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It’s not just the number of rapes being reported. It’s also the growing communalisation around it that bothers this author. Read this powerful refusal to succumb to communalisation!
Ania, just like the child from Kathua who was murdered recently, is an eight year old Polish girl who dreams of visiting India someday. She read about India in a National Geographic Book and ever since, she is learning more and more about India, planning towards making her dream come true. She loves me and reminds me of my bindi every time I forget to wear one. She loves mehendi, Indian food and yoga. For her, India is an amazing place full of lovely colourful people. I love to see her in my colourful dupatta draped as a sari and when she wears all my bangles at once all together and dances to kabhi khushi kabhi gham tunes.
Though I really wish for her dream to come true someday, I also feel apprehensive about it; I am not sure if I really want her to visit India. Yes, it is true. My country has remained good only enough in the books. It has turned into a rape country. For a moment, we can try to forget about all the discriminations we face as women and girls in this country on a daily and hourly basis. But how can we move on or ahead with such brutalities and cruelties? India has not remained a country for women and girls.
I want to tell Ania not to go there because India is not only about bindi, mehendi, colourful clothes, food and yoga. It’s beautiful in the pictures only. India is not a good place for girls now. Women are either goddesses or whores in my country. We can’t live the life of a normal human being. Largely, we have two kinds of women in India. Those who are raped and others who are not raped but who are constantly living in fear of rape. Those who are not raped plan their lives, dreams, careers, almost everything in their life in a way such that they can escape rape. This includes marrying early, changing one’s career stream, choosing ‘safe’ careers and safe lives according to prevalent social norms.
I want to tell Ania that there was a girl in my country who must have had some dreams in her eyes for her life too, but she has died. She was heavily sedated, kept in a Hindu temple, gang raped by at least three men and finally strangled and that now, I don’t see her resting in peace. She has died the most ignominious death. But I am sure I can’t tell all this to Ania, she is too young to understand what is rape. The poor child in Kathua had to go through a horror that can’t even be discussed with our kids.
When you are in a foreign land, you are frequently asked about your country. I struggle to say something positive about my country. I usually go into a subconscious or lost state of mind while they feel excited talking about India, its colours, festivals, food and culture. With such heinous crimes happening at a frequency that is becoming ‘normal’, how can one be positive? How can one be proud of one’s land with these recurring inhuman incidents? We the women of India are shaken to the core. We the mothers of India’s future generation are full of disgust and anger. We, the women of India no matter in which part of the earth we presently are, want to question the religious, social, and political authorities about what they are making of this land. We the women of India are one on these issues. We condemn the communal card this government is playing and turning India into a Hindu Taliban.
I am so ashamed that India has become a rape country with no respect for woman as normal human beings. We don’t want to be treated as goddesses and you dare not call us a whore. We stand together in this dark time and loudly say, WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS TOO. Forget about feminism if you don’t like or understand the term, learn some humanism at least.
I want to tell Ania that India’s conscience doesn’t speak for women. I feel angry as a daughter, as a mother, as a woman and as a citizen of India.
And for those who believe in ‘Vikas’ (Progress), I want to tell them that how India treats women is how the world is going to treat India in the future.