The writer of the email below is a woman in her fifties, a westerner and for some years a tour guide in India, who is highly regarded for her rare integrity and decency. She used to aid me in sourcing CD’s when I was a community broadcaster dealing with world music and social justice issues.
Her email is worth reading with the heart, more than with the eyes and mind. Increasingly India – having profoundly alienated herself from her good self – is fast alienating herself from the rest of the world.
I never knew of a country more prone to sermons than India. Daily, in endless venues, from small temples to vast arenas, and on radio and television and in the newspapers, pundits rattle on about ‘the dharma’. About being truthful and righteous and compassionate and peaceful and non-violent. But one example of duplicity on a giant scale has been the Sathya Sai cult core leaders’ decades of cover up of murders and sexual and other abuses. Again – vast amounts of preaching, and of a robed but tumid underbelly of vile and hypocritical evil.
A constant Hindu Indian theme is fearlessness. Excellent! – when practised. But – in the so-called ‘eternal Bharat’ – the only thing that is eternal about all this is the hypocrisy. Those without brain or conscience denounce as “India bashers” writers about India who mention the endless institutional corruption and vast organs of State suppression and crass inaction, and so on .
In fact, many times, this blogsite pays great tribute to those few Indian people and groups who, most courageously and at great cost of danger and suffering to themselves, speak out and do their best to stop the incredible social inequalities in that land.
It is significant that the recent Delhi rape case prompted public protests – an increasing phenomena in an India where the people at large, like those in the Occupy movement in the West, become ever more informed and ever more angry at government and corporate corruption – angry enough to begin to do something about it.
Here is the email:
I am in India until tomorrow, and over the last 8 weeks of my trip I have felt sickened by all the hideous reports of the Delhi rape case. There is now – what has been so often suppressed in India – an incredible daily tally of reports of rape, murder, incest with girls as young as 3 years old. A large majority of the reports cite victims’ ages between 7 – 11 in age – like what we hear reported in the West.- similar to reports in the West. I myself was molested from 7 to 12 years old by a family friend.
I am sure this has been going on forever here, but the Delhi case has somehow got out to the world and brought a damning spotlight on India. The Indian media is now reporting countless incidents.
You know how much I love my beloved India and have spent 2-5 months every year there for 10 years. But this year I have become quite frightened of this potential for rape and violence and have changed a lot of my habits of movement around India. I am inside by dark, never alone, dress VERY modestly, not trusting anyone new. I am so unlike my usual courageous, fearless self!
I had already decided to make this my last year for taking a tour and retiring as a tour guide. I am so sickened by these horrible events that it has tainted my feelings about India, and now I feel that I will not return for several years until I can travel in trusted company.
The corruption at all levels of Indian society is the other thing I hate, and I agree with your excellent blog that the buck stops with politicians and powerful institutions. You also mention India’s often incredibly inept and chauvinistic police force.
I am feeling so sad to be feeling like this, and I understand how sickened you would have been to find out the awful truth of Sathya Sai Baba’s perverse inclinations. But Barry, we are light bearers of the truth, and with God’s grace we can use our abilities to work against such evils and to make accountable the perpetrators and those who hide them or stand by and do nothing.
Keep up the good work, Barry.
Lots of love
Posted by Barry Pittard on January 7, 2013
Posted by robertpriddy on January 5, 2013