For sheer brutality, the rape, torture, kidnapping, and murder of a young Indian student in New Delhi last month is astonishing, even in a country known for its ingrained misogyny. Protests continue unabated in India and the topic will continue to rivet the news media world-wide for a long time. The low status of women and the ossified state of the Indian legal system make prosecuting the offenders of such cases (few, unfortunately, are reported) very difficult. Moreover, the current state of affairs is also fundamentally incompatible with the rapid modernization that is sweeping across the sub-continent. One thing is for certain: swarms of morally crippled brutes--of which the monsters who savaged that innocent student are a representative sample—have made life a hell for Indian women who venture outside with or without a male escort. Why are so many young Indian men sliding backwards into a state of feral, sex-crazed savagery and why is it being tolerated?
That religion should ennoble rather than degrade humanity is a noble claim, but history has shown time and again that it is often without warrant. Instead, religious beliefs tend to promote self-serving, irrational notions. One of the worst of these uses what psychologists have termed “transference”; simply put, it is the means by which a culpable party seeks to objectify their moral evils and put the blame for them on an innocent party (usually called the “scapegoat”). This practice, visible in the Judeo-Christian scriptures as well as the Vedic system, is fundamentally a matter of a corrupt and powerful individual or entity seeking to ritually purify the self or group from sins for which they are entirely responsible.
Indian culture is permeated with myths and superstitions that promote the treatment of women as scapegoats. For example, the Laws of Manu claim that
Consuming liquor, association with wicked persons, separation from her husband, rambling around, sleeping for unreasonable hours and dwelling -are six demerits of women (9.13).i
So, if a woman is “rambling around,” how to control her? The answer, as the slavering beasts in New Delhi have shown the world, is to degrade her. Worse, people who otherwise seem models of propriety have sought to export these warped ideas to the West, usually under the guise of teaching the“degraded West” the Vedic system. Many examples abound, but speaking from my own experience as an early Hare Krishna follower of Bhaktivedanta Swami, this is a familiar and highly distressing pattern. The general tactic is disarmingly simple: praise men for their alleged intellectual and moral superiority and attack women for being dull, lustful temptresses. It amazed me when I was a young teenager to see how readily educated European and American men fell for this nonsense and so I was not in the least surprised to see how Indian men have reverted to using young women as scapegoats for their irrelevance and insecurities. As one commenter to today’s Wall Street Journal writes:
It's high time that these animals get over their gender bias and act like men, instead of sex crazed animals. Further, there ought to be severe penalties.ii
Indeed, but what penalties would be severe enough? The rapists who did the unthinkable to such a fine, intelligent young girl anyone would be proud to call a daughter or sister should be executed after a speedy trial. Enough of dragging out the legal process for decades. Like it or not, gropers will soon find their hands and fingers cut off and others will get doused with pepper spray. In my opinion, the pen might be mightier than the sword, but, in a pinch, the sword will do just fine.
http://nirmukta.com/2011/08/27/the-status-of-women-as-depicted-by-manu-in-the-manusmriti/ This website is an excellent resource for any rational analysis of Hinduism, even for believers.