Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A change for sure. But how?

Looking at the mindset of policemen in our country It looks like they just have garbed themselves as the law keepers and haven't come out of the societal mold they were brought up in. I am sure there are fewer of them in the force. After all we have seen good cops too.

Still it is a sad situation. I am talking about those crooked minds in the police force.

They know they are the law keepers, they practice it in their own ways but probably find themselves fit for citing the skewed, cockeyed reasons behind a crime. A particular kind of crime most of the times. Crime against women.

Even more sadly, frustrating actually,  those reasons come from a deep rooted mindset they have grown up with, coming from the same rotting decaying society where the power and the influence decides who is fair. And the conventional wisdom is never to be questioned. Someone who defies the norm is considered to harbor 'the wrongs'. Those wrongs could be violation of body and freedom of some one too. If the victim has defied some norms, it is quite right for the powerful and influential to align the cause of the crime with the victim.

It is spectacularly easy when the one who defies the norms and becomes a victim is a woman. Aligning the cause of the crime with the victim.

Quite interestingly, the powerful and influential can defy the norms themselves according to their own convenience and that would not be liable to questioning.

These policemen of our times are just confirming to the old societal pattern.

Reasons are many.

There is no aptitude required to join any profession in our country. Anyone can join any profession mostly depending on the grades they secure during schooling and later how much influence they have in the recruitment circles. Networking to get the job.

Deep rooted malaise.

Then there are the parents who decide even before the child is born what profession he/she would follow. Many times generations after generations follow the footsteps of parents in joining Politics, Medicine, Engineering, Law, Sports, Business, Police force or Army/Navy/Air force. Ah yes, the three forces also look down upon each other. You are again expected to follow the tradition, in a proud way.

No wonder the Doctors end up being businessmen or shrewd politicians sometimes, Lawyers trade the truth and Policemen join hands with criminals or are found thinking/speaking/behaving like them.

No wonder.

Misplaced talent, mangled beliefs and minds frozen in the stone age can't do any better.

Now, a change is required. Actually an overhaul.

Oh that we all agree but how?  How is the change that is so crucial in recent times, would come?

Do punishments work?
Or bullying and blaming on national television or on social media?
Or bringing some systemic changes to uproot the evil.

While bullying and blaming the policeman or any professional who is incapable or is taking advantage of his/her power or position, is not going to work in this kind of situation. The reason is, such policeman have the belief system so ingrained in their minds that they would see the blaming as a dent on their ego and chances are, they would bounce back with enhanced energy levels. The law keeping would suffer and there will be an environment of rivalry between the change seekers and the resistant, reluctant, power hungry, corrupt minded policemen.

Punishments would work

If it is the kind that Ms Kiran Bedi suggested. The annual CR should include a column of gender sensitivity or communal sensitivity etc. If that column is marked negatively, the whole career of the insensitive policeman would suffer and they would all think twice before uttering something like that. Though the deep cleansing would still be required.

Some more ways to bring them to discipline should be looked for. Psychological, behavioral and motivational research can suggest some good measures.

Bringing the changes at systemic levels are so much required in all the professional fields. There should be an aptitude test before joining a profession and there should always be an induction training which includes sensitivity on all issues that affect law keeping in the case of police force. This aptitude test and induction training would help in teaching and medicine a lot too. And politics for sure.

Having said that, I am glad that some of the police officers are making such mistakes. Of blaming the victims and taking the crimes lightly, hence benefiting the criminals to a large extent.

I mean the mindset was always there, they were always reluctant to budge when a woman approached them for reporting a crime, it's only now that they have become vocal about their mindset. Thanks to the curious reporters who have been laughed at for huffing and puffing to find the right words at the scene or either war or elections till now. The spy cam journos have done the rest of the excavation to unearth the deepest folds of a mind of a typical policeman.

This way the malaise that was so deep rooted and yet unaccounted for is being unearthed and there is a talk on how to sensitize the police force. The criminals have always been acquitted (65% of rapists get acquitted by the courts on some or the other grounds) or benefited by the system somehow, to a large extent. The recent vocal behavior of some of the policemen, on or off the camera, has opened the lid off a rotten gutter.

Cleaning looks like an emergency measure now. The need to change is a priority now.

The process, the change, will not be an overnight miracle, but there should be some change in the aptitude and attitude of the law keepers.

I am hopeful.

This post is an entry for Stayfree women for change.


  1. I strongly believe unless and untill the political leaders stop using them for their own benefit nothings gonna change. the problem is historical and deep rooted.
    whenever I start thinking of any problem that is so part of our daily life I see a vicious circle....over population, poverty, lack of education, wide spread corruption...where to start?
    Hopeful? Am not sure if I am Sangeeta.

    1. Yes, it is a vicious circle. But still many people lead their lives peacefully by making small changes in their world. I am hopeful for those small changes in my own world always, in the bigger scenario too i think a change would come only when someone is hopeful out there. There are good people in every part of the world who want the things to be straightened. Isn't it?

  2. There is immediate need to sesitise the police force as a policeman is perhaps the first person a rape victim has to deal with as she seeks justice. You are right about a total disregard for apptitude for jobs. People are usually only concerned about the perks, remunerations,power and clout associated with being a policeman.

    1. Actually we need to sensitise a whole lot of people. Those who opt for the plum jobs for the clout and power it brings and those who walk around with escorts and encourage the common girls to wear short clothes and stay out till late. I mean I do not blame the victim here but we should sensitise all young vulnerable girls to learn to protect themselves.
      I have seen people who advocate slut dressing to make a point, but would never walk alone in the night. And would get a panic attack when stuck alone after dark...it doesn't make sense.
      can't we spread awareness on how to kick a guy if he misbehaves and how to render him impotent if he crosses a limit? Just advocating slut dressing is enough of activism.
      Sensitisation required at a larger level...across the sections of society. Isn't it?

  3. Whether we like it or not, we have to realise that policemen are only saying things what they truely believe as the cause of crime against women. And thats the way society as a whole thinks. Which is sadly a skewed and biased approach. Bu the fact remains that this is he way it is. A lot of hue and cry that is being generated will only force these policemen to use the "politically correct" language. It will not necessarily change the general public's way of thinking. Noisy activism succeeds only on the basis of its notoreity. It does not bring about a change of heart or a change in the way of thinking. Sensitisation has to have a wider scope cross all sections of the society It is going to be a long drawn process and we have to face the fact that we might not live to see the day when women will feel free from the fear of assault.We have to start the process though. Both girls and boys have to be included in its scope

    1. Absolutely. Aptly said Amrita.
      Politically correct statements wouldn't solve the problems, a real change in attitude would. Civilisation is an ongoing process and we have to admit it.

  4. Activism for effect is the order of the day. It is easy to say, 'off with his head,' when one needs to work on a deeper solution and find it too involved. I agree with your reply to Amrita. It is easy to sit and preach revolution from the safe confines of your condo, while enjoying all the security -- physical, emotional and financial. And finally, there are perverts and sickos in all walks of life and the police force is not above it. All the best for the contest, Sangeeta!

    1. Thank you Zephyr.

      There will always be perverts and sickos in the society and we cannot expect them to be deleted by the click of a mouse...we definitely need to safeguard ourselves and have the confidence to take challenges.

  5. Nicely written
    Well done yaar..all the best.
    Also Check out mine.Give your comment on it.
    Are Hijra's(TransGender) not a Human being.?

  6. Apart from their deep rooted prejudices against women (for example, if she was raped she asked for it), they are also muzzled by other considerations – bribes; seniors, politicians or the culprit’s family pulling weight.
    If laid down procedures were strictly followed – register the case, do not pass judgement as that is not your job – things might change. How do we ensure the police don’t get away with not registering cases? By uniting, supporting NGOs like “Violence Against Women” who do a lot for rape victims in India. Not just activism and raising slogans but smart and safe activism.