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Millions of women and children have been raped and brutally assaulted across time, across every country. In India, the 'Nirbhaya Act' of 2013 gave the country a sound legal action plan to deal with the rapists after they've been caught. But little has changed on the ground. There are at least 4 key issues missing in the debates on violence against women.


Without this understanding, every TV talk show will repeatedly bemoan the question "Why has nothing changed?". Part of the answer lies in the work of Psychologist Robert Hare on Psychopathy, a few points of which are highlighted in the letter below. Laws alone are not a deterrent. Laws alone don't change mindset. Schooling for the girl-child alone doesn't change mindset. Career opportunities for women alone don't change mindset.


- through published report cards of those in governance and of those with the power to implement legislation

- of civil society via the ambit of the law and through their own conscience via the voices of icons and celebrity leaders they revere and will pay attention to.


A structured and constructively channeled and SOCIAL ACTION PLAN oriented towards long term PREVENTION via a PEOPLE'S MOVEMENT, not on the streets but in homes, schools, colleges, the workplace so that it can translate to safer streets, neighborhoods and yes, even, homes.


Repeated calls for action, repeated education, repeated reminders, repeated engagement of the public...

Below is an idea for a framework to change mindset, in the form of a letter addressed to Dr. Prannoy Roy, Editor in Chief, NDTV, India and a few prominent celebrity icons with the voice and the power to influence not just India but hopefully someday, the world. The idea is for the media to take a leading role and galvanize the forces of psychologists, artists, sports persons, writers, scholars, NGOs, lawmakers and the Government. And through their voices, use knowledge, music, art, song, poetry to educate and engage the public and law enforcers about their rights and responsibilities, and create a People's movement in the quest to change mindset, State by State, year after year, so that we create a significant dent in the staggering rape statistics we hear about every day.

There is no reason why India can't take the lead in this fight and then globalize this effort and spread the feat to every country.

Below is the more detailed framework.


Dr. Prannoy Roy, Barkha Dutt, Sonia Singh

NDTV Ltd, 207 Okhla Industrial Estate, New Delhi-1100220, India


Mr. Kailash Satyarthi, Father/Seeker of Truth/Children's Rights Activist/2014 Nobel Peace Prize Winner

Mr. Aamir Khan, Father/Activist/India's Conscience Keeper/National Icon

Mr. Rahul Bose, Brother/Activist/National Icon

Mr. Amitabh Bachchan, Father/Grandfather/National Icon

Ms. Priyanka Chopra, Daughter/Sister/Activist/National Icon

Ms. Shabana Azmi, Mother/Daughter/Activist/National Icon

December 11th, 2014.

Dear Sirs and Madames:

I am a citizen of India. I am prompted to write to you in your capacity as individuals with the power, contacts and the voices to influence the future of our nation. The subject is the spate of barbaric crimes against women in India.

In 2013, I sent this letter to Dr. Roy as well as Barkha Dutt and Mr. Rajdeep Sardesai when he was with CNN-IBN. I am unaware if any of my letters ever reached their destinations. I am renewing my efforts to reach you, as this issue is one of urgent national importance.

We have all watched helplessly as sisters, daughters, wives, mothers have had their souls devoured by some of the most barbaric elements in our society. It's been said that after the New Delhi Nirbhaya's rape and torture, India now has one of the strongest legal action plans against rape, in the world. Yet, it seems to have made little difference as we become increasingly aware of even little children being brutally ravaged. Numerous television debates have pondered why the new law has failed to act as a deterrent. Perhaps part of the answer lies in Canadian Psychologist Robert Hare's work on Psychopathy.

Canadian journalist, Robert Hercz, reports that in Hare's first paper on the subject, he “had his subjects watch a countdown timer. When it reached zero, they got a harmless but painful electric shock while an electrode taped to their fingers measured perspiration. Normal people would start sweating as the countdown proceeded, nervously anticipating the shock. Psychopaths didn't sweat. They didn't fear punishment - which, presumably, also holds true outside the laboratory. In his work 'Without Conscience', he quotes a psychopathic rapist explaining why he finds it hard to empathize with his victims: "They are frightened, right? But, you see, I don't really understand it. I've been frightened myself, and it wasn't unpleasant."

In an article by Paul Robinson and John Daley in the Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, they observe “Potential offenders often do not know of the legal rules. Even if they do, they frequently are unable to bring this knowledge to bear in guiding their conduct, due to a variety of situational, social, or chemical factors. Even if they can, a rational analysis commonly puts the perceived benefits of crime greater than its perceived costs, due to a variety of criminal justice realities such as low punishment rates. These conclusions are reinforced by studies of crime rates following rule changes. Many show no change in deterrent effect".

And then there are 'subclinical psychopaths' who can be “found in legislatures, hospitals, schools, and used-car lots. They can be your neighbour, your boss, your CEO". And this is perhaps why even the 'first responders'- i.e. some in the police force have such bizarre, unprofessional, criminally negligent conduct towards the victims of such heinous crimes.

Now that we have a legal action plan, what we need is an 'Action Tank' with the insight and ideas of psychologists, law enforcement, NGOs, civil rights activists, educators, artistes, the media and more, with the weight of the Indian Government behind them. Ultimately the social action plan should also have mechanisms of accountability for both law enforcement at various levels and the CMs and MPs of every state in India for spreading awareness and implementation.

While this is no doubt a monumental and complicated task, and while the nay-sayers will take a cynical view that it is impossible to implement such a true social change especially in a country as diverse and complex as India, I am reminded of Gandhiji's words; “It is the action, not the fruit of the action, that's important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there'll be any fruit. But that doesn't mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result".

James Fallon, PhD, an American Neuroscientist at the University of California has spent a lifetime studying the traits and brains of psychopaths and sociopaths. He is a descendant of New York colonial settlers, from the Cornell Family who have several generations of murderers among them. On the BBC show, Are You Good or Evil? he revealed that he had discovered that he himself has the neurological and genetic traits of psychopathy. He himself carried the “murder gene" so to speak. And yet in 60 odd years of his life, he has never had a run in with the law, is a loving son, husband, father, brother and a productive member of society. Dr. Fallon believes that being raised in a loving home and his positive experiences in childhood negated any potential genetic vulnerability to violence and emotional issues. In other words, the BBC show concluded, Environment trumps biology".

The protests we witnessed over the past few years represent the anger, outrage and pain we all felt collectively on behalf of the victims. With alarming statistics of the horrors faced by girl children, female foreigners and guests in our country, there have been many re-iterations of old questions and expressions. One theme repeatedly reverberates “Has nothing changed after the New Delhi Brave Heart's case?... Why has nothing changed even after we have tougher laws?... Society needs to change its mind set... We need to educate our people… There needs to be a sustained effort…"

How does a nation go about changing the most fundamental of tools in this fight- society's mind-set? Who is “society" in practical, implementable terms? Who are “we"? How can there be a “sustained effort" and what does it look like? The discussion needs to go beyond individual opinions on television debates. Yes, we need stronger laws, an effective judicial system to implement these laws; we need more in the Police force patrolling our streets, we need quick action, etc. But we also desperately need some PROACTIVE measures to change the ATTITUDE/MINDSET of society to prevent rapes and other forms of sexual violence against women in the first place. We need to institutionalize the effort to change 'mind-set' and institutionalize the process of garnering the best advice, the best guidance and then institutionalize the implementation of ideas that stem forth.

Using the medium of television, you can help create, over time, a different environment in the way diverse sections of India relate to the girl-child and women- an environment that can even “trump biology". To date, many of the efforts from various quarters are geared towards the after-process, after the violence women have faced. Season 2, episode 1 of the television show, Satyamev Jayate did a remarkable job of humanizing the struggle and creating greater awareness of the multitude of problems inherent in every layer of the system. We can't stop here. This cause needs a “sustained effort." It's like eating or bathing. We can't just do it only once.

I am reminded of Irish statesman Edmund Burke's words, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing". My appeal to you as a national figures with tremendous influence, is this- please, pick up the phone, call each other, call Dr. Prannoy Roy and ask him and NDTV to take a leading role in this endeavor to change society's mind-set and prevent sexual crimes against women in the first place and make India safer for women of all ages. Allow me to propose a few suggestions that may be refined by greater minds than mine, as you proceed in this important quest.

Dr. Roy, call a team of television media leaders- have a Chair, a Vice-Chair, etc.

They in turn can call on leaders of other national channels for an extended reach across all India, with the intent to create a core group of media personnel, not as representatives of different media outlets but united as INDIANS, in the quest to create an 'Action Tank' to strategize on an implementable action plan.


Together, the core group (which includes individuals from various groups listed below) can formulate practical solutions to spread awareness of the new laws and educate all India and using music, art, poetry, song and dance bring to the national stream of consciousness, the equal place in society for India's girl child, India's daughters, sisters and mothers.

- Advertise this special segment well in advance and appeal to every Indian with access to the television to watch this SIMULCAST, across all national and regional channels in India (regional channels may have the program translated into the respective local languages).

- No matter what the other headlines of the day, (after due coverage of any major national or international event) the media should make a commitment to return to and stay focused on this cause, to have a SIMULCAST, across all of India, every three months or every six months? The 'Action Tank' can determine the optimal frequency to engage public interest.

- Engage one State at a time. Cover all of India, State by State. Continue the program year after year after year... State by State, year after year…

- SIMULCAST this program with different aspects of the subject matter and different guests at frequent intervals that the core group will decide on.

- In between these full featured programmes, have short public service advertisements (PSAs) on TV on gender equality. Have the government or industrial houses take turns in sponsoring anti-rape posters, posters on gender equality to be displayed on buses, at bus stations, in trains, at train stations, at airports, supermarkets, etc. Have downloadable posters that individuals and groups can use in schools, colleges, at work, etc. Kids, teens, young adults, in fact all adults need to be taught that “No" means “No", not “yes", not “may be". But PSAs and posters alone don't stop predators or psychopaths or criminals. That's why more needs to be done…

To highlight and lay emphasis to the cause, and as ONE INDIA, the core group may consider the following for the full feature programmes:

1. To formulate key aspects of the action plan/program, identify and engage with notable Psychologists with expertise in Psychopathy and the criminal mind set, particularly crimes against women and children.

2. Identify and engage with notable Psychologists with expertise in patriarchal mind-sets, expertise in the demographic and social changes in India that have led to a more progressive India that is shockingly more unsafe for women.

3. Engage various key and relevant NGOs and individuals like Sunitha Krishnan of 'Prajwala' who have dedicated their lives to fighting the scourge of violence against women.

4. Engage with key politicians within key political parties, all the way to the sitting Prime Minister and other key leaders in Parliament across party lines.

5. Engage with other celebrity role models, national icons that all Indians look up to- AR Rahman, Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Aishwarya Rai, Priyanka Chopra, Shabana Azmi and various others. As you focus on each state, regional actors, musicians and celebrity icons- actors, sports persons and business leaders should also be engaged.

6. Engage with other business/industry role models in society- Kiran Mazumdar Shaw and other female leaders and role models, Ratan Tata, Cyrus Mistry, Narayan Murthy, Adi Godrej and a host of national and local industry, business leaders to speak up on their commitment to the implementation of a safe and fair workplace for women and to set the example for other organizations to follow.

7. Engage with policy makers, Supreme Court judges, senior law enforcement officials and have them educate women and the public of their CONSTITUTIONALLY PROTECTED RIGHTS and how to avail of them, under India's comprehensive laws and the ambit of the Varma Commission's recommendations.

8. Call on school Principals, Deans of colleges, young School Captains, Presidents of student unions- call for a nationwide participation- delegate real ideas and tasks for them to incorporate regularly into their curriculum, between girls and boys, young men and women in various socio-economic strata.

9. Call on the children of India of various age groups (all the way up to the college campus level)- have psychologists provide them with exercises, a road-map- to instill in them a mutual respect for both genders. For Gandhiji said “If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children".

10. To motivate the police force, from across all India (State by State), regularly honor those individuals in law enforcement who have discharged their duties towards the protection of women, without compromise.

11. Engage with Kerala's ex-Director General of Police, Jacob Punnoose and relevant authorities, with the goal to support and reform the police departments in every State and make them more people-friendly, similar to the transformation seen in many Kerala Police stations.

12. Protecting their privacy, honor the memories of those women and girl children who are no longer with us and whose anguish stirred the conscience of our nation. Invite the brave survivors of these heinous crimes and their families to share what they will.

13. Engage religious leaders of various religions and have them speak up with passages from various holy texts, about the special place of women and the girl child and the role of men in honoring this precious section of our society.

14. Have telethons, partner with corporate leaders and raise funds for poster campaigns, for the rehabilitation of those women who have no resources and no support, who are ostracized from the world they live in, for no fault of their own. (Since the first edition of this letter, NDTV has done a remarkable job in this respect with their “Our Girls, Our Pride" telethons).

15. Conduct a massive signature campaign for every State in India, addressed to respective Chief Ministers to implement steps for the safety of women.

16. Regularly, on each show, create and release report cards (on various criteria set forth by the thinkers of the core group) of Chief Ministers, Chiefs of Police and the Judiciary of every state and MPs in every constituency of India, on the steps they have taken to spread awareness of new laws, gender-sensitization among law enforcement agencies in their respective jurisdictions and steps they have taken to implement recommendations of the Varma Commission.

17. Implement other ideas that stem from the research and discussions of the core group… The points made here are but a skeleton framework.

Governmental policies and laws will never be enough. Prime Minister Nehru understood the role that the arts could play in nation building which is why, according to the Children's Film Society of India website, “Pundit Nehru established CFSI soon after India's independence with the hope that indigenous and exclusive cinema for children would stimulate their creativity, compassion and critical thinking". After the scourge of Apartheid had ended, President Nelson Mandela, pursued South African rugby player Francois Pienaar, fully supported his team to victory in the 1995 Rugby World Cup, and used rugby as a tool to unite South Africans and heal his nation, torn apart by racial strife. Policies and laws are just not enough.

The task at hand is not a simple one but a concerted and "sustained" effort using the world of television, sharing the heart-wrenching stories that need to be told, and sharing ideas, building motivation and kinship using imagery, music, song, poetry and dance through the inspirational persons of our national and international icons, can lead to the transformation of the soul of our society and bring about some real change, over time.

The vast majority of the public want to be part of a solution. They just need a vehicle to channel their anger and outrage and pain, constructively. That's where you and NDTV come in. If the television show, 'Satyamev Jayate' could affect some change almost immediately in some cases, there's no reason why a clarion call to all of India led by a united television media and influential icons cannot change the landscape for women in our country. It can be done. When in doubt, please remember author Richard Bach's words “Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they're yours". When the going gets tough, please remember Gandhiji's words “It is the action, not the fruit of the action that's important. You have to do the right thing. It may not be in your power, may not be in your time, that there'll be any fruit. But that doesn't mean you stop doing the right thing. You may never know what results come from your action. But if you do nothing, there will be no result".

This effort need not stop with the subject of rape. In a deliberate, structured manner, it can expand to tackling the various forms of domestic violence, mistreatment of widows and other injustices against women.

It took a phenomenal sixteen year old from Pakistan called Malala Yousafzai to help some of us understand that “peace deals between countries that don't protect the rights of women are unacceptable". (Perhaps Malala can be our first chief guest! Instantly, we will have inspired a whole new generation towards this noble cause, not just in India but across the globe and through the person of Malala, perhaps even sow some seeds of peace among future generations of Indians and Pakistanis). In global discourse, even the United Nations Millennium Goals could be further developed in its aspirations for women. The safety of women around the world and the atrocities they face in the form of sex trafficking, genital mutilation and more needs intense global attention and effort. Once India gets started on home ground, why not expand the idea of televised efforts to beyond our borders and through the United Nations Organization, engage leaders of other countries to reach out to their own icons, activists and their nations and using imagery, music, song, poetry and dance make each country a safer and better place for women?

On the 15th of August, 1947, Prime Minister Nehru asked himself and the nation to “take the pledge of dedication to the service of India and her people and to the still larger cause of humanity." There is no reason why India cannot and should not take the lead in this important quest. No reason at all.

A SUSTAINED, IMPLEMENTABLE ACTION PLAN with ACCOUNTABILITY is the need of the hour. The role of the television media is crucial at this juncture. The role of modern leaders and national icons like you is vital. You can create history, the likes of which have never been seen before. You can help create in part; the “India that Tagore dreamt about, Nehru lived and Gandhiji died for" (quote by Anil Dhakker- Editor, Illustrated Weekly of India).

All of India (and the world) will be behind you.

Thank you for your attention. JAI HIND.

Sincerely yours,

Concerned Citizen.

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