What’s age got to do with it?
Youth can be revolutionary, evolutionary and visionary. Let us cite a few extraordinary under-age youths. May they become beacons of hope. May they serve as idols for wayward youth.
Bhagat Singh was enthused with the Free India fervor. Shaken to the core by the dastardly Jalianwalla Baug incident, he entered the freedom struggle at a tender age of 15 years. He joined the Young Revolutionary Movement and eventually became an ally to Chandrasekhar Azad. He bombed the assembly as a protest against barbarian British rule (yet he took care that no lives were lost in this bomb blast). He was hanged for being a freedom fighter – at age 23!
Shivaji Maharaj was the pioneer of Hindavi Swaraj – a freedom movement to liberate Indian soil from Mughal rule. His very first army comprised of tribals, farmers and rurals. He wrenched his first victory and won his first fort Torna Gadh at age 16 years!
Abhimanyu fought his first battle at age 16 years. His deadly foray into the Chakravyuh had the much-hyped enemy warriors foaming at the mouth. He could only be rendered defenseless when 7 opponents attacked him. Simultaneously. After he had quenched all his weapons. He could be killed only after he had lost consciousness in an exhausted stupor.
Dynaneshwar and his siblings were rendered orphans at a tender age. Undeterred by the rigid puritanical rituals of Brahmins, he continued his saintly spiritual journey. He poetized and simplified the Bhagavad Gita from Sanskrit to Prakrit, so that common people could glean its wisdom easily. At age 15 years.
Circa 2012. In India anyone below 18 years of age can commit rape, murder, armed robbery – and get away with it. Nothing beyond a few murmured words of admonishment. Nothing beyond a gentle rap on the head.
The Law seems to exist for protection of the lawless from the law-seekers. Today a criminal has a easier life than his victims. No wonder there is a dismal 70% increase in juvenile rapists and murderers.
Human Right activists care for the rehabilitation of the Juvenile delinquents. Are there special Human Rights for Juvenile Victims?
When Law hinders Justice, it is time to change the Law.
We have collectively and miserably failed Nirbhaya.
Youth should not equate brash tomfoolery or reckless attitudes. Youth cannot be a license to commit crimes. Youth cannot be a shield from punishment.
Let not the youth of today uphold criminals as golden standards. There were youths who could be dazzling role models. Visionary, revolutionary, evolutionary, saintly and valorous.
There will be many more around us. Give them recognition, give them finance for bright ideas, give them occupation. Most of all, give them idols.
There is always a choice.
Click here for a flashback on juvenile rape verdicts.