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By: Irfan Fayaz Gaazi

The history of valley of Kashmir is characterized by an unending circle of turmoil and turbulence since decades. The unrest claimed lives and property of the natives but the most pathetic claim that it made was on the social infrastructure of the valley. Amid active political campaigns and movements, a call for positive change in its social arena was left unattended. In the voices of protests and wailing, the folklores of Shiekh ul Alam went unsung and unheard. Active in political discourse, people of valley found no time to address the issue of social failures of our Valley.

With advancement in technology the people of valley marched on the way to modernism but left their ethical and cultural legacy behind in the dark. The recent rape cases, involving two minor girls, are a dark reminder of our moral degradation and a burning scar on the already bloodied history of Kashmir. All such cases are bring shame to us as a society and we should introspect as to what went wrong with our heritage, rich cultural ethos as well as religious morality!

Among the many other reasons that come to one’s mind whenever such an incident takes place, gender bias is at the top of the list. What makes a man (or boy) rapist and what gives him courage to invade the modesty of a woman?  Is it the commoditization of womanhood by the popular media, a chauvinist mental setup nourished by society every now and then or flawed upbringing, one cannot say for sure but these surely form a part of the answer?

When a girl is told to maintain a modest dress and living style, a boy is taught to respect the modesty of girl. A girl has to be in pardah (veil) but a boy is never counseled to lower his gaze when a woman or a girl passes by. What double standards!  In an overloaded bus- a girl has to suffer inappropriate touches of men and yet has no other way but to stay quite. She has never been asked or trained to become assertive of her rights and raise voice against anything wrong being done to her.

This attitude goes on to ultimately prepare our boys or men into worst criminals who can play with the chastity of women and even tear apart lives of young toddlers! It is a tragedy that such cases have been surfacing from all corners of Kashmir and this criminal and shameful tendency is raising its head quite frequently now. We as a society need to introspect and locate what we have lost.

The writer is a student and can be emailed at [email protected]

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