In the wake of the Sowmya Vishwanathan murder case, I was watching a television interview of Sheila Dikshit, the Chief Minister of Delhi. On being asked her opinion on the whole business, she promptly put on a granny-knows-best expression on her face and replied, "It was pretty late-night,no? Hmmm.... you know these companies who hire young girls, even boys also, they should be responsible for their safety.... after 9-10 in the night(the murder took place after 3!)...they are morally responsible for this.....", and buttoned this with "Especially in a city....which people find to be not....you know...." , and her expression did the rest.
Jaw-droppingly tactless and irresponsible as this statement is, what surprised me was the last part, where she seemed to indicate, "Hey, you and I both know that Delhi is crazy-crap dangerous.....of course you have to look out after yourselves....who do you think will do that for you- the police!?"
Now, I know that crime rates in Delhi have been consistently appalling throughout the past decade, and it has been home to several high-profile murder cases. While talking to my friend Abhishek, a true-blue Delhi guy in every way, I found out that the actual ground reality is much worse than the rest of India perceives it to be. I appreciate that guys like us, spending most of the year at a place like Kharagpur, basically insulated from serious crime, cannot possibly imagine what it feels like to work and live under conditions where you feel perpetually threatened.
But this sort of defeatism, and that too from the Chief Minister, is just not on. When the government starts to shrug and move on, you know you are in trouble. The image of a weary-looking Dikshit, with deadened eyes, facing the media, is not likely to boost the morale of the young professionals working in the capital. One is reminded of these lines from Yeats, through which he indicated the imminent end of Europe's then-ruling class..... they sound eerily relevant.....
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.