So the American news website called National Report has come up with an obviously fake satire about a Rape Festival beginning in Assam this week. The article goes on to chart out, in gory details, the event and its historical tradition, including the fact that it has been a traditional event since 43 BC. Now, while most people with some amount of common sense would realize that this is quite obviously a satire (in extremely bad taste), the number of people who simply commented on the disgusting tradition of the country and damned it to hell amazes me. There is no lack of people who shall believe anything and everything that they read online or in print.
I cannot expect every human being to be able to exercise their brain powers, but I would argue, that a website that claims to be America’s No. 1 independent news team should have better sense than put up such an obviously flammable content, with such a direct, named assertion that puts a nation and its states to shame.
While I am not a regular reader of the National Report and this is the first time I am reading anything about it, I am assuming that they are, like the Onion, or the Faking News Network, a spoof site, that makes fun of anything and everything and tries to bring smiles to people in an increasingly somber and serious world.
Unfortunately, this time, they have put up an article that is not only in extremely poor taste, but also is timed very poorly. The issues like rapes and women’s safety, gender equality, gender-based violence and female feticide have become burning problems in a billion-strong country. Every day we are faced with the grim reality that despite the best of efforts from the civil society, law enforcement agencies are unable to protect us from ourselves. The policymakers, huddled in boardrooms, shielding vested interests, are unable to come out with a decisive, incisive law that, in one fell swoop, deals with the issue of rapes and rapists.
It was only a matter of time before the nation was made the laughing stock in front of the whole world, on a global platform; National Report has done JUST that. They have taken a massive problem ailing our nation, built upon our impotence and inability to deal with it decisively, and made us the object of jokes or scorn from the global community of internetizens.
In an era where information spreads virally, it is very difficult to contain such a news. Rapes always evoke a visceral response in men. The inability to protect ourselves is probably the most emasculating of all disabilities and when that happens every day, it is only a matter of time before others start pointing it out and making satires and jokes out of them.
I am extremely agitated and angered as I write this out. Of course, National Report is not going to win any favors for naming a state and shaming my country like that. But, I am more angered by the fact that I live in a nation of 1.2 billion people who have let morality and humanity slide so far away from themselves, that others can squint down at us from high ground and point and laugh at our impotent rage. What is worse, is the fact that several other places have been implicated in this article, which goes:
The Assam Festival began in 43 BC when Baalkrishan Tamil Nadu raped everyone in his village of Doomdooma. Baalkrishan Tamil Nadu is remembered every year at this event, in fact the trophy given to the man with the most rapes is called “The Baalkrishan”.
A suo moto cae has been taken up by Assam Police and the cyber crime cell will handle the case. National Report may or may not apologize; they may or may not take down the post; but for the time being, my nation has been shamed. And one more thing, the people at NR have played the game well. They know that there WILL be a backlash from the Indian blogging community, which is a large contingent. And with the backlash will come more visitors, more link backs (like I have given in the first line), more comments. No publicity is bad publicity.
Except when it is a nation’s pride being mocked at because of its inability to take stern actions where there is a need to.