Thursday, January 03, 2013

Letter to a braveheart

Dear Nirbhaya,

This is the name I know you by. There are other options too like ‘The daughter of India’ and ‘Amanat’. Names that various channels and publications have come up with. The jury is still out on whether your true identity should be revealed. We would like to know your name for you have managed to bring about a revolution which was last seen in early 1900s when the Indians came together to throw away the yoke of tyranny of the British. Unfortunately you had to go through a terrible ordeal for us to have this awakening. Your suffering was the last straw on the camel’s back. Till then we would awaken to horror stories every morning, shake our heads in disgust and walk on.

But the day we woke up to your story, we could not walk on anymore. To hear that a girl was not just violated but assaulted in such a brutal manner gave vent to the anger and resentment we were holding inside ourselves. And we took to the streets. Castes and class divides were blurred as women from all walks came to ask for justice. Justice for you and what you went through, justice for lakhs of women who over the years have suffered, justice for those whose voices were suppressed for fear of humiliation, Justice for each one of us who face molesters everyday, justice for each and every woman of this country or even this world.

There were platitudes offered by the government, the actions of the culprits condemned, strong actions recommended but nothing could bring back the serene and hopeful life that had been cruelly snatched away from you. You still fought on, just like you had fought your attackers, holding on to life winning against all odds. And everyday thousand of prayers went in your name hoping against hope that you would survive.

But one day your precarious grip on life was lost. And you slipped away from us. You left us with courage, belief and a fight which we will fight till the end. Today every woman walking on the road is a fair play for the predators who live among us. Monsters who have no right to belong to the civilised society, men who are so depraved that their social and moral values are lost. We have been hit by water cannons in the Delhi chill, lathi charged, called dented and painted by some, advised to carry chilli powder in our purse, taken into police custody and harassed.

But we are not giving up. For this is not even a small percentage of what you went through but didn’t give up. Today we walk on the roads looking over our shoulders, worry about going home late in the night, fight molesters and gropers everywhere and when we take our complaints to the authority we face more insensitivity. This has to stop. Not just in metros and cities but in every small town and village were women are violated in the name of religion and tradition.

Too many have suffered for too long and we refuse to suffer anymore. The powers that be are hoping that we will forget this fight of ours, that this agitation will die down, that soon caught up in the daily grind of our lives, we will forget you. But this letter to say just that, you will remembered for you have immortalised the indomitable spirit of women.

Regards, Nirbhaya

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