The documentary "India’s Daughter” by Leslie Udwin shook the world. Though the film was banned in India, it was freely available on the youtube for everyone to watch. What captured the imagination of the entire world regarding Nirbhaya’s rape was widely analyzed and the reasons put out were that the girl was a medical student and a girl next door, the crime happened early in the evening and most importantly, the brutality of the perpetrators was appalling. The rapists ripped Nirbhaya apart with iron rods and hands, but she lived for enough time after that to inspire the whole country to protest and fight against the government to stop allowing such crimes.
As I watched Mrs. Udwin’s impressive documentary, the thing struck me like a lightening was how true Hannah Arendt’s phrase was. She spoke of "the banality of Evil” while referring to Adolf Eichmann, who was one of the major organizers of the Nazi Holocaust. In a similar way, our own monsters -the Nirbhaya rapists- looked very ordinary, vulnerable even. What made them so brutal, so barbaric? Perhaps the rogues themselves are the only experts who can answer that question. They even spewed some theories while filming for the documentary. The worst part is that to prevent such heinous attacks in the future, we the ordinary people, have to listen to them and try to understand them without flinching at that thought.
Mukhesh singh, convicted of Nirbhaya’s rape and murder describes one of his co-perpetrators as extremely violent. Vinay Sharma it seems has worked as a helper in a gym. He was always fighting with people. Vinay used to take injections for building up muscle according to Mukhesh Singh. Once he beat up a man so badly that he had severe internal injuries. Mukhesh also has observed that whenever Vinay took two injections, he used to become more violent and nobody could stop him.
What are these injections? We all know that there are some body building powders, tablets and injections. These injections contain anabolic steroids which are a group of steroids sometimes used medically by the doctors. When taken by men, they cause the muscles to bulge while reducing the subcutaneous fat. This can happen over weeks. They give the ‘ideal’ body shape that men dream about. But they have several side effects including liver damage, cholesterol abnormalities, enlarged breast tissue in men, acne, emotional disturbances including uncontrolled anger, baldness, heart problems, virilization, high blood pressure and prostate problems among others.
Now, you can see clearly how Vinay used take injections to increase muscle power and used to become uncontrollable perhaps without provocation. Here is a monster, who not only had access to performance enhancing medications, but used to become violent after taking these drugs.
You may brush this aside thinking that it is a rare incidence. You are wrong. This pattern is quite prevalent all over the world. The former WWE wrestler Chris Benoit murdered his wife and his seven-year-old son before killing himself in 2007 and similar drugs were found in his possession. The mixed martial artist Jonathen Koppenhaver (who officially changed his name to ‘War Machine’) brutally assaulted his girlfriend leaving her with eighteen fractures in 2014 and it is widely speculated that his immaculate body was the result of similar injections. The erratic behavior of some of our own celebrities who fight –sometimes unnecessarily- with and in the public, is perhaps another manifestation of the misuse of these medications. With so much of wealth and intelligence, we believe that our celebrities know better than to fight on the streets, but they do it as if they are compelled to do so.
You may think that considering how dangerous these drugs are, they might not be easily available. Again, you are wrong: An assocham survey has shown that about 78% of adolescents in urban India consume at least one dietary supplement for bodybuilding and many of them take steroids too. I conducted my own investigation. I sent one of my assistants to find in a gym which injection to use for bodybuilding and asked him to procure that injection. Within four hours, my assistant came back with four advises from four different gym trainers and four injections of Nandrolone decanoate, each costing around four hundred rupees.
You may think that there would be enough warnings from the authorities, doctors and general educated public about these easily available, widely used, yet dangerous anabolic steroids? Again, you are wrong. You may google about the side effects of these medications and though you find a lot of them, the Internet sites that sell those medications give highly positive reviews about them. They say that steroids have nothing to do with how people behave and that the people who chose to use steroids are basically aggressive. What a load of crap!
Now lets try to analyze this a bit further. What drives regular men who go to the gym chose medication with so many side effects? Some of them wouldn’t even take a paracetamol tablet for fever, even when a doctor prescribes it. It looked a difficult question, but it is really simple. Watch any movie and you will see men flaunting unnaturally sculpted bodies and creating a deficient body image in young and impressionable minds. The young can easily see how the men with the brawn could easily bash the villains and take a pick of the most beautiful of girls available. And the young will want those sculpted bodies themselves and they don’t mind a ‘few’ side-effects caused by those ‘wonder’ drugs which help them to get to their goal.
But then you may be the most naïve and think that our matinee idols don’t use those anabolic steroids. Ask film star trainer Rahul Bhatt and film actor Akshay kumar and they will tell you otherwise. The usage of these mediations is extremely common among our celebrities.
What is the solution to this menace? For one thing, government should warn the youngsters not to use these substances. They can restrict the availability of these anabolic steroids. Celebrities should speak openly against the usage of performance enhancing substances and should subject themselves for testing for these substances voluntarily. Until then Nirbhaya may not rest in peace.