by Meenakshi Iyer
New Delhi: Each year, watching the colourful and gargantuan effigies of Ravana, Kumbhakarna and Meghnad go up in flames with a sense of pride, does anyone ever imagine a scenario where those demons would spring back to life?
If they could, the demons would be amused to see a sea of Ravanas teaming up to burn their own kind.
That is the irony of the Dussehra of present times where one crafts and destructs ten faces of Ravana but does nothing about the masks of treachery, corruption and deceit that adorns his own face!
Lost in the loud chants of Jai Shri Ram and Jai Hanuman reverberating in the air, one stays oblivious of the painful hollers of women and children who are raped in broad daylight, children who are forced to beg, and people who are massacred for their caste and religion.
If Ravana was the wicked demon that he was, then what and who are these people who massacre others for eating beef, who butcher their children to save family’s honour, who nip a daughter in womb itself, who attack with acid at the slightest provocation?
How does one celebrate the victory of good over evil when good is a hard find?
A total of 34,651 rape cases were reported in India in 2015. The rape victims were among the age group of below six years to over 60 years, as per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data released in 2016.
Of the nearly 3.27 lakh cases of crimes against women were reported across the country, over 1.3 lakh were sexual offences – 1.2 lakh in states and 9,445 in union territories. The sexual offences cases included rape, attempt to commit rape, assault on women with intent to outrage her modesty and insult to modesty of women.
With these staggering numbers, our women must have felt more secure with Ravana, who did not out do the modesty of Sita even though he abducted her.[su_pullquote]India is ranked 76 out of 175 countries in Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, 2015[/su_pullquote]. The data indicates that systemic corrupt practices are striking at the root of India’s development trajectory and preventing it from realizing its true potential.
Every year, we spend crores of rupees crafting the idols of Ravana, how much do we spend to uplift the poor on the streets? How much do we spend on providing safe drinking water and a clean environment devoid of vector borne diseases?
With the municipal corporation confirming 1,473 fresh chikungunya cases in the last one week, a record 6,712 people have been afflicted by the vector-borne disease in the national Capital this year so far. Nearly 578 dengue cases were reported in the last one week taking the total number of cases to 2,711 this year. The vector-borne diseases have claimed close to 30 lives in Delhi alone.
The Ravanas of today are much worse – they are unmindful of their own faults and lack the ability to rise up in the first place after a fall. The Ravanas of today don’t know what is it to rise and fight against rampant evils like corruption because they are too occupied filling their own coffers.
This Dusehra, don’t just set ablaze the effigies of Ravana; instead, smolder those who target our soldiers and their families; singe those who kill innocents in the name of jihad; char those who assault, molest, abuse and rape our women and children.
This Dussehra, watch the fireworks go up in smoke, but don’t overlook the blood, sweat and toil of children who spent hours making those firecrackers under hazardous conditions.
This Dussehra, do watch the Ravanas on fire and don’t miss the demons laughing back at your own imprudence.