A tragic suicide and the world that encourages it

By: catnapping

In both cases, what is stunning is that the rapists had protectors, including women. In the case of the Mumbai gang rape, it was the mother of one of the accused who informed her son about police movements to help him evade arrest. Those who would unhesitatingly condemn this crime and hijacked the protests in Delhi after the Delhi Gang Rape were among those calling the accusations against Asaram Bapu politically motivated and false, while claiming his innocence.

While it is not impossible that accusations are false or politically motivated, what was astonishing was the virulence of the political activists who went forth with the assumption with such confidence that they did not seem to entertain the slightest doubt. Most of them had likely never seen Asaram Bapu, but all that was needed for him to be innocent was for him to be “People Like Us”.

This was seen earlier in the case of the accusations against Dr. Soonawala, a high profile Mumbai doctor accused of rape. Upper class patients endorsed his character and claimed that it was impossible that he could rape.

Of course, all these defenses see humans as linear creatures, who can either be wholly good or wholly bad. If they liked someone, they considered it impossible for them to be guilty. Decades of awareness about crime against women gone down the drain. Countless examples of how otherwise admirable people can turn demons with women. Or is it that they get admired in a male society because of their domination of women somehow adding to a traditional charisma of “man-liness”?

Closer to my home home in Virar East, a tragic story unfolded, when unable to bear harassment, Sonali Garud self-immolated. The Garuds had moved to Virar East recently and Sonali was being harassed by her neighbour, Raju Badodiya with lewd comments and molestation repeatedly.  Sonali’s husband, Macchindra asked Badodiya to stay away from Sonali without any result. DNA reports the Investigation officer’s assessment of the situation:

Investigation officer YK Chaure said, “The woman was worried about trouble in her marriage as Badodiya used to frequently harass and eve-tease her.

Sonali approached Badodiya’s wife, Purnima, who “shockingly” (according to Mumbai Mirror) told her to handle it herself.

Initially the couple thought the harassment would soon stop. But it went on even after Machindra warned Badodiya. Sonali then approached Badodiya’s wife, Purnima, who, shockingly, told Sonali to deal with it herself.

According to ToI:

Machindra had told Sonali to speak to Badodia’s wife about restraining her husband, but she told her to stop complaining and deal with the situation on her own.

The use of language and allocation of blame are both interesting. Our police force is clearly unable to see women as capable of suffering trauma directly, and repeated molestations don’t provoke suicide, but “trouble in her marriage” because of them would. Because, of course, there would be trouble between a couple if the woman suffered unwanted sexual harassment – the man’s possession got vandalized, right?

I am still trying to decide which of the two is the greater insult – the woman being spoken of as a mindless possession, or the man being spoken of as so wholly devoid of human compassion for his life partner that her harassment would trigger marital discord between the two. Alas, either could be true.

Another astonishing aspect is the “shocking” reaction of the molester’s wife. How exactly was she supposed to control the actions of the man who is clearly repeatedly sexually harassing a woman despite of her clear rejection as well as her husband’s warnings. What is the woman supposed to do? Follow him around? Forcibly stop his actions? Does anyone seriously believe that a man who could repeatedly molest a neighbour was doing this either for the first time or gave a damn about what another woman – his wife thought? Would he be going around molesting neighbours if he gave a damn what his wife thought?

In such a situation, one would imagine the best course of action would have been for Sonali to approach the police for help. However, the crowning glory of this farce lays this assumption to rest.

The man has been arrested for outraging the modesty of a woman, namely Sonali. It is a bailable offense and contains a punishment of a year *if* and *when* the person gets punished. We may have passed rape laws, but the definition of sexual assault has clearly not reached the local cops who seem to think repeated molestation is merely outraged modesty. And this is after the woman attempted self-immolation and eventually died of it. Guess what the response of cops were if she approached them before the self-immolation? I’d hazard a guess it would really *shockingly* not be all that different from the creep’s wife. Now that the woman is dead, the couple also get arrested for abetting suicide.

“We have registered a case under Section 306 (abetment of suicide) of the IPC against Badodiya and his wife Purnima,” said Senior PI Chandrakant Jadhav, Virar police. “We produced them before the Vasai court, which remanded both of them to police custody till September 7. We are recording the statements of the neighbours to make a watertight case.”

Still, no sign of words like assault, bullying, sexual harassment in the mouths of the police. This is on top of our area being horrendously understaffed and under patrolled by police anyway. Plain reluctance to call it a crime, one would imagine. Hardly surprising that sex crimes are on the rise in our area.

But why look at the police alone? Check out some of the titles reporters have given their reports of this incident:

Virar woman sets self ablaze over eve-teasing

Virar woman who set herself on fire over lewd comments dies

The curse of eve-teasing is yet to vacate the journalistic templates and editorial brains. The two headlines actually sound like the woman over reacted to something minor, yes?

This nonsense needs to be shredded. Till people don’t risk their necks out and confront, there will not be examples in society of prejudice and hate crimes against women being defeated.

Do everyone a favor. The next time you get a chance to head butt a wrong, don’t worry about your head and butt hard and damn the consequences for a bit.

And no, I’m not asking you to do something I wouldn’t. I’m going to find a way to get someone to babysit my son while I go and find out what the heck is going on in our area with this case and meet cops and whoever else seems relevant.

Vidyut

Vidyut is a blogger on issues of National interest. Staunch advocate of rights, learning and freedoms. @Vidyut

One thought on “A tragic suicide and the world that encourages it

  1. Un-friggin believable where you compare somebody who has been in pubic life for 50+yrs with an unsubstantiated, (and pretty much un-provable) claim of molestation to the mumbai rapists where its an open-and-shut case. This is probably a textbook case of media & public being judge. The outrage against bapuji is no different from the outrage generated against the delhi/mumbai rapists. Asaram bapuji is somebody who had run away from his own marriage (back when he was 22). He cried all through a movie (when people forcible took him to theater for a movie once). Even after he was married, told his wife that he does not want to live as a householder until he attains god. He went away again and did sadhana alone for 7 years as a bramhachari.

    So forget now (at age 68), he did not indulge in sex even when he was in his 20’s i.e at the prime of his youth when sexual desires are the strongest. To say that he molested a girl is as far fetched & imaginary a claim as Ankit Fadia makes about his hacking excapades.

    Dig out tapes from 20-30 years ago and you will find people narrating their experience of how they were able to abstain from sex for months to years after taking his ‘mantra’. One of the most famous stories is of Mahant Chandiram got transformed by him. He was about to get married for the 3rd time to an 18 year old girl. Bapuji said to him “Why should you go for this marriage? I would get you married to God!”. When he went back, he could not get himself to touch the girl and devoted his life to bapuji staying in the ashram.

    Even today, you will hear hundreds of accounts of students saying how they have not masturbated in 6 months to a year or more after taking his mantra. I have my own experiences and can confirm a 1000% that this is true. His top-most shishya, Suresh bapuji used to steal money and sell stuff from his own house to buy cigarettes and watch movies. There are thousands of such stories of transformations – freedom from addiction, bad habits, drinking, sex. (Sadly, I have lost touch of satsang and am not very regular in doing my mantra from past several years. )

    He has a son and a daughter. But has not even spent 20 hours (more than 2 nights) on the bed with his own wife in the 50+ years of his marriage. His wife stays in the mahila ashram. In his 50+ years of satsang, show me a single clip where he has been ‘flanked’ by women (as some of the recent malicious allegations on TV seem to be suggesting):
    – Pretty much in ALL his satsangs you will hear him speak of importance of bramhacharya. He is very strict about this (and very orthodox in that sense). Always talks of the importance of celibacy and gives plenty of tips on how to stay strong
    – One of the top 3 books of the ashram is a booklet called ‘Yauvan suraksha’ which teaches the importance of bramhacharya; has – several stories, quotes, scientific proof & research, tips & suggestions. He commands EVERYBODY to read 2-pages every night from that book before going to sleep. He even asks us to buy this book in bulk and distribute to others (40 page medium size booklet, Rs.2.50). By this you can guage the importance he places on bramhacharya.
    – Worried about how the youth of the country is deteriorating, he held a massive campaign to celebrate matru-pitru poojan on Valentine’s day. All hindu-saints speaks about this, but who do you see actively campaigning for it? (except the shiv-sena/VHP goons who do gundagardi and have a completely political motive in doing it)

    This is the reason, these claims are as ridiculous as Ankit Fadia’s made-up stories about hacking. Not even close to reality..

    We have been hearing him for 10+ years. Probably heard hundreds to thousands of hours of satsang. When a man speaks – he gives precious insights into how he thinks, his motives/mentality, his thought-process & his life without even realizing it. After hearing him for so long, one has a pretty solid idea of who/what Asaram bapuji is. Which is why it pains us so much so see the UTTER WHITE LIES being propagated against him – and people like you concluding his guilt, and referring to him with such derogatory names.

    But this was just a rant. I will also send you CONCRETE PROOF of his innocence too. Cold hard evidence that no channel shows. Counter of the allegations being levelled on TV. With so many allegations being levelled EVERY DAY – it will take you hours to go through the stuff I send (and while the news channels reach crores, I won’t even reach 10 ppl). But you have heard the news channels ad-nauseam. Now hope you listen to the other side of the story too. The onus for the judgements you make about others lie on you.

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