The acid attack on a preparatory school teacher in Paraypora Srinagar last week has, understandably, caused furor and shock. It has unruffled a few feathers in the corridors of power and the ‘conscience keepers’ of our society – religious groups, ulama and civil society. But, believe me, this uproar and outrage and sensitive restlessness will fizzle out soon. All of us will freeze into cocoon of forgetfulness. From rape and murder of 14 year old Tabinda Gani of Handwara, to mysterious murder of 11 year Iqra Jaan (Fateh KAdal) and 8 year Sabreen Jaan (Khansahab) retrieved from the trench, to Romana Javid of Srinagar brutally ran over by car driven by two youths, we have developed our strong immune system in ‘accommodating’ these happenings as fait accompli. We are ‘brave’ in not allowing the tragedies to swoon us beyond Chaharum. We relapse into our make-believe worlds. Forgetting that the nemesis is fast stalking us.
I watch in silence till it is someone from me yelling and screaming in helplessness that wakes me up to the ferocity of monsters. Till then they came and molested and decimated others’, I did not speak, for she was not from me. This frigid response from our society against the endemic moral degeneration, crime rise and erosion in values has taken a better from us and emboldened the wicked to rule the roost.
While we are stewing in the juice of waywardness we ourselves are cause of (zahral fasada fil bari wal behr bemaa kasabat aideya-a-naas, Al-Quran) it is time stewing over the menace that has dangerously looped us in with its dreadful fangs.
Not much time has passed when we used to swear at ‘liberal’ West for its dissent into abyss of moral turpitude, collapse of family system, self-centeredness, violence and drug addiction. Unfortunately we too are heading for the dark tunnel and reaping the ugly dividends. Though west has evolved some institutional mechanism and safety measures to check the drift to some extent, our failure compounds our agony.
The bone-chilling incidents like kidnapping of girls, their rape and murder, sprinkling acid on woman’s face , crimes of fratricides , dowry deaths, bride-burning, taking to drugs, all these were unthinkable of in our “religious-minded’ society. that such horrific crimes are making a routine (victimization of 13 year old seventh standard girl is the latest) should prompt us to come out of our cosy chambers and do some introspection, otherwise the day is nor far away when we may loose our ethical , cultural and social ethos.
First and foremost thing we must do is to start fashioning a ‘human’ being from our own homes. When belief in and fear from God, accountability in the day after and universal love for mankind are cultivated at the infant and the childhood stage. When TV channels and other scientific inventions are made use of enriching us in education, science, economy, environment etc and not for robbing our young impressionable generation off the morality veneer. Qou infusiqum wa ahlikum nara (save yourself and your family from ragging fire ) must serve as a first deterrent to ward off the evil that is fearlessly advancing to destroy the first unit of societal structure.
Maintaining the moral health of home, though holds pre eminence, is not enough. In an epidemic of erosion in values personal and family hygiene alone cannot prevent the dread from entering and infecting the inmates. How beautiful Holy Quran points to this epidemic (fitna): wataqu fitnatun la tuseban-a-lazena zalamu minkum khasa. That is this fitnah does not only devour those who indulge in it all get ensnared. Unless all the dumping ground of vice from where it germinates gets flushed out – and that needs collective will and efforts- our “safe” environs are too weak to withstand the onslaught.
This is the time justice is done and retributive justice is served. And that means hanging to death the criminals or, to say the least, subjecting them to life-imprisonment. Acid attacks and rape should be treated as acts of terrorism warranting fast-track trials and verdicts must be delivered within a stipulated period of not more than six months. That alone can prove a deterrent. Otherwise we will be encouraging the crime.
Paraypora incident galvanized authorities to force tuition managements for conducting separate classes for boys and girls. It is tacit acknowledgement of the glory and veracity of Islamic values and its teachings. But why stop there. The same remedy needs to be applied in all educational institutions. Moral education must also form an essential part to our educational policy which unfortunately is wanting. ‘women empowerment’, we know has proved a hoax.