A continued interview from Kelly's Friday post. To read part 1, click here.
We spoke more about his own upbringing, and how drastically different it was than many of the people in rural areas of India, and even those living next door. “There are people who live right next door to my parents who make less than a dollar a day and don’t have the luxury of asking questions because they have to put food on the table.”
“There are definitely people like myself and my friends who are more Westernized and are still Indian and do ‘Indian things’ but have luckily grown up in an international setting where we had access to the rest of the world and were able to pick and choose what we saw to be right and wrong.”
“It is an important part of being a citizen of the world, to know what is going on in the world and learn from that.”
I asked Jishnu whether he believed that the women and their families who have come forward about rape might find justice, “I have faith that the cases that are publicized, especially internationally, will be taken care of and dealt with, but I have very little faith in the justice system in general back home in india, how anything gets done is shady shit - everyone knows that.”
His outlook was not good for the majority of cases which he believes go undocumented. “With the over-population you can’t really manage that many people that well, there are not the resources. I’m sure it will get better and is getting better, because India is expanding fast, but it’s always a scramble to survive there because there are just so many people - complete survival of the fittest in every way, and when all you are trying to do is survive, bettering society is such an up-hill battle.”
Rape and violence is not Indian culture, it is a symptom of failing systems that were never intended for the magnitude and age that India has reached. Jishnu reminds us that while the U.S. is only 200 years old, “My country predates 0. The U.S. created their own fresh slate, learning from the mistakes of their ancestors. India has been building on top of itself. It never had a chance to start new.” He credits the U.S.’s fresh start as one of the reasons it has been better at addressing incidents of rape. “The U.S. does have established procedures - I would be surprised if there are any that are followed as closely in India.”
Both the U.S. and India have a great deal of room to improve when it comes to preventing rape and protecting survivors. As India continues to grow at its astronomical rate, and education and the media become even more available, Jishnu is optimistic that things will improve. With over a billion people, and such a long and rich history, there is so much more that India has to offer. These incidents are distressing and call us to action. But in order to create change, we must be cautious not to oversimplify our understanding of this complex country, its people and history.
-Kelly (guest blogger)
Image provided by PRI