Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Is India a country of rapists?

This was a hot topic a couple of years back right after the much publicized horrific incident of the Delhi rape.

Rape is one of the worst crimes. Full stop. If you ask me, there is no excuse that I have for such crimes and we as Indians should make it go away 100%. I am ashamed if even 1 rape happens per year in our population.

That said, the way our country got projected as a country of rapists was in my view not fair. It went to such an extent that a German professor declined admission to a student from India because she thought we harbored rapists. I don't think we deserve this image for sure.

To say that India is a country of rapists as there are so many rapes happening is the same as arguing that India is a country of smokers as there are so many people smoking or say to say India is a country of sick people as so many people fall sick every year.

In such a huge country obviously these numbers will be more, but you always have to contextualize it in terms of % of the population, the local law enforcement capacity, number reported vs. actual and so on.

If you look at the actual statistics per 100,000 we fare much better than most countries and are waaaaaay down at the bottom rank of 94 out of about 120 countries which means there are 93 countries that actually have more rapes reported per 100,000 people. Even developed countries like Sweden and US have way more reported incidents than in India. Of course in India far less incidents are reported. However, I do not think India is unsafe for women in comparison to several of these other countries. 

For instance, while travelling in South Africa, my brother was appointed a body guard and was told never to step out after 6 PM. Whereas, my cousin sister who grew up in Mumbai always tells me she feels fairly safe even late in the night and she has never faced an issue.

Yes, bad things happen in India and so do they everywhere else, but it is very unfair to brand an entire country a country of rapists. This image is a malicious portrayal of my country by western medias ignoramuses.

Here is my take
1) Indian men are actually fairly shy. I encourage a westerner to talk to an Indian and find out for themselves
2) There is a character in Big Bang Theory (called Raj) who actually has difficulty hitting it off with women and can only speak to women if he is drunk. Although he is a bit of an exaggeration - I tend to agree that we are in general a shy lot

Now, coming to the core issue. Why is there so much of talk about rape in India

1) Firstly it is a good thing that we talk about it because that is how it can be stopped. More rapes are reported in India now than before, which is good and it should always go up (i.e. the number of reported should match the number of incidents). 
2) Media is very active in India and reports every single incident and they do it because they need the TRPs. This however, gets carried away by the western media for a very malicious portrayal. I was watching a news in Canada about a rape in India when in fact, as per statistics, Canada has a much larger incidence of rape than does India. Canadas entire population is less than that of Mumbai and Delhi put together and hence obviously more incidents will happen in India. I love Canada by the way and I think crime rates are one of the lowest here and I really enjoy the hospitality of Canadian people (one of the least racist in my view). However, I was very surprised their media chose to cover a rape in India vs. the several ones that happen locally. This is all I am trying to point toward.
3) More women are now coming forward and this is a very good trend
4) I somehow feel our public service departments (police, judiciary) etc. are very stretched and we need to have more capacity created in all of these to solve this problem quickly
5) Contrary to popular belief India actually has a pretty high conviction rate for rape. We had an impressive 24.2% in 2012 compared to say UK which had like 7% and Sweden (one of the most developed nations) at 10%
6) In how many countries have you witnessed the kind of uproar and protesting in the streets as you saw in India? There were candle light marches, social media outrage and all over the country people came to the streets. I think that is a very positive thing to have happened. How many countries that are worse than us (in rape %) can boast of such a vibrant population?

So to sum up.

Yes, we have a long way to go. But we certainly are NOT a country of rapists or one that encourages this practice. 

Pasting this article from my other blog

Tejas - our first fighter aircraft

The HAL/ADA Light Combat Aircraft or Tejas is a brilliant achievement by Indians and is perhaps one of the most significant achievements of Indian inventors. It is a largely indigenous, about 73% as per the CAG report of 2012 (except for the engine, radar, the ejection seat and some missiles)

Is the project delayed?
Firstly, I have seen so much bad press about the delay of this project (such as this one). Some points to note here are
1) The first time money was actually spent to initiate a proof of concept was in 1993
2) The first flight actually happened by 2001

This makes it a 8-9 year from money given to showing a functional model which is about the time that almost any company/country takes 

From 1993 to 2016 is a 33 year time frame, yes, but 33 years is not a "delay". A delay happens after you commit to a time and then you do not deliver in that time. There were several challenges to completing this project in time such as changing requirements, Kargil, Pokhran blasts resulting in an Embargo, so on and so forth.

Is it fully indigenous?

Second, the common negative that is pointed out is that it is not fully indigenous as some parts are imported. Here I want to break up this argument in multiple parts
1) Indigenous actually means it is designed and manufactured in India which it is. So it is indigenous. Period.
2) Even if you want a model where there are no parts of the aircraft that are imported, there are two arguments. Worldwide some of the parts are pretty much used as a standard and there is no need to reinvent the wheel. For instance refer the article here "A few other important items of equipment (such as the Martin-Baker ejection seat) have been imported. But the Martin-Baker ejection seat is virtually a universal standard and virtually there are no aircraft systems around the world that manage without their technology." Second, across the world, there are many successful aircrafts that import parts. For instance F16 imports 60% of its parts. Gripen uses more than 50% of imported parts. 
3) There was an attempt to create an indigenous Kaveri engine. I have heard that we were not successful in completing it for the payload requirements. However, I am optimistic at some stage we will get there. 

The critical aspect is that we have designed it and are manufacturing it in India.

It is still a generation behind and not advanced enough

Obviously it will not be. Humans did not build the Brihadeeshwara Temple in Tanjore or the Great Pyramid before they built a hut to stay. 

We will get there. 

The important thing to note here is that all of the critical elements of having a R&D centre, a simulation lab, a training place, an infrastructure that supports prototyping, a large number of people who possess the knowledge and skills needed for a program of this kind, several patents in this area etc. are all now in place.

It took a lot of time for humans to invent a computer, but once we did, see how it has exploded the world in a few short years. Same is the case with the first model. Once you have that in place, the rest is not going to be so tough.

Does this mean we have done extremely well?

No. I do not mean to say that we have delivered a world class product in a very short time and there is nothing we could have done better. I know how Indian PSUs work, and how much bureaucracy there would have been etc. I am pretty sure there were unwarranted delays. All I am saying is, all said and done, I am proud and it is still a commendable achievement. We have not caused a delay that say any other country would not have had to go through to develop their indigenous aircraft and our aircraft is no less superior to any other aircraft of its class. So definitely a pat in the back.

Am posting my post in my other blog here as well