Indian sentiment was the brutal rape and murder of a young student in a bus that went careening through posh suburbs of the national capital city, even as the confidence and morality of an entire nation was brutalised beyond belief!

It is rather amazing that it took an incident of such horrific proportions to bring to focus the decline in morality, values and ethics that has been visible for many years in various parts of our country. From Guwahati in the East to Pune in the West, from Kochi in the South to Delhi and Srinagar in the North, the sad decline in respect for women, for diversity and inclusion in our country has been visible as episode upon episode rocked the nation, only to fade away as the next sensational news or an infrequent cricket win captured the public’s fickle memory. Our education standards have declined, the acceptability of “getting rich at any cost” has seen many unscrupulous businessmen getting away with actions that would not be condoned in any decent civilisation and the weak law and order situation in the country has time and again let criminals go scot free, scoffing in the face of justice!

The immediate aftermath of the incident itself was the eruption of protests primarily in Delhi and in lesser measure across the country, which of course was quickly put down by the actions of the police. The death of the young woman has now brought up the expected moralistic voices on television and a return to the rhetoric that comes so naturally to most of us. “Zero tolerance in future for rape” is just one of the empty promises being made. A nation waits to see if the sacrifice of one young woman will create the much needed wave of actions that will make this nation safe for its citizens!

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