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The Fallen Knight….

April 18, 2014

Knighthood was a sacred and honourable title given to only those few men who hold the fort of the righteous side in the most adverse of situations, who were known to be wise learned men, gallant, smart but not cunning and skilled in their chosen field (swordsmanship). I recently realized that my unconscious mind, spurred by years of listening and reading about the mighty knights had awarded knighthood to a certain 21st century human being. Like all knights, he carried a certain charisma along and only recently did I realize that the infatuation was in fact a part of the whole scheme where by subconscious had awarded him knighthood. He was this soulful, aware person, righteous is every manner, socially responsible, shrewd, goal oriented….and everything else a knight can be. He holds different opinions, views and  ideologies which are refreshing to hear and think about.

But recently while debating about such a different opinion, somehow the knight proclaimed that he doesn’t think death penalties are valid for the charges of rape. We were talking about juvenile crime and so here is how the conversation between the knight and my subconscious (that had granted him the knighthood) sounded :

Subconscious : Surely knight, your opinions are so because a kid is involved. It is a debatable topic.

Knight :No my opinion is for all of them – juvenile or not.

Subconscious : (now desperately) Surely, surely,,,,you must think there is a  punishment much more cruel than death. Correct..? Am I right in saying so knight?

Knight : (now sensing that the title was in danger). I just don’t think it is right.

Then, my rational self realized how very desperate my subconscious sounded while defending her knight. And I had a realization – harsh and shocking. Somewhere there existed an element of reasoning behind this view, however tiny that element may be, that he did not realize how cruel and heinous a crime we were talking about. And the knight who was clad in a velvet white cloak, an armour suit and a mighty steel sword in his hand riding on a while stallion, was no longer there. My imagination saw him as a traitor, for he had betrayed the trust my subconscious had placed in him with the title. Suddenly he had fallen off his horse, now black as night and was transforming into an ugly figure of the evil enemy. My white knight had fallen.!

It fills me with such angst when I realize that people cannot relate to the crime and it’s cruelty. Perhaps it’s considered as one of those things that happen to other people. There is no empathy. Sympathy is offered by everyone but not empathy. I am an avid reader and when I read, I imagine. Perhaps that is why I enjoyed Harry Potter books – I could imagine the enchanted ceiling, the moving photos and all of it in my mind. But my imagination is not restricted to Harry Potter. When I read news about rape, the cruelty of it does not escape my imagination. The fallen knight voiced his disloyal opinion in respect of a particularly horrifying incident called the Nirbhaya case. And I was horrified to hear him say that such a crime could be excused from death penalty. Punishment was fine, but death penalty was a bit too much according to the fallen knight. He expressed his erudition – “I have read material regarding death penalty not being valid. Humanitarian grounds”. A statement that once would have earned admiration from me, only irked me even more. When I read the reports of this case, I could empathize with her. Many people shy away from the actual empathy because it is too vivid. But then, so is the reality. One cannot begin to understand the cruelty by reading the incident as mere news. And I urge the handful of people reading this to imagine with me, imagine her and be her. Imagine being raped by six men, lying semi naked and watching your friend being brutally hit with a rod. Fighting against 6 men and then being raped and beaten by the rod, and being penetrated by the rod…!!!!. So badly penetrated by that rusted iron rod, that the intestines and the uterus come out and then being thrown away. Imagine yourself, your daughter, your sister, your wife, your loved one lying there with her intestines out….Imagine someone you love most dearly, her smiling face, lying on a road after being raped by six men and beaten and her intestines out. Imagine the pain of the intestines coming out, the bruises, the shame. My heart stops whenever I read the Nirbhaya case because I can imagine myself, every person I love in her place. And if you just imagined being her imagined your loved one being her, I dare you to consent to the fallen knight, when the memory of that loved one, her pain and her plight is before you.

My knight had not only fallen, he was now an ally to the monsters. He was that person who protected someone who did this to her, who did this to me when I empathized with her. Some people, including the monster, think that reading of books have made them superior, that the power of knowledge has made them sensitive to others and to prove this sensitivity, they claim to be sensitive towards six men who raped a woman repeatedly. It is easy to pass off the word “rape” in a sentence when words like “sensitivity” prevail. But what about sensitivity to her? In the wake of boasting knowledge, social superiority as also sensitivity to monsters, people like the fallen knight become cruel to the humans mutilated by them…

In India, there is still a vast population which considers women to be objects. A politician recently commented on rape “Boys make mistakes. Doesn’t mean they have to be hanged. We intend to change the law.” It scares and infuriates me to read this. Such monsters exist and the reason for such a statement is simple – they think rape is just another crime. Crime, yes, but not that serious to warrant a death penalty. Well theoretically, it is just a crime, like the monster-turned-night must have read. But when one imagines herself or his/her loved one’s in place of Nirbhaya, that’s when it hits you – it isn’t just a crime. Its much more. The fallen knight, righteous, aware and fair,somewhere thinks like this politician. The politician’s views are formed due to lack of eduction and the knight’s, due to excessive education. But the conclusion is the same. Are they any different ? But again, taking cue from his arguments in this respect, he deserves sympathy and I deserve to be punished. After all, it’s my fault I awarded him knighthood so easily in the first place….Isn’t it?? …I have to be careful…Boys will be boys…..

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