Delhi gang rape and the unanswered questions

Published: December 21, 2012

One of the biggest failures of the modern society is its inability in making the world a safer place for women folk. Rapes, molestations, harassment at home and work know no territorial or cultural boundaries. PHOTO: AFP

A 23-year-old paramedical student, along with her male friend goes out for a movie on a leisurely Sunday evening (December 16, 2012) in South Delhi (arguably, one of the most “posh” areas of New Delhi, and therefore ,the safest.) They come out at around 8:30pm from the theatre, take an auto till Munirka (another posh locality.) While they look for another auto to take the girl home, a private bus stops by. The driver asks them where they are headed to and says that he is going in the same direction. The unsuspecting duo board the bus.

There are various versions of what happened next.

I will skip to the part which puts the entire humanity to shame and makes seasoned terrorists look like saints. Six people – the driver and his five friends beat up the guy. When the girl tries to defend him, they beat her mercilessly,  rape her one by one for hours and finish their abominable act by assaulting the poor girl’s private parts with an iron rod, leaving her ribs broken and her intestine so badly damaged that the doctors have had to cut it out as it had turned gangrenous.

They then dumped the duo, almost naked on a busy flyover, bleeding and shivering in Delhi’s December cold. All this happened while the bus drove for maybe an hour or so, through one of the most ‘secure, influential’ localities of New Delhi. Three PCR vans with nine police personnel didn’t find it even a little strange as to why the bus took several U-turns around the same road.

The battered duo lay on the flyover for almost an hour. No motorist cared/dared to help them. After all, it’s Delhi, where many thieves play such ‘pranks’ on the road to loot the innocent motorists.

The typical police arrived typically late, took the boy and the girl to hospital and issued the typical response-“We will nab the culprits.”

The girl has passed into coma six times and she is not yet out of danger.

Five of the six accused have been arrested. Sonia Gandhi has visited the victim while Delhi’s chief minister, Sheila Dixit has assured to take strict action against the guilty.

The response:

There is a huge outcry In Delhi and other major Indian cities.  Candle light marches, rallies and placards have sprung up. Facebook and Twitter is abuzz with demands of ‘public stoning, hanging and castration of the rapists’.

The parliament was rocked on this issue with MPs demanding the strictest possible punishment and also questioning Delhi government’s commitment to make women of the city feel safe.

Delhi police has promised to crack down on vehicles with tinted glasses.

Today, while on my way to office, I could clearly see the increased police presence on the roads.

Now, the questions: 

Do you really believe this incident will change anything?

This isn’t the first rape case in Delhi. The capital city has been infamously dubbed as the rape capital of India. With the kind of shoddy police work you see around here, this sadly won’t be the last one. I won’t talk about the government’s commitment and opposition’s demands. I know you have better ways to waste your time. When someone puts his status update as-“There are only two women safe in Delhi- Sonia Gandhi and Sheila Dixit.”, you know it’s not a joke, but a frightening truth.

But, what’s more frightening is our well-rehearsed response. Every time a tragedy strikes, there are candle light marches, shouts of “Hang ‘em”, TV discussions, blog posts, and heated discussions at the chai (tea) shop. A few days of heightened security and then, back to square one.

How about we do something different this time around? How about instead of looking for solutions outside, we look inwards for problems?

I ask all those motorists who are braving the cold at India Gate shouting slogans in support of capital punishment, “Would you have picked up that naked girl and the bleeding boy that Sunday night?”

I dare them to reply in affirmative.

First, the fear of getting robbed by a con, second the fear of being questioned and harassed by the police, and third, the tension of answering hospital queries and filling forms. If a hundred cars passed without helping those poor kids, don’t try to fool yourself by believing that you would have done something different.

I ask the policemen sitting in those PCR vans,

“What does the government pay you for?”

At times, it’s hard to believe that those fat bellied constables and insanely haughty officers had once taken an oath to serve this country. People have accepted that bribe is a perk that comes with most government jobs. Nobody bats an eyelid when the ‘poor’ traffic constable makes a few extra bucks on the chilly winter evening. But is it too much to ask for to perform their most basic duty-being attentive? Any man with an IQ of a 12-year-old would have found the activities of that tinted glassed private bus suspicious, but not our trained policemen.

I ask all the men, What have the womenfolk done to deserve such atrocities all over the world at our hands?  Why are we so unfair to half of the humankind? When and how did they wrong us? What right do we have to subjugate and punish them for our mental sickness and false chauvinism? “How zealous are we in punishing and killing those who disrespect our God or country. How shameless are we when we shoot a 15-year-old for wanting to study or rape a 23-year-old who is studying miles away from home, in hope that someday, she can support her old parents and finance her brother’s education.

It’s not Islam or Hinduism, but the entire womenfolk that is in danger. They care for us; they listen to our rants, bear our kids, and even earn their own bread to ease our financial burden.

And what do we offer them in return? We decide what they should wear, who they should talk to, in fact, whom they should vote for!

One of the biggest failures of the modern society is its inability in making the world a safer place for women folk. Rapes, molestations, harassment at home and work know no territorial or cultural boundaries. While the guilty of such crimes should be handed out the severest punishment, let’s not evade the bigger question – ‘why have women been so marginalised and exploited and what should be done to change the mentality of men?’

I find myself incapable of a perfect answer to this question. I feel there is no single perfect answer. Therefore, I turn to you, I turn to us. Together, can we find the reason? Can we find the answers?

Read more by Kunal here, or follow him on Twitter @kunal_anand1

Kunal Anand

Kunal Anand

An IT engineer by profession and a writer by choice, Kunal tweets as @kunal_anand1

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • The K

    Societies can not survive in injustice…Recommend

  • Rana

    The most horrible gang rape case ever! Usage of drugs, excessive drinking, adoption of western culture, abolition of capital punishment & free excess to adult / pornographic stuff are immediate reasons to transform a common person into cannibalism and a monster which can go to the level where there are no limits to commits heinous act like these. My best wishes for the victim and her family. I wish she may recover like Malala!!! Recommend

  • Fatima

    Excellent! Happy to see a man reflect on his kind. It’s a cruel fact that violence against women knows no boundaries of age, nationality, colour, race, status or religion :'(Recommend

  • ahad

    excellent post. tough questions that we need to ask ourselves, everywhere.Recommend

  • faisal karim

    there is a famous couplet in urdu which goes like this “men kis k hath p apna lahu talash karun <> tamam sheher ne pehne hue hen dastaane” which means where to find my blood stains <> whole city wears gloves!
    yes the girl is alive, and is fighting it out in safdurjang hospital, what worries me is, what will be her morale after she hopefuly by the Grace of God recovers. Will she be able to live a normal life? will the society accept her? will she feel safe to walk on delhi roads.. again?
    Baal thakrey in his interview to us (GEO NEWS) replied to a question regarding india n pakistan relations said ” i dnt knw how to describe the realtion btw the two countries, for me they r twins, dnt knw how to segregate them” yes we r still twins, as on this side of border we rape an innocent girl, on the other we open fire on women carrying out polio campaign …. now thts identical twins for you!
    all my prayers, all my wishes are for the 23 years old sis, i cnt imagine wht pain she is going through.. its painful… dreadful!Recommend

  • J.K

    That is just sad.Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk


    The most horrible gang rape case ever!
    Usage of drugs, excessive drinking,
    adoption of western culture, abolition
    of capital punishment & free excess to
    adult / pornographic stuff

    The “westerners” I have worked with are knowledgeable, civilized, helpful, disciplined, punctual and hard-working people. Why doesn’t one learn these positive characteristics from them?
    Truth is there is no evil outside of one’s self. Don’t blame west or satan or the satanic west for one’s own and one’s society’s faults.Recommend

  • Girish

    Delhi is really not a safe place for women and not from now on but from several years. And Delhi government has failed always of its duty towards its Civilians. I am from Mumbai and I myself had been in Delhi for a few days on a business trip 2 years back and I felt the same insecurity, especially in Gudgaon. The real problem is our Politicians I will say. Yesterday I read a news stating 60% of Mumbai Police on duty are for the security of Politicians and Big figures in Mumbai, and 40% are for Aam Aadmi. I am afraid if my country is going to become next Syria/Egypt. Recommend

  • pankaj

    @Yuri Kondratyuk:
    A valid point. Its all about taking the good and discarding the bad things from every cultureRecommend

  • sattar rind

    its horrible and painful. Recommend

  • Parvez

    I have heard that Mumbai is a far safer city than Delhi…….is this true ? ……..if so then why?
    More policing and stronger laws are necessary deterrents but crimes like these are a result of something being wrong in societies thinking patterns. Correcting this, with recommendations for implementation to the government, is the job of experts and I do think no quick or easy fix will work.Recommend


    Stop creating false sense of poshness…. when did the bastion of Jat Tokas’s and Gujjar Yadav’s, Munirka become a posh place? Hype too much, maybe?
    And why are you bringing in the Hinduism and Islam equation?


  • keshav Jha

    These are the Questions that could not be taught in school or colleges … These are something which comes from the individual’s upbringing and character … These cannibals are not human .. They are one mentally sick monsters who are set free in society .
    but another Question is why it”s only Delhi which has such bastards? Doesn’t it reflect on something… The Power and the Security that a criminal feels or probably has out there … The Power of High Profile people and incapability of Police which dominates the city and guides these criminals …
    How can be police be so inefficient that they cannot track 6 common people? How can they be so ignorant that they didn’t notice whats happening inside a Bus going around the Posh areas of Delhi with Lights off ?
    I don know how to save half of the human race but to save those who live in India … A Rule should be passed … CUT RAPIST PRIVATE PARTS IN PUBLIC … let them feel how it feels to be a weaker sex … or incapable of anything …Recommend

  • ss

    It’s not Islam or Hinduism, but the entire womenfolk that is in danger. They care for us; they listen to our rants, bear our kids, and even earn their own bread to ease our financial burden.

    And what do we offer them in return? We decide what they should wear, who they should talk to, in fact, whom they should vote for!

    So true!!!!Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk


    I have heard that Mumbai is a far
    safer city than Delhi…….is this true ?
    ……..if so then why?

    Mumbai used to have very high crime rate in 80’s . But, sometime in 90’s police started to pick up criminals and shoot them dead.Recommend

  • Python


    Usage of drugs, excessive drinking, adoption of western culture, abolition of capital punishment & free excess to adult / pornographic stuff are immediate reasons to transform a common person into cannibalism and a monster which can go to the level where there are no limits to commits heinous act like these. My best wishes for the victim and her family. I wish she may recover like Malala!!!

    So here is a person who is blaming all the ills on the imaginary bogeyman ‘western culture’.
    The same western values are responsible for the increased value of women in our society.But alas,you will not see that!

    Drugs & murder are as much prevalent in backward “traditional” villages as in cities,even I will say that its 5x more prevalent!

    Pornography on the other hand doesn’t lead to increase in rape as studies prove!

    Learn good things from the west and don’t blame the ills in one self on someone else.Realize that whatever positive or negative values you imbibe from someones else is under you control,it is ultimately you who decides what values to follow.Recommend

  • Girish


    Yes Mumbai is much safer than Delhi. Women here travel late night also. You will find at least one Police Constable in Ladies Compartment of Local Trains. And why Delhi is not Safer? Because all big Goons (Politicians) from all parts of our Country live in Delhi. Its our capital city. In Delhi you will often here things like “Tu Janta hai mein kaun hun” like that.

    Author has made a valid point. How we as men have given the respect, the rights women deserve? How many of such a crimes are registered? And what about domestic violence? In a family, Wife is always considered subordinate to her husband. And we proudly call her in our culture as Ardhangini (technical meaning- Half of the Body). But sad to say, this problem is not with only one country but in a whole world.

    Materialistic modernization is not going to work, we have to make our minds, our souls modern. Then only these kind of this will stop.Recommend

  • Girish

    @Yuri Kondratyuk

    Yes, in 80s, Underworld was on its peak in Mumbai. But then in 90s started the encounter killings by Police, because of that many Underworld Dons had to fly from Mumbai somewhere else. But it is said that they are still active. But the Crime rate was lowered. But in last few years, it is raising again I think. I am not with any Political party, but frankly speaking, wherever Congress is ruling, there are Problems. Recommend

  • Working Woman

    Tooo SadRecommend

  • Rana

    @Yuri Kondratyuk:

    Western culture is one of the reason that provokes the evil and Satan to come out of us. Crimes like rape & gang rape exists from ages, but case we are talking about is worst to mention. I don’t know but still believes that culprits involved in the particular case might be found adequately westernized. In my post, I haven’t blamed the western culture alone but it definitely contributes at lot, still have no reasons to praise it and need not mentioned what kind of evils & damages it brought to us.

    I haven’t any intention to offend anyone’s feeling, perhaps! I pray for the girl and hope the criminal got maximum punishment.Recommend

  • Asjad


  • Rana


    Drugs & murder are as much prevalent in backward “traditional” villages as in cities,even I will say that its 5x more prevalent!
    Pornography on the other hand doesn’t lead to increase in rape as studies prove!

    I don’t know which race or culture you belong to but your post clearly states which kind of education and research you believe in and that’s what my point is all about. Can you bring forth a single case of traditional village life rape cases resembling this one?Recommend

  • Some One

    @keshav Jha:

    I agreeRecommend

  • Gratgy


    Are you inferring that rapes did not happen before the western influence on the subcontinent?

    Rapes are rarely for sexual pleasure, it is an exhibition of dominance and power and nothing to do with western civilization. A girl might get raped even if she is wearing a burkha just because the guy wanted to “teach” her a lesson or revel in a psychopathic high of the feeling of dominance over the victim. Men and women can both be raped

    For your information Chengiz khan is reputed to hold the world record on rape.Recommend

  • Vishnu Dutta

    Its a social shame for us to have treated a girl and boy in worst possible manner. It will be a shame on govt, police and judiciary if she doesnt get justice.
    but in my opinion its not a national shame as the nation responded loud and clear against this incident. After anna hazare’s drive against corruption, the entire billion strong nation came out in her support.
    Only if we can use this initiative to make a permanent change and make our big cities safer for females, poor people and tourists.Recommend

  • Sivakasi

    There is one permanent solution to reducing crime in India.

    Throw out all Biharis and UP people. That will reduce the crime in Indian cities by 50%.Recommend

  • Vanita

    the issue is so deep seated, so much a part of our system that its tough to ask for changes so soon, changes that will be felt as of today. in a country where the girl child is killed even before she can open her eyes to the world she is born in, what can you expect. women face discrimination and violence right from birth, be it in female-infanticide, dowry death, violence in marriage and it carries on….everyone is responsible, be it the family that wants a boy child, the husband who beats her, the shameful display in hindi movies and mindless use of women in ads, women are exploited every day. the message men get is- she is an object, use her, abuse her, she does not matter… the thinking has to change, strict laws wont solve the problem.Recommend

  • Steve
  • Girish


    Yes we know that in most of the crimes there is involvement of people from UP and Bihar, we ourselves are facing it in Mumbai, but the solution you are proposing is not practical. They are as much Indian as me and you are.Recommend

  • Girish


    Truly agree with you Recommend

  • Sudheer

    I have heard that Mumbai is a far safer city than Delhi…….is this true ? ……..if so then why?
    Yes, it is true, not only Mumbai but, almost all other major cities of India are far more safer for women than Delhi. I live in Hyderabad(A.P) and the nature of my job led me to major cities of the country except east and far-eastern ones. On many a times women(colleagues or close relatives) accompanied me to different cities. They did not face any harassment in other cities, except Delhi. And you have asked a very valid question, why? Answer is not easy, but, let me try. Perhaps it has got something to do with local culture. Generally speaking western and south Indian men are much more respectful towards women compared to their northern counterparts. Tendency to see women as sex objects is much more prevalent in north than in south or west. The reason for this attitude, perhaps, is hidden in the history. North India(including today’s Pakistan), repeatedly faced foreign invaders like Greeks, Huns, Arabs, Mongols, Turks etc.. Naturally, northern women fell victims to invading hordes. This might have made an impact the collective psych of northern men, making them more possessive of women.
    South, relatively, remained free of major genocides, massacres, mass enslavement etc., allowing local men to adopt a more liberal attitude towards their women, which reflects in today’s south and west Indian local culture.
    I may be wrong, but, I don’t find any other explanation for rather aggressive behavior of the north Indian men.Recommend

  • pravalika

    Why cant those bas**** can be hanged immdly,when all the things are in front of whole India.Girl u should be alive to see them being hanged.God Bless u………Recommend

  • pravalika

    Hello sir,thanks for posting it till now my comments dint reach any ears,hats off to u manRecommend

  • geriatrix

    Instead of these hyper-emotive comments , could we not, please , stick to the question :
    “—why have women been so marginalised and exploited and what should be done to change the mentality of men?’”Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk

    I think you pretty much nailed it.
    People generally imitate a conqueror’s traits. You just need to observe the lust and greed sub-continent Indians have for white skin. In fact so many times I have seen Pakistanis comment that they are superior to Indians as they have fairer skin and are taller!
    Exploring further, most of the countries that converted to Islam in its second wave of expansion are often insecure of their own roots, bigoted, bullying and violent, especially against non-muslims. They are actually mirroring the behavior of invading muslim armies. On the other hand, the countries that were assimilated in the first wave of Islamic expansion like Persia (over quite a few centuries) are sure and confident of their own cultural legacy. Persians are in fact at logger heads with Arabs who in the past invaded them. On the other hand, Pakistanis slavishly imitate Arabs and eagerly wait for a hint of approval from them.Recommend

  • Sarcastic

    Shining India.Recommend

  • Philosiraptor

    So shariah punishment of rapist in secular India.Recommend

  • Anjali

    Girls are ever never safe anywhere. Recommend

  • jemmie

    Too sad. Are these called humans…..”a social animal”. This would definitely repeated until strict laws are not made. The only two ways I think are to put fear in mind of such demons by strict laws and making women more strong and secure by making self defence techniques compulsory for girls right from school education.Recommend

  • Jaydeep

    The incident is sad.

    But it is not a case of men v/s women as the author wants to portray.

    The average man is neither a privileged person nor is he an abuser of women. Similarly the average woman is neither a paragon of virtue nor is she a perpetual victim.

    I don’t know how the author treats the women in his family but I feel most men are protective about the women in their family. And this is in a traditional household where the man is the head of the household.

    A traditional patriarchal society does not encourage mistreatment or abuse of women. In strictly traditional families, the men are usually very protective of their women.

    Rape has nothing to do with subservience of women towards men. It is by definition forcible sex. And it could be done by a perpetrator for a variety of reasons.

    It could be that the perpetrator is a lunatic. Or it could be that he wanted some kind of revenge on that woman. Or it could be that the perpetrator just felt sexually attracted to the victim. There are many possible reasons.

    It has got nothing to do with the average man having low opinion of women. There are far more brutal cases of murder where men have chopped the bodies of their fellow men into pieces. Does anyone remember the case of Neeraj Grover ? Why does the media not talk about such acts of monstrosity ?

    Such incidents reflect the alarming presence of bestiality in our midst that can make victim of any unsuspecting person, man or woman. It reflects the breakdown of moral values & lack of fear amongst those who break the moral code with impunity.

    Let us not take this incident as an opportunity to demonise all men. It is disgusting to see the kind of self-loathing men like this author have. Why are so many men today so ready & eager to bad mouth their own gender ? Such men are surely not what a vibrant society requires.Recommend

  • Meher Jabeen

    I feel sorry for this innocent soul. All the time I remember her, and I can feel her pain. Whenever, I imagine how she has been physically tortured I just feel like this might has happened with me. May Allah give her a good health. It is true women are not safe anywhere, whether its Pakistan, India, or any other country. Such brutality need to be stopped otherwise this earth will turn into hell. I love this blog.Recommend

  • Midhat

    This was not an isolated case! Heard on NPR Washignton News that there are total of 24,000 reported cases of rapes in Dehli, 500 just in one year (2010) and a total of 40,000 cases all over India pending in Courts, and these are just the ones reported! Very alarming !! We keep blaming West for a culture of objectifying women but this reveals the type of grusome mindset we have towards our women! About time we reflect uoon our society. Also, our politicians should stop treating these as isolated cases and do some severe policy making.! .
    Literally Grossed out!Recommend

  • Amna

    I pray to Allah for this brave girl’s speedy recovery Ameen and I pray when she wakes up may Allah help and guide her so she could fight for justice. I plea to all Indians do not forget about this issue you all have to support this brave girl until justice is served. If I was an Indian national I would demand a public slaughter of these criminals. I watch Crime Petrol a criminal reenactment show and I am really shocked by knowing rape is a common issue in India, women are not treated nicely in India. As a girl I feel safe in Pakistan by the grace of Allah we don’t have such issues in Pakistan men here only gazes at women and that gaze is equal to rape too but at least I am happy that it doesn’t happen physically. I would like to tell my Indian friends in Pakistan if a man tries to dishonor woman in public and she complains about it to public the man gets PUBLIC BEATING for real. I am glad most men in Pakistan are kind towards women, however we do have problems in Pakistan but if we compare it to India, this part of the society is much nicer and safe for women. Anyways all of my best wishes and prayers for this girl and her friend. Recommend

  • Sudheer

    @Yuri Kondratyuk,
    Thank you buddy, I really feel grateful to you for responding approvingly to my comment. I was really feeling a little rattled after posting my comment as it contained a historic reasoning/narration which could be taken as an offense by the north Indian brothers. All I wanted to do was to answer Mr.Parvez’s valid question honestly and went on to do it purely relying on my experiences and instincts, rather than using my “scholarly knowledge”, which I don’t think, I possess any.
    Thanks again for your kind words, bye.Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    Is it racist to ask the question, how come the woman subjected to the barbaric act happens to be a muslim and the perpatrators infidel hindus, the non-believers whose culture has never granted equal status to women in the family, on the contrary they were condemned to be buried alive with the dead body of their husbands. Sati is the name of the honour which Hindu Pundits called it. It was banned forcefuly by the moghul monarchs in India.

    635 rapes in the capital town of the country in 2012. Sonia Gandhi is a christian, and believes in the commanments of God! She must take the courage to come out publicly against the footprints of Hinduism, which does not recognise any morals or ethics.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Amna

    @ Yuri Kondratyuk
    I second you, Mothers are always looking for a fair, skinny, tall, long hair chand si baho while their son resembles a skunk. I think its in our blood to comment on people oh look at that girl she is so dark, or live a complex life oh I will not wear this color I look dark in it, am I looking too dark?
    There is no doubt Pakistani’s are taller and have fair skin but does that mean fair skin is a ticket to hollywood or bollywood or they are superior to any other man kind who isn’t fair? I mean who came up with this beauty concept? I am tall and fair but for me beauty is in wheatish complexion. Recommend

  • gp65

    @Parvez: “I have heard that Mumbai is a far safer city than Delhi…….is this true ?”

    IT is true. In fact cities in Western Southern and Eastern India (Ahmedabad, Baroda, Mumbai, Pune, Bangalore, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata) are safer than most Northern cities in UP,Bihar and ofcourse Delhi. A large part of that is culture of these cities, not really the policing. There is much less eve teasing and it is far more common sight to see unescorted women going about their business confidently on the road.

    Ofcourse what has been done in Delhi and these Northern cities is train police in sensitivity so that they handle cases of violence on women whether it is rape, dowry related or domestic violence of some kind professionally and with sensitivity. The training is helping to push up the percentage of cases that result in sentencing of culprit. But unfortunatyely, police cannot prevent these crimes – the most they can do is prosecute people after the fact and that is too late already. It takes years to change the culture of a place but that is what must be done. Recommend

  • Parvez

    @Sudheer and @Girish : Your reply and explanation appreciated.Recommend

  • gp65

    @Yuri Kondratyuk: “Mumbai used to have very high crime rate in 80′s . But, sometime in 90′s police started to pick up criminals and shoot them dead.”

    You are referring to extortion and gang wars which was high in 90s (ot 80s). But Mumbai was always safer for women compared to Delhi – much safer.Recommend

  • Ayesha Pervez

    Thank you for this blog Kunal … the description of the incident has shaken me to the core I cannot imagine what that girl must be going through… what did she ever do to deserve this?

    The following paragraph in your blog literally brought tears to me eyes:

    “I ask all the men, What have the womenfolk done to deserve such atrocities all over the world at our hands? Why are we so unfair to half of the humankind? When and how did they wrong us? What right do we have to subjugate and punish them for our mental sickness and false chauvinism? “How zealous are we in punishing and killing those who disrespect our God or country.”

    Well done and thank you.

    I wish the very best to the unfortunate victim.Recommend

  • Dr. Amyn Malik

    I will comment on the first question you ask.. why didn’t the motorists help the duo at the roadside. This phenomenon has been studied and noted elsewhere as well (recently when a person was pushed at the subway in New York) and is known as bystander apathy or pluralistic ignorance. It might have something to do with fear of being robbed by thieves playing a prank as you mention but is mostly due to the principle of social proof. People look at what others are doing in such a situation to gauge their own response and when they see others not doing anything they assume that these people know some thing that they don’t (for example someone has already called for the ambulance or police in this scenario) and hence they don’t initiate the action. The problem is that everyone is assuming this same thing and hence the pluralistic ignorance! Recommend

  • Ugly face of nation

    Thankyou for such an article! Its not just the common people but a lot of bureaucrats and politicians as well who indulge in molestation activities openly in moving trains as if they own every woman around….what do we do about them..??? .when people responsible for running the nation are such animals for whom every woman is a prey…talking about the common man doing any such stuff is out of question. Life imprisonment or a death sentence is too less a punishment for these hungry hounds, instead, their arms and legs should be chopped off and then they should be left to live….life is a bigger punishment than death!Recommend

  • Nobody

    I’m sorry but westernization has NOTHING to do with what happened here. I’m so sick of people blaming this behavior on the “evil” west. For starters at least perps are brought to justice when things like this happen more than they are in a lot of eastern countries. Second, the stigma does not fall on the victim in such cases as it does sometimes in the east.
    More to the point, this happened as a result of a number of things, and one of them is a simple and straightforward utter lack of respect and disregard for women (and humankind) in general. Stop dismissing bad behavior from eastern men as ‘western’ influence. Are you really so dense that you think eastern men are all angels by default and only capable of such heinous behavior influenced by their western counterparts???? You have GOT to be kidding me, Some of the most brutal crimes against women I only hear about happening in eastern cultures (killing baby girls, child brides, acid attacks, domestic abuse and marital rape dismissed as somewhat acceptable, rape being a woman’s fault, etc).

    @author and others:
    Sickening story! Heart goes out to the two victims and I wish them a speedy recovery and justice! Veryy well written piece and I’m quite impressed with the questions you asked. Lovely to see one of our male counterparts feel so strongly about crimes against women (and humanity in general). Recommend

  • anchor faisal karim

    I was coping with what happened here in Pakistan, more than 10 anti-polio campaign workers, many of them poor women, were killed in different cities in Pakistan. Suddenly Indian channels started flashing breaking news regarding Delhi gang rape incident, and from that day till this moment, I am following both the issues, rather comparing both of them.

    Victims of both incidents belonged to poor background. The polio workers used to work the whole day, and what they got in return, just Rs 250 per visit! One of the workers, on the day of her assassination, took her young daughter to work as well, so that they can gain Rs 250 more. On the other hand, I was going through some article in Indian news paper, which quoted that the girl’s parents used to eat salt and bread, and they even sold a small plot of land they owned, so that they can bear the education expenses of their daughter.

    Both cases tell us, that We, Pakistan and India, rather than fighting on petty issues, should make their respective piece of land a place safe for humanity! We are too much busy to over shadow each other, take charge in the region, We are involved in the dirty rat run, or say dirty rat marathon of supremacy over each other, meanwhile We forget that hundreds of children die starving, We forget that We are getting corrupt day by day, We forget that We are the nations getting fame for NO-SAFE WOMEN ZONE! We kill women on the basis of religion; we kill on Panchayat’s decision! Yet we chant MERA BHARAT MAHAAN, PAKISTAN ZINDABAD!Recommend

  • Rationalist

    I see the problem exist in the society transformation and moral generated in the generation during this evolution.We are constantly adapting the pseudo western culture and maintaining pseudo eastern culture and this led us in such a state that we leave positive of both and run towards the temptation so moral degradation is at all time high rate.Our culture believe sex as the higher form of love thus post marriage sex is common in our society while western culture see sex as physical compatibility in a relationship and so they prefer it before entering a serious bondage such as marriage. But we interpret that west is open and we should run for it converting our sexual desires into lust. The situation is intense and i don’t believe being facebook activist,criticizing the police ,the government or maintaining an attitude of forget the system will work anymore.(although it had never worked but just gave people a satisfaction that they are against the wrongdoing and are doing something for it).We should understand that there is something (or i should say everything) is wrong with this Society.The moral foundations are shacking. The rapists are people evolved from this society and at such high rates of rape in the city we cannot consider them psycho individuals.
    First problem is that we always ask questions to everyone and never try to find out a solution although our blog writer has shown you that typical Indian attitude.
    The solution is simple and believe me it works as i follow it;
    Please note: Next few lines are for wise people and if you end up thinking after reading them that what a parental speech that was then you are seriously a fool and you should change something in you.
    Appeal the people to maintain their moral not by taking posters on the road like be a man , true men respect women blah blah but small steps like your if your friend pass a vulgar comment kindly discourage him. If you are a girl and if some random guy passes you a comment like you are hot , sexy ,xyz at least don’t reply him back with a smile(no offense to the ladies but i have seem girls passing promoting smiles thinking this outlook really worked) or you give him a unpleasant look .There are hundreds of such things which you know deep down your heart are wrong but you do because your peer group think its cool or the girl next to you is impressed. In this whole showing off to society you really lose your morals and end up like a jerk who thinks he is cool. Please don’t do what you feel is wrong and discourage others to do so and you will find better people in your circle. These circles will merge together to create a cultured society.
    You can always bring a change around you if you tend towards it but keep one thing in mind that putting copied status on fb, shouting on the government during random things just to show how responsible and caring you are towards the society actually depicts you are an ignorant who is involved in deterioration of the moral foundations of society. Recommend

  • Sam

    your suggestions are good. may i add that one more important thing to do is increase awareness about crime against women and awaken the society(people around us,in our locality) about how inhuman a crime it is to rape/molest women? if we could kill the mentality that makes rapists,we wouldn’t have to kill rapistsRecommend

  • aks

    sadly, most of what you have said is true. Delhi is insensitive compared to other metros. instead of poiniting fingers at other states, Delhites must introspect. they should be a role model for entire countryRecommend

  • anchor faisal karim

    and now, there are two things to be noticed … and dealt with, first thing, how will the girl normalize. media civil society politicians every body, not forgetting the NGO’s, every body have to play a big big role in this issue! rehabilitation is the first thing, and for me it comes before penalization of the accused!
    second thing is reaching the root cause of the happening of such events. for such events not to occur again, a big surgery is required! debates on every forum, debates which includes doctors and psychologists and socialists and politicians and who ever is linked to such issues, not to forget victims and the accused as well!
    and for those people who are bringing islam or hinduism or any religion in the discussion above, please, try to understand, RAPISTS DON’T WORSHIP ANY GOD, THEY JUST WORSHIP LUST!Recommend

  • jazz

    @sivakasi : does anybody in show crime against women….baring Kerala the gender ratio is in red against women….widen your horizon…This is a society problem…and open the rape statiatics figure of UP , Bihar per thousand people and you will understand that it is lot less than certain cities..Recommend

  • aks

    @Rex Minor:
    get your facts right. the girl wasnt a muslim. and dont divert this discussion in wrong direction with your half baked knowledgeRecommend

  • Sane


    There is one permanent solution to reducing crime in India.
    Throw out all Biharis and UP people. That will reduce the crime in Indian cities by 50%.

    Why not Bihar and UP be liberated as independent countries. This is the best solution, isn’t it.Recommend

  • avinash dutt

    How can you blame bihari and U.P fr al thz? We r also shocked nd panic. Its the problem of all indian and women.. Recommend

  • Ugly face of nation

    @avinash dutt
    Totally agree with you, we can’t blame a particular region or state, its the overall mentality that exists in our society which needs to be changed. The women are still considered a downgrade no matter what caste, religion or creed. I am a UPite and a girl too, doesn’t mean I don’t have to face the sick mentality of the society. Recommend

  • jeevan chaudhari

    actually wat u have said is very correct, but we use to ask girl not to wear western dresses because , we want them safe and it should be a question in my mind from many years, why many girls love to show their body parts by adopting western culture????.
    may be you could answer this.
    and no doubt those bastards have done very heinous crime and there is only one possible solution “capital punishment”.Recommend

  • Ugly face of nation

    This point has been discussed zillion times when we want a girl to cover her body and not wear “provocative” attires. Instead of asking a girl to change her way of living can we please make an initiative to change the kind of thought process that exists in our society and is the biggest evil. And I’m sure girls wearing burkhas and suits are equally prone to such incidents as any other girl in a western attire.Recommend

  • Omair

    Crime like these have no religion or geo boundaries and I think there are black sheep in every community, my grasp over the state of affairs in our region is corruption amongst the government officials which is translated in to the actions of caretakers – the police. We have seen them doing their jobs at their best only when they are providing protocol to a politician and that’s it. Even in organizations with weak controls, infested with literates and liberals, you’d witness frauds and other crimes.
    So, the glitch that I found in Kunal’s piece is when he says that “They care for us; they listen to our rants, bear our kids, and even earn their own bread to ease our financial burden. And what do we offer them in return? We decide what they should wear, who they should talk to, in fact, whom they should vote for!”
    We would have to take precautions for ourselves in today’s era. Why can’t we ask our companions to do things which could possibly prevent or at least shrewdly reduce the chances of bringing harm?Recommend

  • Deendayal M.Lulla

    Do not bring any new law in a hurry,as it maygo onthelines of Setion 498(A) of the Indian Penal Code,under which many innocent husbands and the family members ae laguishing injails for no fault of their. Candle light vigils ,and otherforms of protests are just waste of time. Instead ,we should have a system,under which the public cangive suggestions onformulating laws to deal with sexual harassment of both the men and the women,keeping in mind that the new law does not become a tool for harrassment by the police to make quick money from innocent citizens. Bring pressure on the Parliament to amend/bring in new laws quickly. We have to blame the police,the judiciary,and the parliament for harassment of women. Blaming the police alone is not going to solve the problem. A smart lawyer for a fat fee will prove/disprove the case in a court of law,and the case will linger on for years together. if cases are prolonged in courts,make the judiciary also accountable. Taking self-precautions like shock pens,and chilly powder is a must. Women should learn martial arts.; Even men are subject to sexual harassment.

    The position of women in India,and elsewhere can be best summed as – Aurat ne janam diya mardon kon,mardon ne usse bazar diya; jab jee chaha ha,machla kuckhla,jab jee chaha dutkar diya. Tulti hai kahin dinaron mein,bikti hai kahin bararron mein,: nangi nachwaye jaati hai,aiyashon ke darbaron mein,; yeh woh beizzat cheez hai jo bant jaate hai izzatdaron mein (A woman gives birthto man,but men make women prostitutesl men just do not bother about women. A woman’s weighed in money,sold ,made to dance nude and respectable people want to divide women among themselves for pleasure). A girl is not safe even in her mother’s womb,as pregnant ladies are also raped.Recommend

  • ritu gupta

    a great great article…
    its indeed shocking and frightening that women are just not safe anywhere, not even in buses..AND WE CALL OURSELVES MODERN..!!!!
    Yes we are indeed modern if it means losing humanity and having absolutely no respect for the womenfolk.
    i fear what’s in store next..??!!
    and its not just the about inefficient govt.and police…its mostly about the insensitive US !!
    the writer is actually 100%right in questioning as to who would have actually escorted the duo to a hospital and undertaken all the trouble….being a part of candle marches is certainly not enough..
    WE need to change our attitude..
    ..we need to be a little more sensitive..a little more it too much ???? Recommend

  • Parvez

    @gp65: Thanks for that. Recommend

  • Imran

    But of course We have got to appreciate that bad thing is bad no matter when & where it happens. I have all the sympathies with the affected ones but this news has shown the other side of story that we happily ignore sometimes.Recommend

  • Cynical

    @Yuri Kondratyuk
    Thanks for your incisive posts.
    Great insight into the north Indian male psyche. I wonder, if it does influence his political inclination and/or economic outlook in any significant manner. Would appreciate your opinion, if you would like to share. Recommend

  • Prerna

    “Generally speaking western and south Indian men are much more respectful towards women compared to their northern counterparts. Tendency to see women as sex objects is much more prevalent in north than in south or west’

    Is that so?

    Could you then explain to me why Andhra Pradesh, the capital of which is Hyderabad, in the South leads the country in crimes against women?

  • Kiran

    This is the most horrific incident that can happen to a girl. What can we expect from this kind of a puppet Govt who cannot make any hardcore laws around this so that no one even in their wildest dreams can think of doing this.

    In my view hanging them would not solve the purpose but they should be given a punishment based on the practices in Saudi Arabia. Cut the parts with with they committed the crime. The culprits for the rest of their lives should repent for their heinous act.Recommend

  • women

    Thanks a lot for understanding women pain….Pls help us to grow with you men….Before doing some bad to women…Remember your mom also women…:(Recommend

  • Karan


    I live in Chandigarh, here even at night (11p.m or 1a.m) can roam freely, Chandigarh are not only very secured for women but also for north-east students.Recommend

  • kunal

    Police fires water cannons,beats up youngsters(including girls) at India Gate who were demanding justice for the rape victim and asking for stricter laws.Recommend

  • anwar suhail

    What westerners have to do with this. I have worked and lived their for years. Indeed they are better humans and better society. We are sufficiently self destructive, t need west’s help.
    We are classic example of ‘collective denial”.Recommend

  • anwar suhail

    I call it self delusion or perhaps simple naivety.Recommend

  • Sudheer

    I can’t say anything about economic outlook of north Indians, because that is an extremely complicated issue and you can’t arrive at a definite conclusion. However, political inclination can be traced back to the past to some extent. You will find that Hindu nationalism is much stronger in the north than in south. Resentment against Muslim rule has always been widespread in the north and with good reasons. Hindus of north suffered greatly first under Delhi Sultanate and later under Moguls. Although there was a respite during Akbar’s reign, but, that was brief. After Akbar, Mogul empire increasingly became intolerant and turned unbearable during Aurangzeb. Mercifully, south escaped the brutal era as it came under Moguls for a very brief period. The early Muslim rulers of the south were highly tolerant and the governors appointed by Moguls soon became independent and by and large, treated their Hindu subject fairly. That explains strong support for BJP in the north and its absence in the south. Though, in Karnataka the party is in power, but, for entirely different reasons. No regional party could take roots in the state and the only alternative to Congress was/is BJP. AP too would have gone Karnataka way, but, for N.T Rama Rao, the actor cum politician, who succeeded in launching a regional party, TDP in eighties.`
    As for Maharashtra, support for BJP shouldn’t come as surprise to anyone because state has traditionally been a bastion of Hindu nationalism. After all, contrary to the popular perception, it was Marathas who destroyed Moguls, not Britishers. It was here the revival of Hindu rule and nationalism began under the warrior king Shivaji. Soon Marathas brought whole of India under their sway. Pune became main center of power replacing Delhi and remained so for over a century.
    The above historical background partially explains political inclinations of some regions of India.Recommend

  • Sudheer

    Could you then explain to me why Andhra Pradesh, the capital of which is Hyderabad, in the South leads the country in crimes against women?
    Dear lady, please don’t take those reported figures seriously. The figures don’t represent the reality. In the third world countries, particularly in the sub-continent, most of the crimes against women, go unreported. The tragic thing is, if number of the cases registered is less, then, it may be indicative of worst state of women in the society! For example, population wise the ratio of rape cases is highest in the US and much lower in the countries like India and Pakistan.
    If those figures are taken at their face value, then, the US must be a hell for women and India or Pakistan should be a heaven for the good ladies!!Recommend

  • Mandeep Vaid

    @Rana: & Company

    Your impudent generalisation towards western cultures reflect your nationwide faulty

    education and a deep deficit of your own cultural and moral values. Recommend

  • Clear Black Bag

    This is the most worst face and live example of liberalism and freedom of expression in India because where freedom of expression and liberalism are unlimited and have free hands to do any things without any restrictions and limitations there such these types of mishaps are routine life’s matters because these are the harsh realities and truths mostly even every time we don’t see,face,realize,confess,acknowledge and admit that excess of any thing is always bad….Recommend

  • Ejaaz


    Well..mumbai is going the delhi way now. I am a native with generations having raised up in Maharashtra. Of late I see Mumbai turning into a northen city what with every third (and in some areas every second) person either from UP or Bihar or Jharkhand. These people instead of going a bit soft, are using the relative naivety of a typical local vis-a-vis their folks up north, are using that to Rob, con, molest..

    I see Mumbai turning into a Delhi in a few decades…as of late there have been a spike in the number of Molestations, rapes and the likes…and im not trying to brush all those from the North with the same color..but a very very high percentage of those involved (something like 60 to 70% it seems) are north Indian men…I hoped they would become more of like a typical mumbaikar..but no..lets not be naive…instead Mumbai seems to be turning into a Delhi or Sonepat not too far in timeRecommend

  • Anonymous

    I can bring forth a lot. If i may be bold enough to say, I am a victim of one such incident and I alone know how much it has affected me. I am very very much happy that i got out of that so called culturalistic blind faith small town and come to somewhere that i can breath without being prejudiced against. You speak so decent, answer one question of mine. Will you ever willingly marry a girl who has been sexually molested? Without as much as a frown? I know for a fact that a man who has a bit of westernisation in him will do it without as much as a glance back at her past. Again i talk from experience.
    My words may seem hypothetical to you but it will never hurt unless you’ve been struck with something as such.Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk


    Could you then explain to me why
    Andhra Pradesh, the capital of which
    is Hyderabad, in the South leads the
    country in crimes against women?

    I am only guessing but, the difference might be in the number of crimes that get reported in a police station. This year itself, there are two cases in North where rape victims were raped by cops (again). I believe sexual misconduct with “lower caste” women must be a regular feature in Khap-panchayat infested country-side and only now (due to ubiquity of media) they are getting reported.


    Random observation but, there isn’t one dark skinned male lead in Bollywood. Bipasha Basu broke the cliche for dark skinned female leads. But, now-a-days (sadly) I see her in whitish make-up.Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk


    I am tall and fair but for me beauty
    is in wheatish complexion

    I have seen so many prospective mothers-in-law go through hell to find “white” daughter-in-law and then sigh in private that wheatish complexion is so much more charming. And I kid you not! I might be peer pressure.Recommend

  • Lakshmipathy HC

    The Government of India as well as the State Goverments should have take remedial measures to frame strict legal policies on such incidents like in Delhi on 16 Dec 2012. Now a days there is no proper security for our Maa and Behanaas in our own land becuase governments have not taken any intersts to stop such incidents. I think the leaders who heading the Governament are mercyless and they have only interests on making properties and money. I requests the constitution of India on behalf of all our maa and behanas, please take necessary action to make such policies at the earliest so that such incidents can never take place in the future. Anyways all of my best wishes and prayers for this Behana and her friend. I pray the God almighty for her speedy recovery.Recommend

  • Prerna

    please don’t take those reported figures seriously. The figures don’t represent the reality. .

    @Yuri Kondratyuk:
    I am only guessing but, the difference might be in the number of crimes that get reported in a police station

    That lazy, predictable argument again, borrowed from the debates that compare India and the West when it comes to sexual violence .It definitely holds water there because in the West the definition of assault is different and the justice system is faster and less corrupt.

    If the South Indian woman is so empowered, why are the conviction rates for rape in South India so abysmal –Andhra Pradesh is tied with West Bengal at 13.7%, Karnatka is close with 15.4% ,Kerala is at 17.6 and Tamil Nadu is only marginally better at 25.4%. Maharashtra ,another place where the decent men live,has a conviction rate of 13.9%.

    And in case a woman is kidnapped in the South or in Maharashtra, her family members need not bother going to the police – the conviction rates don’t even get to double digits.

    That the South or the West of India is better for women is only a mythical belief – the reality is clearly much different ,and rather depressing.Recommend

  • Nilofar

    Protest Marches, Outraged Placards and Online Petitions Addressing Rape Are Not Talking to the Men in Question – the Rapists. What exactly are these protest marches, placard holding and slogans for? Why are we taking to the streets and talking about shaming society? Are we hoping that this collective outrage will shame the serial rapists of this world from committing the crime again? Do we think that our protests will instill fear in the future rapist? A regular guy, who goes about his work day, has a beer at night – or not – and while returning home to his parents, or hostel, or to his slum, or to his buddies, sees a girl – a teenage girl, or a middle aged woman, or an elderly lady, or a small child – and suddenly he is overcome with the impulse to rape them. Does he even think of his act as a crime?

  • jahandad

    AN incident which makes men worst and at lowest of human and moral values,,innocent females suffer more in asia today than at any time in human history,,thousands of stories on daily basis ,and the unfortunates even donot get any attention or mild sympathy at society level,,,Recommend

  • Cynical


    Thanks. Quite perceptive, again.Recommend

  • MAS


    Allah gave the best solution for all problems in our society. Give the culprits punishment as prescribed by allah and his prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him). Give all the culprits 100 lashes in front of public then inshallah nobody will dare to do this with any girlRecommend

  • prady


    I have been watching porn all my life, I have never seen a porn movie depicting as much violence as your beloved Hindi movies. As far as villages are concerned, the rates at which rapes and murders are carried out by the local village Mafia and powerholders is much higher than that happening in cities, Delhi of course is an exception as it is being crowded by millions of immigrants from across the country.

    Your views about western world are skewed, you probably are not aware of how safe women and public in general there is at any hour of day and in any part of western world. You probably haven’t been to any western country. Just because western women are open about their sexuality doesn’t mean that western world is the reason for rapes in your country. They are open minded and they go naked on beaches and nobody bothers, except may be male tourists from south asian countries.

    They dont give a shit on how women dresses in public, your cinema shows much more exposure of women than western movies, while the reality on roads and public places is totally different. Things are pretty skewed in India. 90% of the people especially males walking/working on road side shops struck me as uneducated ass holes. Recommend

  • avinash dutt

    Why the hell you all shows half baked knowledge..?
    Why the hell you all are blaming on east or west culture for this cheap incident.
    Its really a shamefull condition for our country. please stop diverting the way of matter. Niether west culture or porn movies are responsible nor north or east indian are responsible..its really a cheap discussion. Stop it now.
    We are responsible for our Damini’s rape, because all bastrds are the part of our socity. On road, in metros, in bus,auto,.. in every street, every city, every village… these cheap people are always with us..we know these type of people well.. but tell me all honourable authers.. who showed his guts against them..??? I did so.. thats why i m asking this… if you didn’t then stop blaming others!!! Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    I have a better solution which is equaly ancient. Let them go free and be declared free for the fellow citizens, let the citizens decide about the treatment.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Mohammed Naveed Jamal


    how ONE CAN,this is an era of MEDIA and a common man does not have awareness to gauge what’s right or what’s not in over flooding of information and so called ENTERTAINMENT. 3rd rated songs and dances in BOLLYWOOD clearly reflect and indicate the way the society is enforced to act and behave.May ALMIGHTY ALLAH give us sense of understanding to educate our masses in the rightful Divine manner.

    Mohammed Naveed JamalRecommend

  • Rex Minor

    Express Tribune is contravening press freedom and suppressing info, which is being splashed across the world media;

    Shahnaaz is the victim’s name; 7 rapists are Ram Singh, Vivek and his friends. The victim is on ventilator and in my pinion will not live.

    A good day sir. There are demonstration against the outrage on most western cable net works.

    Rex MinorRecommend

  • Shiv

    The protests,although well intentioned won’t change anything. Indians need to realise that GOvt machinery is the most powerful organisation in our country. if it could be beaten by protests(or bombs), then thr would be no Indian govt in 150 odd naxal affected districts.
    The only way to beat them is elections.
    make sure that wen 2014 comes, u dont get swayed by 4 rs decrease in petrol and 30 rs fall in LPG price. remember today on the election dayRecommend

  • Girish

    @Mohammed Naveed Jamal:

    I do agree with you but still I believe that the same Media CAN BE used for right purpose.Recommend

  • Yuri Kondratyuk

    What you said doesn’t contradict the fact that the police administration is worse off in North. Which is one of the reasons a victim is less likely to approach police.Recommend