Today we have lost.
Let us not pretend otherwise. The struggle to punish the rapists is another facet, but as a community, we have lost our symbol of hope. Emotions are outpouring all over India and even worldwide. When
My tears haven't stopped. Overwhelmed with grief like nothing. As the news is sinking in, the sorrow deepens. Maybe if the small steps were undertaken, like the night patrolling of the PCR or checking of the licensing , this incident , and perhaps events such as these would have been avoided. It wasn't an indefeasible act, that the Nature had played on to the people. It was done by one among us and only if the rapists had a fear of God or that of the government, this incident would not have had taken place. The girl would still be saved.
Do you think it was only her, or only the victims that surface to the news tabloids are the ones suffering? Ask every woman you know, if she has faced some kind of harassment or not. I have and I unfortunately have not come across one woman who hasn't been sexually harassed in way or the other. God knows how hard I have tried to not write anything about the Gang-rape incident and thought being silent and introspection would help me find peace. But Nirbhaya's death today, broke me down. I cried like I have never cried before. I went to the bathroom, turned the tap on and screamed and screamed till I could only hear my heartbeat numbing my eardrums.
No, it is not to say that the struggle has died with her. It certainly hasn't, but I fear that it'll end up as "one of the incidents" that the state is ashamed of and thus will try and erase from public memory in the coming times.
I am sick of the looks that I am given, the way certain men stare and ogle. I hate the way I see my girl-friends get into relationships where men use them and then throw them away after sleeping with them. I call myself strong and independent and all other things, but the truth is, I too have faced harassment by people who look from decent families. What then is the marker to understand that the man you are about to meet might end up raping you?
I am a girl. I live in the metropolitan city. And although we daughters are being brought up "like sons", the sons are not taught and brought up with the sensibilities that we as daughters are taught. We have known how female infants are unsafe inside a mother's womb. But now we see how we are unsafe even as we struggle out at every step, as if living itself for us women is a struggle!
Every time I have set out of the house, I have looked at myself in the mirror twice. Not to see if the kohl is smudged or the lipstick is a shade lighter. I have done so to make sure I look absolutely covered. That my shirt button has been properly clasped, that my chunni is draping my bust properly or if my jeans are too tight. Why? Why can I not wear what I want? Why do I have to think about who would look at me and think what? Why do I pay income tax and obey Constitutional laws if I am not protected by the Government?
On one hand I hear so much about unemployment and on the other, we find a shortage of officials in the Indian Government. I remember strolling in the Central Park in New Delhi few days ago with a friend. Although the park has Six exits, considering it is a huge park situated in Cannaught Place, only One exit is open. My friend explained: " See, there are people employed, not that they are not. But there aren't enough. The ones employed are in charge of the security as well as to check the couples etc and people who dump garbage in the park."
To which I asked why more people cannot be employed so that the gates can be opened. He replied," Arre, government ke paas paisa thodei hai inko dene ko!" (The government does not have enough money to provide salaries to more employees.) I smirked to that comment, considering the amount of transactions that I keep hearing of in both the State as well as the Central government. Where does the God forsaken money go? Imagine! The rape would not have occurred if there was security on that isolated stretch of road!
The protests right after the occurence of the gang-rape has amazed me. Not just amazed but strengthened my hope.Call it a play of destiny, but I came to Mumbai during this time and sitting here and glued on to the News channels I feel so terribly helpless. I want to shreik and shout, I want to add my voice to the roaring crowds, face the water cannons and wet my face with the tear gases. I saw the horrific manner in which the protesters were drawn out of the India Gate lawns, while only a handful of the violent protesters could have been easily shunned. Here is an account I found, circulating on Facebook.
I am appalled at the lop-sided relay of events and incomplete images being telecast by some of the NEWS channels on TV, regarding the incident that happened at India Gate yesterday at around 5:30 PM.
I was there. We were all on the other side of India Gate towards the Dhyan Chand Stadium.
I think I need to paint the correct picture for the nation. Except for CNN IBN and NEWS X, most other channels are not showing the peaceful gathering. Thus it gives out the wrong message to the nation, to the politicians, to other women that there was violence.
Please pass on this note to as many people as you can and post it at as many places.
THERE WAS NO VIOLENCE NO PROVOCATION…THE POLICE ATTACKED WITHOUT ANY WARNING. I have been through section 144 earlier. At least there should have been one warning issued to us to get up and leave, peacefully, before they started hitting us.
Ms.Naina Kapur, of VISHKHA GUIDELINES fame, was there with me. Ms.Smita Bharti of SAAKSHI, an NGO working on SEXUAL HARASSMENT on women, was there. Ms.Nafisa Ali was standing behind us, Mr.Arvind Kejriwal was sitting just two rows in front of me, Mr.Arvind Gaur of ASMITA THEATER GROUP was there asking all the people to sit down and listen to the talks.
There were about 200-250 girls and equal or more number of men of all ages. There were young girls, some children, families and some elderly people along with hoards of photographers, journalists and reporters.
WE WERE ALL SITTING ON THE ROAD PEACEFULLY and listening to the painful account, of the mother of ‘KIRAN NEGI’, a 3 yr old who has been brutally raped and disfigured and killed, by her attackers. Even the sloganeering had stopped.
Many young and old men of Delhi were standing around us in a 3-4 layer human chain to protect us from any hooligans or nasty elements. It was like a CHAKRAVYUH.
Members of the ASMITA THEATER GROUP, including Mr.Gaur, were constantly walking around the circle. Young boys and girls of his team were repeatedly requesting and talking to people to not resort to violence, not to panic or run or throw stones, not to damage public property, AND not to hurt or abuse the female protestors.
There were many volunteers distributing biscuits and water to every protestor.
We were talking to the ‘AAM JANATA’ of Delhi on how to tackle the violence on women and children starting from ourselves, our homes and communities.
WE WERE SIMPLY TALKING.
I had just finished my packet of biscuit when the police, hundreds of them from DELHI POLICE and RAF, charged at us from behind, WITHOUT ANY WARNING.
They first attacked the men from behind, breaking their CHAKRAVYUH. I stood up to see what the commotion was about, and immediately fell as most girls didn’t get enough time to stand up. I hugged Smitaji as we fell on each other and there was a stampede over us.
Some of the men from the circle ran for their lives, but most of them ran towards us and hugged us and fell on us and took the initial blows of the LATHI CHARGE.
I couldn’t see anything; I just heard the two cracks of a SPLIT BAMBOO STICK on my back, butt and thighs. Then I heard the police screaming, HARAMZADIYON, RANDIYON, and then I saw a boot kicking my knees and shin.
They hit Smitaji on her lower-back and spine. The boys of ASMITA, and some more men pulled us all up and all of them formed protection girdles around the girls to push us out of the range of the water cannons and charging men in KHAKI AND BLUE.
Visibility was poor due to fog and tear gas; many girls were hit; even when we were running away and saying, “Ham jaa rahen hain, hame mat mariye”,…. they were hitting the boys rampantly, constantly spitting abuses on the girls. Many women reporters were also hit and chased, their vans attacked, equipments broken. Some girls still managed to pull a few lathis and gave it back to the men. I don’t know what happened to the children in the group and how the aunties in saris managed to run. I just hope they are all well.
There was not a single ambulance in sight; the entire C- Hexagon of India Gate was empty, barring the police. We walked for almost 45 min, as there was no way out from the outer circle. Finally we managed to duck behind press vans and escaped via Shahjahan Road.
Do I look like a hooligan? Was I armed? Was I provoking the police or creating a nuisance? Was I resorting to violence, by sitting there and listening to, or sharing our personal grievances of Sexual harassment and assault? You judge for yourself.
Agreed, that in such gatherings, some nasty elements do infiltrate and create a raucous, but the police didn’t seem to have the basic sensibility to differentiate between hooligans and some young girls, children, and elderly people.
If the Delhi Police and RAF lack the basic cognizance to recognize the good from bad, what protection can we expect from them? Instead I thank the men of Delhi, the boys of Delhi, who helped all the girls to escape from the wrath of THE POLICE.
I request the people who were present there, to paint the correct picture, so that Mr.Manmohan Singh, Mr.Shinde and others would get the correct picture of what happened on the ground.
I request the PM and the Home Minister to believe that “I, the woman of India,” am not violent or the ‘Shame of the nation’... that we have to be ashamed that the world is watching. I was not offensive. But I will definitely stand up again to defend myself, my mother, my daughter and my kind. Let the world watch.
ANOTHER WITNESS ACCOUNT
"आज जो राष्ट्रभक्त प्रदर्शनकारी थे वो बार-बार कह रहे थे की हमें शांति से प्रदर्शन करना है और वो हर जगह बैठ कर प्रदर्शन कर रहे थे तभी पीछे से पथराव चालू हो गया। जब अति हो गई तो कुछ पथराव करने वालों को राष्ट्रवादी प्रदर्शनकारियों ने धुनाई करी और तब 2 बातें सामने आई
1. उनके जेब से "मैं आम आदमी हूँ" की टोपी मिली
2. वो NSUI के कार्यकर्ता निकले
इन दोनों को ऊपर से निर्देश था की प्रदर्शनकारियों के बिच घुस कर इस तरीके से पथराव करो ताकि इस आन्दोलन को जल्दी ख़तम किया जा सके गन्दा आन्दोलन का रूप दे कर
और ये सारी घटनाओं का मैं प्रत्यक्षदर्शी हूँ।
विनीत एक भारतीय "
We all feared that the movement would now get deterred. But no, it did not. What emerged out of this, was a silent movement- that did not need a large crowd or arrangements of any kind.
I am amazed at the quiet anger I see in the crowd. Thousands of men and women, boys and girls, mother fathers, grandparents and strangers- all gathered with a poise that has hitherto been seen. No one wants to seek attention, no one wants to exhibit the anger. With Nirbhaya's death. the ache and the loss is felt in the silence. When so many people gather and simply sit in silence, without making motivational speeches or questioning the government, but simply mourn in shame and solitude, That is a Movement. And such movements can linger on with much more effect than the countless sporadic episodes of Hooliganism or Shrilling protests.
This way the protesters this time around did not give a handle to the state or the police to end the protests. What is incredible is that the people gathered do not belong to any specific organisation but are commoners..The Aam Junta who wish to reflect, introspect and explore and discuss. Which is truly, the need of the hour- to explore the two binaries of what is wrong 'within' us, as well as the society and the police and state at large.
About how we define what 'Justice' is and that while pertaining to Justice for Women, those who are committed to the idea of women's freedom cannot be the same people who advocate the present societal patriarchal approach. I find a need for collective consciousness from the people of India with the episode of Nirbhaya and think of the hundreds of Nirbhayas who are tortured to death everyday. This should be a watershed for We, the People to take this opportunity to think and to change our thinking.
This is an opportunity for the State to stand up to the expectations of the Nation. To make stringent laws for the Sexual harassment and rape cases. To understand that rape does not only happen when the male inserts his organ into the female's. It happens the moment a stranger touches her or even stares at her wrongly. Pepper sprays should be freely available and distributed which should be lawfully made to be usable whenever the girl is harassed. Fast courts should be able to act swiftly especially for the rape cases. Accountability of the Police should be sought with immediate effect.
It is for the society to act, whenever something of this sorts, happens. People should react more often. They should tell the guy to stop if he is staring lustfully at a girl. We need a zero-tolerance campaign in which no form of harassment should be tolerated.
All things said and done, we must remember that even Charity begins at home. We must take this opportunity to look inward, see the little things by which discrimination is done in our homes on a daily basis and how without a conscious effort, the rights and freedom of the women int he household are curbed.
On an outward level, we must explore how The Judiciary, The State and The Police have existing gender-just laws and how they can be made more stringent such as making sexual harassment a non-bailable offence.
"I felt hopeless and helpless. I didn't want to live anymore. The conditions for my treatment were very difficult. Once everything else had failed, I decided to use my face. If you can stare at a picture of a pretty woman then you can look at my burnt face too. If I recover, I want to help people like me. It's very easy for victims of acid attacks to swallow poison but I made the choice to stand up and scream and shout against the violence. I have had 22 operations and nine more are remaining, so that at least my eyes and ears are functional. If I recover, I want to help people like me. I was really close to graduating before the attack. Now I have a dream of going back to university and getting a degree and learning to do more on the computer."- Sonali Mukherjee, whose face was burned in an acid attack by a man as a 'punishment', after his marriage proposal was turned down. The attackers were given 9 year imprisonment.
Some men claim that a woman dressing provocatively makes it all ok when they rape her because she was teasing a weak man and if she didn't want it she wouldn't dress like that. I appreciate that not all men rape and it would be silly to say otherwise, but that does not negate the statement in the picture.
Dear Indian Government,
Crying on television is not the answer! Beef up as much security as you wish to. Remember one thing, we have made you. The men and Women of India have made you this powerful. And you have been testing our patience for too long now. We will make sure we bring you down.
Yesterday while attending the Silent Protest March in Mumbai, I heard an old man in a corner roar in a shaky tone:
"Rone se kuch haasil nahi hoga,
Aye Aurat inqalaab bol!
Awaaz de us mard ko,
band kiwaade khol re, khol re" before he broke into tears as I held on to my banner that read,
We Won't Cry and Forget
We Will Remember Instead..
And Better You Do not Forget,
We Condemn Rape!
Some News Pieces to Ponder upon: