Friday, 25 December 2009

More Meaningless Vigils

Oh no, not again. That was my first reaction when I saw the news clips of the candlelight vigils for Ruchika Girhotra. Like it happened in the Jessica Lal case, this too may lead to a relook at the judgement giving S P S Rathore a laughable six months imprisonment and Rs 1000 fine. And it will be all hailed as a victory for middle class activism.

But I find this whole candlelight vigil business quite farcical. Read an earlier post of mine Middle Class Angst to understand what I am trying to say. I made a similar point in another post, Nithari and Us.

I wonder how many of those who participated in the vigil in Chandigarh knew the Girhotras and stood by them in all these years? From all accounts, it was only the Parkash family who did that. The Girhotras were forced to shift houses and leave Chandigarh because of harassment by Rathore. When he sent goons to their house to pelt stones did his other neighbours come out in a group and confront them? Or did they all sit quietly behind locked doors and watch the drama from their windows? When her brother was booked in false cases and tortured, did anyone other than the Parkash family take up his cause?

It’s very easy now to participate in a candlelight vigil after Rathore has been convicted. And once everyone is sure he is not in a position to harm them any more. I would have saluted all these people if they had done something like this in all these 19 years.

This candlelight vigil doesn’t mean that more Ruchikas won’t be harassed by more Rathores any more. I am absolutely certain that among those in the vigils there will be many who will not do even an iota of what the Parkash family did for the Girhotras when faced with a similar situation. Why, they will not even stop to help if they see a girl being teased in a bus. Even if it happened to their own daughters, they will, in all probability, hush things up.

We don’t need more candlelight vigils. We need more Parkashes.

1 comment:

Sunil said...

Very well said, Seetha! And exactly what was running in my mind, when yesterday, I saw news reports of the vigil in Chandigarh. They work...sure they do...in putting public pressure. But they come too late. And then, for many they are nothing more than photo opportunities. We need these vigils when the crime is being perpetrated. That is, if it is well understood who the criminal is and upon whom the crime is being perpetrated. Otherwise, we can have mayhem. Remember the Delhi school teacher, who was publicly humiliated, her clothes torn, her reputation tattered? She was torn to shreds by the same people who light candles. Instant vigilante justice! One couldn't have said it better. We need more of Anuradha kinds...that's what we need.
I would have liked you to also explore the role of the media in this, if you think it is relevant.