A thin line between religion and hooliganism

Kanwariya's walking in line

In past few days all roads to the holy sites of Haridwar, Gaumukh and Gangotri have become a nightmare for motorists and local people. Loudspeakers blaring vulgar beats of remixes, Kanwariyas smoking Ganja and ignoring all traffic rules do not at all qualify as a religious procession. Do they exude calmness of a devotee Or austerity of a man on a religious mission? This is a mob, who has got the religious license to squat wherever they want, defecate in what not places and stall traffic for hours…even the police and administration is choosing to look the other way. When I say looking other way, I mean literally. I see it everyday, policemen standing aimlessly in the ridge road area in Delhi, where one of the Kaanwar camp is based. Though a yellow line of tape divides the road into two – one for daily commuters and one for Kanwarias, but still they disrupt the traffic, their fancy chariots bring the traffic to a dead halt and the sudden halt of their motorbikes risk the lives of other motorists .

The nuisance which they create is not limited to traffic snarls alone. To facilitate smooth movement of Kaanwarias, the National Highway between Delhi and Haridwar is closed to the general traffic every year in the Kaanvad season. This has a consequent effect on supply of daily commodities. Also, the hotels, dhabas, shops on the highway close down during this time as Kaanwarias eat at these joints but refuse to pay. And the hooliganism is not limited to this alone, there are incidents of looting, rioting, eve-teasing, molestation, rape, drug-abuse and muchmore.

The Kanvar Yatra is an annual pilgrimage of devotees to Shiva to Hindu pilgrimage sites in Uttarakhand to fetch holy waters of Ganges, which is later offered at their local Shiva temples. But, very few among them are true devotees, rest of them are just unemployed unruly youth, cashing upon subsidized state sponsored festivity. And a majority of them belong to that sensitive age, when one can easily play on their passion and give them a color of religion to create a personal brigade of fanatics. Perhaps that’s why, the number of kaanwarias are increasing every year.
Not meaning to hurt any religion, but frankly sight of men in saffron or green or whatever color of religion, out on a religious procession appear more like a mob to me, which evokes FEAR instead of devotion.


Are Women a Different Species?


I have always wondered what is “it” which makes a man/boy rape? What is that ‘switch’ which transforms him from a human into a savage, which makes him take the risk of jail, take the risk of social banishment? Makes him commit a crime which is no less than cannibalism.

Does he have a fetish for breasts and curves of a female figure? But if this were so, why baby girls, some as young as a newborn, are raped. Forget about their breasts, even their vital organs are not fully developed. Is this the ‘young-things’ which attract him. But if this were so then there would not have been cases of women in their 80s and 90s getting raped. Does he rape because he is not disciplined not well-educated or perhaps unemployed? But if this were so, then Human Rights Watch would not have screamed about innumerable number of rapes by the Uniform; Offices would not have felt the need to create a sexual harassment cell .

Is Rape an act of vengeance for him, a tool to teach woman a lesson? But if that is the case then why newspapers are ripe with the sensational stories of father raping his own daughter, son lusting over his mother. Is this the short skirt or her voluptuous cleavage which entices him, which makes him forget his ‘manners’ and fulfill his manhood? But if such is the case then why so many cases of rapes in countries where women Iive in those cloth-cages, why a woman draped in a six-metre cloth or enclosed in sacred habit of nun is raped. Is this the female body which is the root of all evil, which makes the beast in a man go out of control and instigate him to rape anybody female? But if this were so, why there are cases of young boys getting sodomized in schools and churches. Are Rapes a sign of ‘Kalyug’ and the moral bankruptcy of the present world? But if that were so, then there wouldn’t have been Rg Veda Hymns revering Indra for raping Usha, the goddess of dawn, and crushing her pride. And Lord Rama would not have asked Sita to go through agnipariksha.

For a woman, the idea of taking the role of a rapist to punish others is non-existent. That is why even if a wicked woman takes out her grudge on her neighbor’s child, she may strangulate him, or cut him into pieces, but she would not sexually assault him. Yes, there are cases when women too have become party to this heinous crime, but statistically they can be dismissed as anomalies. At the same time, I am not saying every man out there is rapist — not all of them. But how many of them are able to control that basic instinct successfully – our safety rest on that. As per a figure, in India, one woman every 15-20 minutes is getting raped.

The issue is much bigger than a simple ‘urge’. Perhaps, we, women, are a different species. We have learnt to control our sexuality, learnt to control our dreams, learnt to talk less in public, learnt to behave civil. We are more civilized, dignified and more evolved than them. While they, men, are  still living in that stone-age. They are still savage. They are altogether a different species.

Though they learn to behave appropriately outwardly, but inherently they are still barbaric. May be this is what someone meant when he said, “boys will be boys”. For them Rape is an act of victory, an act of ownership, an act of boasting, an act of happiness, an act of enjoyment, an act of scoring. May be that’s why when Germany beats Brazil in World Cup, the victory is translated as ‘raping Brazil’. If only, socialization process had stressed on men, and not women, for controlling their sexuality, such gender crimes would not have become a medium of showcasing their masculinity.

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