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It has been 3 years today since the horrific rape and murder in New Delhi. So much has been said about it. But have things really changed? Is there any reason for hope? Akanksha Dureja writes an open letter to Nirbhaya.
It has become a kind of a ritual that I write to you or for you, every year on this date. Sometimes the words are published and set free in the universe, sometimes they rest in the quiet corners of my drafts. But, every year, I wonder what you must be going through right now. What your course of life would have been, had you just got an auto that night and reached home safe. What you felt during those horrific last moments, and a thousand other whats, hows and what-ifs. To all those questions, there might be different answers but only one thing resonates, that this country has failed you, in life, in death and in-between those two as well. If there were a fourth aspect to it, India would have failed you there as well.
To tell you the truth, nothing much has changed since you left. The media did its job of making a martyr out of you and naming you Nirbhaya, the fearless, but that’s about it. I was stupid to fall into traps of hope they gave us and maybe that’s why it hurts so much. You were made into a political agenda and all those politicians tried to use it to the best of their abilities.
Three years today, and one of the monsters who pulled out your intestines will walk out of custody in a few days’ time. And he’ll be handed over a sum of Rs 10,000 to start over. How we love our boys! Because, well, men will be men and they make mistakes, so what? That doesn’t mean they should be punished! If someone was old enough to rape, it doesn’t necessarily mean he is old enough to be punished! Wait, wasn’t that rape and murder, and ‘rarest of rare’ at the same time? Well, that bastard was two months short of being 18, so he wins. Yes, no questions asked. He gets his money and his life back. He makes his parents proud of giving birth to a boy. And your parents shed a million tears for the things you had to go through, and lead a life remembering and cursing the day, both at the same time.
India has not only failed you, my dear. It has failed all of us who prayed for you, who wanted you to live, who stood holding candles asking for justice and a change in laws. It’s possible to buy justice in this nation, but it’s not possible to let the rapists know that they are not wanted here. We will cajole them, serve them, defend them, until we feel they have been reformed. And reform, they don’t. I can’t believe it is so difficult to understand that. Sigh.
My tears don’t stop every time I think of you, and that’s not just on Dec 16th every year. You’re on my mind at many times. I wish I had known you while you were here. I got to know a little more about you through India’s Daughter and I am really thankful to Leslee Udwin for making the film. Once again, the nation couldn’t stand the fact that she dared to bring out the horrible faces and attitudes of the rapists out in the public. Those who feel they were protecting the (false) dignity of the nation by banning the film, don’t know that they were only protecting the identities of those rapists and the patriarchy entrenched deep. You, on the other hand were a nation wide phenomenon, and is there any really need to protect the dead?
I am sorry, Jyoti. India is no country for strong women like you. You chose a wrong nation to be born in, so technically, it was your fault. If there is reincarnation, be wise and choose a better country this time, a country which can protect you and give you justice. India is not that country because it loves it’s false honor and pride more than it’s real flesh and blood daughters.
May the scars heal and the memories fade.
India’s Another Daughter
Image source: flame by Shuttershock.
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Mostly Normal is a book of innocence, longing, filial love, angst and acceptance, encapsulating a gamut of human emotions within its lightweight edifice. The book touches the human heart and will stay with you.
Some books enthral you till the last page, and then there are those that you stop reading after turning a few pages. Some books are a one-time read, while you carry some books with you long after you have read them. Then, once in a while, a book hits you so close to home that you find it difficult to slot into any category.
I will put Priyadeep Kaur’s Mostly Normal (BookSoul Reads, 2022) in this last bracket.
At a little less than hundred pages, Mostly Normal is a testimony of the power of words to inspire, irrespective of their length.
Most women do not get to live their lives the way they want, on their own terms. So why should they be tied down in their old age?
Every morning, while dropping the kids at the bus stop, I find a grandfather waiting with his granddaughter. I see him again when I fetch the kids. This has been the pattern for the last few years.
He is seen actively participating in his granddaughter’s activities, from morning and evening walks to attending her parent-teachers meeting, sending her for extracurricular activities to even planning her birthday party. He is admired by all. He is appreciated for making himself useful in his old age. People rave that the doting grandfather is doing his duty towards his children and grandchildren. The much-admired grandfather is also a widower, having lost his wife years ago to chronic disease. It’s also to be noted that both his son and daughter-in-law are working parents.
Every day, the onlookers appreciate his sense of duty and dedication. They say that this is how the elderly should keep themselves occupied. They should bring up their grandchildren while their children go off to work.
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