The Thomson Reuters Foundation survey, which says that India is the world’s most dangerous country for women, is an affront to common sense and reason. And yet, thanks to the depravity of our politicians, a bin of garbage and hogwash is talked about and the government is forced to react to it.
This is not to say that India is the paragon of gender justice and that discrimination against women has ceased to exist. But, at the same time, the conclusion that India is the most dangerous country for women is predicated upon absolute ignorance about the conditions in such countries as Afghanistan, Syria, Pakistan, Sudan, and Somalia. Even men are not safe in these and many other countries. For instance, over 5 million people had fled Syria by June last year. About 3.3 million people in South Sudan had been displaced by civil war. By the way, how many million women, and men, from India are seeking asylum in Europe and the US?
Yet, the poll of “global experts” picked up by the Thomson Reuters Foundation place India on top of the chart “due to the high risk of sexual violence and being forced into slave labor”. Interestingly, the foundation has not revealed their identity.
Let’s begin with sexual violence. In a population of one lakh, there are 5.7 rapes in India, while the corresponding number for the UK is 36.44 and the US, 35.85. But, the Thomson Reuters surveys, “The only Western nation in the top 10 was the United States, which ranked joint third when respondents were asked where women were most at risk of sexual violence, harassment, and being coerced into sex.”
Similarly, it is difficult to fathom which slave labour Thomson Reuters’ global experts are worried about. It is true that cases of trafficking, selling of women, etc., are often reported in India (as also elsewhere), but to confuse the scattered incidents of criminality with slavery is either folly or prejudice. The latter seems to be more likely, as we shall see.
What has bestowed the semblance of verisimilitude to this apology for a survey is the Congress’ attempt to derive political mileage from it. Party president Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “While our PM tiptoes around his garden making Yoga videos, India leads Afghanistan, Syria & Saudi Arabia in rape & violence against women. What a shame for our country!”
Notice the glee in his reaction. The Thomson Reuters Foundation wants to shame our country, and the top leader of the grand old party joins in the fun—or what he regards as fun. But then he is following in the footsteps of the Bharatiya Janata Party.
On 9 February 2013, Amit Malviya, who is now the BJP’s national social media chief, had gloated, “The world’s most dangerous countries for women http://zite.to/WAAT6x . We seems (sic) to be in some great company ! Shame.” He was referring to the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s 2011 survey that had declared India to be fourth most dangerous country for women.
The latest survey, of course, is trash, Malviya says. He tweeted, “Perception of 548 anonymous individuals is being used to brand India as a country unsafe for women notwithstanding data. I can imagine that Thomson Reuters may have an agenda but what is Rahul Gandhi’s stake in belittling India?”
The truth is that both Congress and BJP leaders are belittling India, for the belittling happens whenever any of them accepts the survey, or even part of it, as creditable. But such is the frenzy to score brownie points that none of them are willing to pause for awhile and ponder over the repercussions of their deplorable remarks.
Meanwhile, the institutions infested by pinkish intellectuals continue to slam India. The Thomson Reuters Foundation wrote about its survey: “We wanted to find out whether more was being done to address the overall risks faced by women, and specifically regarding healthcare, access to economic resources, customary practices, sexual violence, non-sexual violence and human trafficking. We expanded our poll to the 10 most dangerous countries with some surprising results.” The most surprising being that India lords over in the hall of shame.
In my last article, MEA must move beyond Nehruvian past on the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights’ tendentious report on Kashmir, I wrote that “the UN relentlessly badgers democracies (especially Israel and the US), turns a blind eye to the worst human rights offenders like Saudi Arabia and China, and peddles moral equivalence.”
The Thomson Reuters Foundation’s global experts are also cut from the same cloth. They choose to turn a blind eye to the pathetic conditions of women in most Muslim countries—for instance, in Saudi Arabia women couldn’t drive a car till a few days ago; but they find everything wrong in India, the US, and other democracies. It is unfortunate that our political masters play into their hands.