Pink is not in Delhi’s DNA
Was India's capital New Delhi safe for women 30 or 40 years ago? How about 60 years ago, soon after Independence and long before women in Delhi had a chance to find their voice? The answer is NO
Pink, the movie, is the talk these days. It is set in Delhi, India’s capital and a city notorious for crime against women. Four years ago a woman student was gang-raped and brutalised inside a moving bus. The case shocked people across the world, but even then many in the city blamed the woman.
It is an attitude the film’s sheet anchor — actor Amitabh Bachchan playing defence lawyer Deepak Sehgal — brings up repeatedly in the trial scenes. The woman victim is always at fault: she was out late, her clothes were of a provocative cut, she was drunk, etc.
The fact that the 2012 bus gang rape victim was returning home at 9pm, conservatively dressed and completely sober does not jolt this narrative at all.
Parallel with this runs the belief that women today are too ‘fast’ or ‘bold’ for their own good. “She is asking for it,” say Delhi’s conscience keepers. “It was not so in our time,” declare the city’s grey hairs and bent backs.” The emancipated Delhi woman is leading completely upright men astray, they claim.
Really? Was Delhi safe for women 30 or 40 years ago? How about 60 years ago, soon after Independence and long before women in Delhi had a chance to find their voice? The answer is NO.
5 Years After Independence
In 1953 the British were still a recent memory. Janpath was still Queensway, and Connaught Place was still the throbbing heart of the Imperial capital the British had vacated.
Late in the evening of February 15 that year, when a party of diners was leaving a restaurant in Connaught Place the women in it were molested by another group of five male