Dr Alf has identified an intractable problem which is a legacy of India’s past and many of the semi-feudal attitudes that prevail with regard to the place of woman in society in southern Asia (India, Pakistan, Afghanistan).
These attitudes, including practices like arranged marriages, genital mutilation, bride burning and a failure to take rape seriously, are all part of a mindset.
A judge looks over papers pertaining to a rape case during a public criminal trial at the newly opened courthouse in Asadabad, Kunar Province, Afghanistan, on Monday, May 9, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
This is a thought process, deeply rooted in hypocrisy, double-think and crass stupidity, which elevates men and sees woman as chattels to be treated with disdain, contempt and disregard.
So whenever it suits husbands, wives have to be submissive and perform to order, and whenever it suits single men, any woman they find has to perform to order or be forced to do so.
A change in these deeply rooted attitudes would normally take generations to effect but India cannot afford them if it expects businesses and Sovereign wealth funds to invest there, as their new leader Mr Modi says he wants.
Root and branch reform of the court system, the judiciary and the police would be a start, combined with draconian penalties for rape.
India has grinding poverty juxtaposed with wealth beyond the dreams of avarice.
The gap has to be narrowed so that the poorest have basic sanitation and toilets so that woman from poor areas or of “lower caste” can perform their daily ablutions and toileting functions in private, rather than in fields where they can become easy prey for immoral, testosterone fueled young men.
Longer term, there probably needs to be a process of education focused on the young, combined with Equality laws of the kind that even Kenya is looking at, as a precursor to realizing their 2030 Vision and as a way of molifying the IMF’s Christine Lagarde, who read the Kenyans the riot act, regarding her conditions for providing more IMF funding.
The Equality laws need to have teeth and businesses which do not “get with the program” need to be heavily fined and the directors personally surcharged.
We in the West can exert quiet pressure by investing our money in those areas of countries which have a better record than India, by stopping all overseas aid to that country until it mends its ways.
We should tell Mr Modi, very quietly and behind closed doors, what we would like his approach to be and then inform our actions based on his.