Delhi gang rape: With great power, comes great idiocy!

Published: January 28, 2013

Self-proclaimed ‘godman’, Asaram Bapu, bit more than he could chew when he said that the rape victim could have saved herself if she had begged the rapists and addressed them as ‘brothers’! PHOTO: AFP

Delhi’s Lieutenant (Lt) Governor Tejinder Khanna recently joined the coveted club of famous people who have made insensitive and embarrassing comments on the Delhi gang rape case.

“Gun owners with licenses must roam lonely spots like bus stands each night and if they spot someone harassing a woman, they should use their weapon to stop the crime. They can at least spend an hour or so every day with their friends in public after nightfall,” Khanna said, according to the Indian Express.

Several women’s rights organisations and opposition parties condemned this statement.

Unfortunately, this was not the first irresponsible statement by a public figure; one who is seen as a role-model and caretaker of the democratic and social ethos.

Self-proclaimed ‘godman’, Asaram Bapu, bit off more than he could chew when he said that the rape victim could have saved herself if she had begged the rapists and addressed them as ‘brothers’!

Can you believe it?

Abu Azmi, a famous Mumbai politician, who is also the father-in-law of Ayesha Takia, a famous Bollywood actress, became a major source of embarrassment for his daughter-in-law when he said that girls shouldn’t hang out with male friends.

Yes, this is all true.

Abhijit Mukherjee’s comment, President Pranab Mukherjee’s son and a member of parliament, on the ‘Dented and Painted’ women protesting at the India Gate is now considered a benchmark of how idiotic a medically sane person can sound.

These examples show that Tejinder Khanna’s comments cannot be taken in isolation; where a leading personality meant to say something else but the words simply betrayed him, making him sound completely out of sync with the ground realities.

What these comments show is how alienated our leaders are from the masses.

Mr Khanna is a man with enormous powers and responsibilities.

Encouraging vigilante justice is not something expected from the man who represents the Government of India in the state of Delhi and also controls the Delhi Police.

This statement would pose a threat of an immense magnitude towards the law and order situation in the city. Just imagine what sort of blood bath would prevail if every night people with licensed weapons kill or mortally wound their enemies, claiming them to be molesters or rapists!

While the public-police participation is a necessity in the modern society, encouraging gun-toting people to take up the role of law-enforcers is a perfect example of a tinderbox waiting to be ignited.

Khanna’s supporters may claim that he was misquoted and what he meant was that people should be more proactive in countering such kind of uncouth behaviour in the evenings and hold responsibility for their own neighbourhoods by keeping a watch out for their women. But there can’t be any excuse for making ambiguous comments from such a high position of authority.

The same applies to all the other ‘great minds’ that have had the unfortunate ‘foot in mouth’ moments. It’s not that the common man expects Asaram or Abu Azmi to understand their plight and help them out. But such insensitive and unnecessary comments rub salt to the wounds of the people.

With great power, comes great responsibility. And that includes the responsibility to speak wisely.

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.

  • Queen

    I agree with the author. There is dire need of sensible leadership both in Pakistan as well as in India. However keeping in view the political situation of both countries, it seems that the leadership sometimes loses control of the situation and in an attempt of being sympathetic they issue such unworldly comments. It is said that a spark or pure jazba can change the destinies of nations. It is high time that the people of Pakistan and India select responsible people as their leaders. No offense to anyone.Recommend

  • Nandita.

    I think it’s time for another pink chaddi campaign. This time we’ll call it the red bra campaign launched by a consortium of mini skirt wearing, disco going “slutty” “westernized” women. Recommend

  • stranger

    ITs publicity time . Every one and any one who says something on this ‘rape ‘ issue gets instant publicity. so why let it go. Bapus and people like him are waiting for this opportunity.Recommend

  • Aijaz Haider

    Ambiguous comments lead to confusion. Clarity of speech is a must for everyone, particularly on sensitive issues these days with 24/7 media coverage. Governor Tejinder Khanna could not express himself correctly but it seems his intention was good.Recommend

  • sensible

    Seems that all Indian writers have ran out of topics.Recommend

  • Parvez

    Nicely said.Recommend

  • Anoop

    Nice piece, Kunal.

    Unfortunately not all people, especially people who lead other people, are born with sensitivity and common sense.

    The adage about common sense being not so common is very true.

    These people are a shame to the male gender. Asking women to not wear something or not hang out with someone is like admitting that all men are rapists to a greater or lesser degree.

    What kind of a thinking is that?Recommend

  • Milind

    Had it not been for the severity of the issue at hand, we could have sat back and had a hearty laugh at Asaram Bapu, Abu-Azmi and their ilk – given their thought processes & mental make-up.
    However this gem from Lt. Col. Tejinder Khanna’s has taken me aback. Our armymen are not for their verbosity and foot-in-mouth comments. However to be fair to him, he hasn’t indulged in insensitive comments, blaming the victim.Recommend

  • Zeenia

    A well written piece.Recommend

  • saba

    Good notion: with great power comes great responsibility. Unfortunately it is not realized by those who get hold of this great power. Neither verbally not practically they are able to do anything to console the wretched masses.Recommend

  • Sanchit

    Sorry to say but Mr. sensible , but your comment is insensible..
    This Platform is not for enriching our genral knowledge but to enlighten people
    about social issues.
    We people might be separated by borders but we all culturally same since ancient times
    and so are our problems.
    As per the topic is concern it is highly sensitive and of great concern because it is related
    to most essential human rights of our mothers ,sisters and daugters that is right to live with dignity.
    It is responsibility of every citizen of this world not to let this movement go down and make this movement a Revolution by coming together hand in hand.

    As said by our great former Prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee :” We cannot change Geography but we can change History”

    Might be this movement could initiate a spark in youth of your country too and improve the condition of women who are daily sacrificed on the blade of fundamentalism(same happens in our country too, so this is not for hurting your sentiments) .

    So Let us all come together as humans so that pressure could be built on our leaders to make tough laws and impliment them strictly.

    @ Kunal:
    Well written Recommend

  • Rex Minor

    What is wrong with Lt Governor’s proposal, mind you the proposal? Jeff Bush the former Governor’s new law in Florida allows any citizen who feels life threatened from another citizen, to shoot him down. The Lt Governor most probably knows about this law and is proposing that police officers should handle such cases and not the involved citizens themselves.

    Rex Minor Recommend

  • Maleeha

    Tejinder Khanna wishes to make Delhi Gotham City of Batman who guards its damsels in distressRecommend