Three things to think about in the coming year
Reform the police force
Much has been said about police reforms. There are documented cases of the police committing and abetting sex crimes, but one had the impression that these are isolated events rather than systemic failures. However, an article in Hindu Business Line implies that the police know exactly who the criminals are, and skims money from them instead of trying to crack down on their activities:
In perhaps one of the most incredible ironies in the history of investigation of crimes, for zeroing in on the accused in this case, the police officers assigned to catch the culprits, are reported to have heavily depended on the entries in the diaries meticulously maintained by their cohorts showing the exact hafta amounts, the owners/drivers from which they were due and the periodicity governing the extortions. In other words, it is not the long arms of the law but the longer grabbing arms of graft that are apparently ruling the roost in Delhi (and in the rest of India too).
The road to police reforms starts by weeding out criminals from the force. Anything else will be an eyewash.
Reclaim the republic
"A republic is a form of government in which the country is considered a “public matter”, not the private concern or property of the rulers" says Wikipedia. IBN Live reported a statement by the home minister which indicates that he does not know the constitution:
When asked why he did not go to India gate to meet the protesters, the Home Minister compared the protesters to Maoists saying, “It’s very easy to say that the Home Minister should go meet protesters there. Tomorrow if BJP workers demonstrate or if Maoists demonstrate with weapons, will I go and meet them too?”
Yes, Mr. Home Minister, you should.
In fact, the whole political establishment has misjudged the movement to protest the gangrape and brutal murder in Delhi of a still unnamed girl. The people protesting are not a small "painted and dented" elite, but a huge middle class hoping to better themselves. They, us, are the republic; not what is on display in Rajpath on January 26.
Cherish girls as much as boys
India has 19 million excess males, and this number is mostly below 30 years of age. The sex ratio is 940 females to 1000 men overall, but about 910 females to 1000 men in the age bracket below 7 years. So the number of excess males will increase in the coming years. Sociologists Valerie Hudson and Andrea den Boer, in their book Bare Branches reach a well-argued and unpalatable conclusion:
The book starts from the premise that “scarcity of resources and unequal access to those resources are the most important sources of conflict at any level of analysis”. Hudson and den Boer apply this premise to human female scarcity and argue that scarcity of females, as revealed by high sex ratios, can lead to domestic and international violence, perpetuated mainly by low-status, unmarried young males, called “bare branches” by the Chinese.
This is the demographics seen in the Delhi bus gangrape case: mostly low-status unmarried men being brutally and inhumanly violent. Reversal of the sex ratio is the only long term solution. In the short term perhaps increased social mobility and social justice might help. The republic cannot exclude these “excess” men.