The darkness of the night will recede just for a while as the skies glow with the incandescent brilliance of Diwali’s lights. Many of us will wish that this glorious light could linger on and banish the different forms of darkness which have come to afflict our society. While it is not our intention to cast a dampener on your Diwali, it might be a good time to introspect on some areas where we need a healthy dose of enlightenment. And one is in a growing intolerance of people who may not be like us like those from the Northeast or from other countries. And of women whose actions are being seen as responsible for violence against them.
From musicians to politicians, to even women sages, many feel that the increasing attacks on women are the result of their western dress or their penchant to be out in the evenings. In other words, the woman who does not efface herself and is not subservient to a patriarchal system is asking for violence to be perpetrated against her. The fervour that was seen after the 2012 Delhi gang rape seems to have dissipated. The rape intervention and crisis centres are gathering dust, the political class has moved on and so it would seem has civil society. The attack on the life of the girl child even before she is born shows no sign of letting up, the son preference seems to have spread even to states where traditionally no such prejudices existed. Now that we have a Nobel laureate who has espoused the cause of abolishing child labour, this is one area in which all of us can make a difference. First, by refusing to use any product made with child labour and by not employing any underage person in our homes and by reporting to the authorities any child seen working on the streets or in establishments. These little steps could make all the difference between a life of servitude and liberation for children.
It is only if civil society takes a more active role can we help check the menace of child trafficking. We cannot sit back and allow our missing children to be forgotten, they could well be in the hands of murderous traffickers. If the police are alerted immediately and pressure kept up on them, past record shows that they are perfectly capable of making a real effort to trace missing children. These are just some things that we, as a society, need to be more proactive about. There are many more issues, but complacency and inaction should not be options. With that resolve, our future festivals of light will be all the brighter. We wish all our readers a safe and happy Diwali.