Guest post by ESHA SHAH
The social, political and legal debates that have followed the gruesome incident of gang rape in Delhi on 16 December – including the debates on the recently published report of Justice Verma Commission widely hailed for its revolutionary character – have not sufficiently engaged with the structure of violence perpetrated in the act of brutality. In forging the solidarity against the suffering, there is a popular tendency to externalise the act of barbarity causing this suffering as demonic and hence out of this world. For instance, one of the posters in the protests that followed the incident read “your suffering is my suffering” – in the same poster it was demanded that those who caused this suffering were narpishach and should be hanged. The pain of the victim is shared collective pain, but the brutality of the act is certainly not the shared collective responsibility. In the preliminary remarks below I want to argue that we need to revise the nature of power asserted in the act of brutality, and in doing so we need to not only convert the demonic caricatures as flesh and blood human beings produced by this world but also to embed their acts into deep-rooted structures of violence in our society.