April 7, 2006

Scarred or Scared

Filed under: India n Me,Random,This Gets To Me — Kaveeta Oberoi Kaul @ 6:50 pm

Just finished reading Scarred – Experiments with violence in Gujarat – by Dionne Bunsha.. a must read . I remember how one reacted when the incidents happened and one saw them splashed on TV.. horror, outrage, shock.. but somehow there remained a tinge of disbelief… a feeling that these were just isolated incidents..

Dionne bunsha’s book is quick to correct you.

Scarred is an extremely well written book and an experience I cannot describe. With each page you live once again the horror of Gujarat but this time it is not through images laced with impassioned commentaries. It is a simple almost clinical account of one incident after the other that brings to light the extent of the horror that simple individuals had to live through, a horror inflicted by other human beings in the name of religion..

What scares you is not the nature of the incident, but the fact that these were repeated with obeseesive regularity over and over again, with thousands watching as if mesmerised or frozen.. what sacres you is that hardly any one reacted.. what scares you is the depth to which humans can fall, what scares you is the way women are abused, what scares you is that total lack of respect for life bearers, even when they are carrying full term babies, what scares you is how easy it is to incite people to forget everything humane and act as demons, what scares you is the way people can be driven to lose every shred of decency.. what scares you is that in these women they rape and mutilate not one sees his own wife or daughter, what scares you is that this was done by those who pretend worshipping women deities..

French blog:

for an affectionate but truthful look at India, visit\n
“,1] ); //–>

Today a painter is taken to task for disrobing an image that is held in respect, but the same people disrobed many women without batting an eye lid..

I will not even delve into the severed limbs, or bodies thrown live into pyres.. Bunsha’s book brings to light the frightening reality of how easy it is to get people to act in such horrific ways.. then the cover ups, the gloating as perpetrators roam free and victims skunk..

The most touching story was perhaps that of bilkis.. many times told but in bunsha’s simple and denuded prose it strikes a chord even in the most insensitive person: she saw her whole family being raped, killed and burnt.. she too was raped though pregnant.. she passed out and her tormentors thinking her dead left her there.. she lived to tell her story..

For months and months no one heard her but she did not give up in spite of living amidst her gloating tormentors.. but she had to carry on even if only to explain why she still lived.. will bilkis bring the guilty to pay for their crimes is an open question but if they do are not then bilkis’s survival would have had no meaning..

Anouradha Bakshi


  1. People in power smirk at our opinions. Our polls. Our blogs. Our time-consuming but ultimately masturbatory attempts at making any kind of difference.
    I type these words knowing that a few people will read this piece, nod or shake their heads, but ultimately, nothing changes.
    We hear about the latest government outrage, we laugh, we call our politicians brain-less, crooks or fuck-pots and…. accomplish nothing.
    The tide of outrage seems too much at times.
    We drown in this cesspool of lies and deceit and, in the eyes of the world and ultimately history, we all stink of it because while we sat around, forwarded news stories and jokes, we ultimately did nothing.
    Twenty years from now, people will look at whatever passes for the internet, do searches, come across our words and wonder just what the hell we were doing while such momentous events were happening around us – Just the way, we wonder about Nero and his fiddle.
    Get your own answer ready, because you will be asked the same questions one day as well.
    Blogging is not enough.
    Forwarding news stories is not enough.
    Talk is an extremely cheap commodity.
    Words are not enough.
    I have no answer beyond knowing that this is accomplishing nothing.
    One scholar remarked on the telly last night how we just don’t get mad any more..and I think he’s right…I want us to get mad. I don’t want us to protest, I don’t want us to riot, I don’t want us to write to your MP or to forward mails to each other, because I wouldn’t know what to write. I don’t know what to do about the depression, the inflation, the Bulls, the Bullshit or the crime in the streets. All I know is that first… We’ve got to get Mad!!!!

    Comment by Chameleon's Karma — April 8, 2006 @ 10:16 am | Reply

  2. Ck,

    You say

    “Blogging is not enough.
    Forwarding news stories is not enough.
    Talk is an extremely cheap commodity.
    Words are not enough.
    I have no answer beyond knowing that this is accomplishing nothing.”

    What would have happened if every single person who sent the Sms for Jessica thought this way, or those who lit a candle, or those who vote?

    Never underestimate the Power of One. It can achieve what a multitude cannot. Who is stopping you from raising your voice or reacting in any manner you deem fit to put across your solidarity to a cause? Today, the avenues for protest are available to the common man which a decade back were unimaginable.

    Change is not to be expected in a day. But if the quickness of results is going to be the deterrent then I am afraid that reeks of impetuosity and is not a reflection on whether or not things have the potential for change.

    If each of us decides not to tolerate a wrong happening directly in front of us, then that is all that is needed.

    I understand your angst. But you have to be patient and continue to do your bit.

    More importantly, encourage those who are doing theirs assiduously and focus on the positives.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — April 8, 2006 @ 11:38 am | Reply

  3. India has had a history of torment on the other side of the fence.One gujarat cannot wipe that out. Muslims have killed our families for generations. How can you forget that?

    Comment by Anonymous — April 8, 2006 @ 12:12 pm | Reply

  4. Kaveeta:
    The point that I was making was that ‘mere’ blogging, talking, etc. wasn’t enough. The reaction to the Jessica Lal made a difference because the common man got out of his Living room and Baristas and made his presence felt… even a hardened cynic like me went to light a candle… Its a moot question whether the reaction was a result of the media wars or a spontaneous combustion of the Janta’s anger?? After all, we did have Radio Mirchi organise the candle light protest at India Gate along with banners and buntings promoting it as a Radio Mirchi ‘event’!!! And the various News channels claiming it as their ‘Impact’!! Did Prannoy Roy take the petition to the President because he was genuinely concerned or did he go there to grab more eyeballs for his channel??
    Having said that, I will also admit that whatever the ends, it did serve to bring a sense of empowerment to the Indian Middle class rhinoceros. It would be interesting to see whether it actually snowballs into a movement that’ll change the system or whether it’ll peterdown to eyewashes and gets brushed under the carpet once media finds another issue!!
    I truly hope its the former!!


    Comment by Chameleon's Karma — April 8, 2006 @ 1:05 pm | Reply

  5. CK we sure need to take into account how anonymous feels about the whole thing.
    i wonder if you have read the play “Final Solutions” by mahesh dattani (easily available in any book store)…it is a little filmy play but it depicts how a mobster becomes that
    sure the play shows the journey of a muslim youth into being a rioter and back but beleive me the roles can be easily reversed to talk about a hindu youth instead.
    even about those saveindian family creeps (sorry!) we can’t ignore the venom they have for women or feminist…their How dare they has a lot of angst
    sure it’s not justified
    nothing in this world can justify what happened in any riots or any wars all over the world but we do need to listen
    there was a classmate’s motther who used to work with rapists and i used to scoff at it saying god, what is wrong with, sab ameer logo ke chonchle hai (, they just want to do anything ”
    now that i am older and meet men who are so angry with women and i realise that those men need to be heard too…
    and being mad is good as long as keeps the blood in your veins flowing but it should still be a sensitive madness…

    Comment by silbil — April 8, 2006 @ 1:29 pm | Reply

  6. Ck,

    Gaining of eyeballs syndrome that our channels are afflicted by cannot be wished away. If in the bargain we as a people end up having a free and fearless media, then its worth it I guess. Whether the awakening of the resurgent middle class will make a difference or not, is to my mind less important than the fact that the average man, leaving aside his hazaar problems stemming from corruption, apathetic civic officials, spiralling inflation, has decided to give attention to social issues. There is HOPE yet.

    And I dont think it is important to be out on the streets to prove your contribution. Sometimes its only when the peak of negativity has been reached does the need for positive re- affirmation arise. it is up to us in a way to ensure that the momentum does not slack. Your writing here is being read too ck, and I am sure you must have heard of the ‘ripple effect’. It is going to create the desired effect. Your concern shows. Your voice matters. So let us keep doing in all earnestness what we feel strongly about.

    I too was quite amazed at Anonymous, but not shocked. Have been in the blogosphere long enough to read divergent views and very strongly embedded ones as well. Each one of us is a product of his/her own circumstance. Therefore mind set is affected accordingly.

    Silbil..I agree. The point is that there are so many layers to any issue that seeing it from a 360 degree angle sometimes is the only sane and logical solution.

    i have been thinking a lot of this SIF issue . The point is a law like the 498a came into being out of necessity. can we negate the fact that women were/are being done to death and harassed for dowry? Daaughter-in-laws were made to face atrocities of various kinds all these years, unarguably. the lacunae in the legal system leaves room for misuse.

    But on cannot throw out the baby with the bath water. Misuse has to be restricted. I am sure men are being harassed as well. But it should not be a gender issue anymore.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — April 8, 2006 @ 2:14 pm | Reply

  7. CK,

    Why the disbelief?

    Are you implying that I am lying or that you are bad at history?

    All you can do is be a cynic..which means you have no opinion. I atleast have an opinion.

    Comment by Anonymous — April 8, 2006 @ 4:30 pm | Reply

  8. Anonymous,

    Write under your own name if you have the balls. Are you advocating violence of this kind? Who are you a stooge?

    Comment by sanjay — April 8, 2006 @ 4:54 pm | Reply

  9. Anonymous,

    That was pretty pathetic. Your stand.

    History should never be the cause for present atrocities or the reason to perpetuate them.

    to me the purpose of history is to learn from the mistakes of the past and endeavour attempts to a glorious future.

    How do you propose that can happen if retribution, for any reason, is adopted as our plan of action?

    The average man at the time in Gujarat was seething with anger..The land of vegetarianism and Gandhi had to witness a bloodbath of the kind is something we all need to condemn unanimously.

    Lets not make it worse.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — April 8, 2006 @ 5:01 pm | Reply

  10. Gee, wouldnt we love to hurl them into outer space instead!!

    Comment by Chameleon's Karma — April 8, 2006 @ 6:25 pm | Reply

  11. How I loved the timeliness of the copy paste!

    And Btw this wasn’t even an example of the nth category:)

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — April 8, 2006 @ 6:55 pm | Reply

  12. Political manipulations of religious sentiments is one thing, personal propensity to cruelty is another. I am talking on behalf the group, I heard is ‘creeps’ for some wordsmiths(those who havent got a chance to be in our situtaion), the SIF group.

    Let me clarify we are not creeps, just a bit frustrated to be pitting against the Indian Judiciary as a whole… day in and day out for years together, just on the words of some vengeful wives.
    Read for some idea of what I am talking about, this is a new member in SIF, if you want to read more(100s) real life blood curdling facts, you can read

    Comment by deeperUnderground — April 8, 2006 @ 6:56 pm | Reply

  13. I find myself wanting to hear you out Deep.

    What I find diffcult to imbibe is the onslaught of posts one is subjected to, without warning or invitation from your group SIF.

    If it can be a conversation which is reasonable, decent and progressive, one can endeavour to participate. But as you will appreciate I resent the unsavouriness of a situation where uncalled for generalisations against all women accredit abusive tone and language.

    If such be the case, and if other members cannot keep to the decorum of accepted behaviour, I will be forced to reject the comments and that will be the end of any dialogue.

    You seemed in sync with the tone of my blog and have therefore opted to speak to you. If you scroll lower down to my article ‘Throw Momma into jail”, You will see the remarks therein and gage the source of my comment.


    I am not available now for a couple of hours.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — April 8, 2006 @ 7:14 pm | Reply

  14. If SIF and the gang wants empathy, understanding and sensitivity spamming someone’s blog is hardly a reasonable way to do…
    and the action is creepy not the situation that you are in
    i am extremely sorry to say this but since i have sincerely read many of those posts is that the men there are amazed that they could be had and they could be cheated and supressed ….that is why the analogies to surpanakhas and the sitas…
    it’s like that chick who said after the 9/11 attacks we can’t walk around with bowed heads we are americans….
    that is what most of the posts that swaroop posts were saying
    but i am a man how can that happen to me
    you guys coulld have done it in a resposnible way but you chose differently and some of us choose to call you creeps
    nothing to do with your circumrsances friend just the way you guys behave

    Comment by silbil — April 8, 2006 @ 10:29 pm | Reply

  15. To the Sif Community,

    On an innoccuous comment by Silbil, where both she and me were pondering over your assertions and in fact sympathising with you, a post from Deep was received which I have published.

    There was no other way to exhibit my honesty and fairness in trying to understand the contention put forward by your group and I had donned my ‘reasonability cap’ to include you in my blog.

    But just as a leopard cannot change its spots, despite my warnings and requests to keep it rational and logical, name calling ought to be desisted at any cost, I have been receiving extremely ridiculous mails, threatening and abusing.




    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — April 9, 2006 @ 12:56 pm | Reply

  16. EEEks what the ‘F-U-C-K’ are the SIF doing out in this post.

    Don’t they have thier ‘F-C-K-I-N-G’ brains in the right place to logically think and conclude that if someone writes for women it does NOT imply that she is against men, or she wants to torture a man.

    What brainless M-O-T-H-E-R-F-U-C-K-I-N-G Idiots.


    Sorry for the use of profanity… because profanity is my only weapon against stupidity!

    Your post rocks.. .

    the only complaint from me is that i wished i knew how many women and men sufferend… rather than how many muslims, hindus etc etc died as reported by our biased media.

    Comment by laks — April 11, 2006 @ 9:34 am | Reply

  17. Laks,

    Yeah you are right..Totally..Emails continue and the absurdity is unimaginable..I refuse to relent.

    (resignedly) ..They just dont seem to get the point that its pointless.

    Btw..this post was written by anouradha bakshi

    I would choose to believe that the experience of this post and the comment section as a whole ‘rocks’..tee hee..Right?

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — April 11, 2006 @ 9:51 am | Reply

  18. Hi Kaveeta

    I can understand how you feel. Anything that is wirtten by a woman which may remotely sound feminist(though unintentional) is subjected to spam mails and unimaginable comments by them. Is it that they cant seem to digest that women may have thoughts and ideas of her own?

    I had to actually turn on comment moderation too inorder to prevent this.

    They descended in my blog and tried to insult my co-bloggers. U may check it out. Which post…its going to be obvious.

    Comment by Anushka — April 11, 2006 @ 10:32 am | Reply

  19. Hi Anushka,

    I checked out your blog..Their behaviour is a shame. Despicable and deplorable.

    they cannot judge themselves as is obvious, or else they would never have made a spectacle of them selves as they are doing now. They are misguided and leaderless.

    I, for one have decided not to relent.. I am not going to get cowed down.. let them keep sending the mails. I suggest that you forward it back to them or their cronies.. so they are being bombarded as well.

    If they choose to be in a lose -lose situation such as the type they have created on the net.. its their choice.

    Now when the shoe is on the other foot it hurts eh?

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — April 11, 2006 @ 10:53 am | Reply

  20. And anushka,

    I guess it didnt come out the way I would have liked it to. Dont worry, we will beat them at their ridiculous games.We are together in it now.

    what they have done is created a mass of people up in arms against them. If they only had some sense of reflection, they would analyse whether they have been successful in converting a single individual to their way of thinking??

    On the contrary have created a multitude of strangers into feeling animosity to their cause and their modus operandi.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — April 11, 2006 @ 11:06 am | Reply

  21. yes
    moderation on my blog is on and i am also going to write what all i feel strongly about…
    isn’t that what i started blogging for?
    don’t worry anushka i am also joining in…

    Comment by silbil — April 11, 2006 @ 12:16 pm | Reply

  22. Good silbil,

    Its amazing how they seem to be coming out of the woodwork..just mention SIf and some swarup or Sumanth will come with ‘feminazis’ or some such term.

    Hatred is one of the lowest forms of emotion possessed by man and their rampant and shameless display of it makes me wonder, how they were not responsible for their wives having left them in the first place..

    I cannot fathom why a woman who wants ‘money ‘from her husband will opt for this circuitous method of getting it through a divorce or 498a, if she could live with him instead.

    They have in the bargain exposed that as individuals, there was a lot wanting in them!

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — April 11, 2006 @ 3:30 pm | Reply

  23. so u are goung to form againt us. why do not u eat mangoes and gove order to u r servants. u women like to keep everyone has slaves and husbands too and treat all as servants.

    supranak alsyas keeps men as slaves and fools evertone.

    we will remove the poisnious teeth of all nagins like you and keep as our pets.

    Comment by Anonymous — April 11, 2006 @ 9:51 pm | Reply

  24. I am going to get your ip address traced and seek whatever legal aid available to put an end to this abuse once and for all.

    Comment by Kaveetaa Kaul — April 11, 2006 @ 9:57 pm | Reply

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