One of the surprises that I found in the Supreme Court appointed committee to report on the Aman Kachroo murder was that the students were always advised to carry condoms. I have been through college and I have been ‘ragged’ physically. There was something called ‘lifting’ in SSC where a whole plethora of junk was poured on your pubes and believe me, toothpaste hurts. But beyond that, ragging has degenerated to becoming a tribal order. And the sexual element verges on the disturbing.
Why on earth did the college promote intense male-on-male and often forced promiscuity. Going to college is not going to an American prison where a big highly tattooed man will rip your posterior asunder. Being anally raped is not ‘getting to know your seniors better’. Nor was lifting, even though the guys who lifted me were friends and I’m actually still in touch with most of them. Yet, I knew it ended there. At other colleges in Delhi University’s North Campus, there was much worse, our seniors told us stories of the candle dance at KMC and beer bottle sodomy in the seediest hostel of the lot. The guys at Hindu had it pretty good, other than their chappatis.
But when it came to my ‘turn’ to rag juniors all I did was find two hatta-khatta guys to help me with my luggage and because I had gotten a first div in my second year proceeded to get drunk with and several others. I got ‘lifted’ but I still found it grotesque, and very honestly being made into a servant is acceptable, getting freshers to fill water is fine, a senior called ‘Trippy’ made me his personal joint roller, and believe me I didn’t mind that one bit. But then like now, I found the extreme homo-eroticism mildly disturbing even at St. Stephens.
But at least, we were in a city and there were girls around. In essentially all-male engineering and medical college environments, as the Kachroo case prove, we really have no clue how bad it is nor will I even try to guess. Most of my friends from school and college went to top-notch colleges and at the IIT’s things are very mild compared to shady colleges, the only guys I know who had it bad were the guys who joined the NDA, but then again that wasn’t homo-erotic but rather really strange things that soldiers end up doing which would be classified as torture by the Obama Administration. Out in Andhra and Karnataka, things I believe are really bad and while Supreme Court pronouncements make a difference in Delhi and other major cities, they don’t flow down deep into the countryside, even 50 kilometers away where residential engineering and medical colleges pop up like mushrooms. There is a problem and solving that begins with educational administrators
Which brings me to rape, and also the Bombay case where the police are trying to paint the woman as a ‘loose’ character by saying she tested positive for cannabis. Needless to say, the police need sensitivity training, and painting the woman as the criminal by saying she brought it upon herself does not work. Making out with someone is not an invitation to have sex. And what the f*** were police checking for cannabis anyway. No bruise marks – the woman might have been drugged. The milieu our beat constables come from is horrific, but a fact of life, which is why we all condone bribery, but do your job, which is to find and arrest the rapists. No matter what the character of the person who was raped, it does not mitigate the crime.
Another thing puzzled me lately, the death of Aakriti. Personally, and I have no love lost for MSVV, I don’t blame the school. What were the parents thinking when they sent a kid who had been to hospital a few days ago to school? Bad school administration? Sure, but many schools don’t have doctors and things would have been better. But I also blame bad parenting I’m afraid. Also, Sheila aunty and Renuka chichi are going to meet Aakriti’s parents, yet Shano, the poor girl who was made to stand in the sun who died the other day haven’t received such high-profile guests. Is it me, or is the life of a upper-class kid more important to both policy makers and the media? You know, there is something seriously fucking wrong in the country if it is.
And another point, why should I be ashamed if I say I support a nationalistic party and what is the big deal if such support is also given by a member of my family. I do not agree with everything the Sangh does or says, I find certain elements of the Sangh as disturbing as the next person. But I believe in the national identity of India they project. We need a pick-me-up in this country, we need to know that all lives are valuable, we need to know India means something. 1992 and 2002 will mean that the West and the genteel educated types, the ones whose homes ministers will travel to (which is why despite my antipathy towards the Congress, I do give Rahul Gandhi some credit). I don’t know if the solution will be to form an alternative right –wing force in India, maybe it is. The BJP maybe unelectable going forward as I have elucidated before.