Kathua, Unnao....Time for India to wake up

Kathua, Unnao....Time for India to wake up

Hyderabad, April 16, 2018

I saw her face in the photographs. If I had not seen her face, this probably would have been yet another incident or story that we are now getting used to hearing, until somebody we know or probably we ourselves are living the situation.
However, the piercing look of innocence in her eyes haunt me every moment. I am unable to work, sleep or walk without being reminded that it is our silence that led to her situation. Our habit is of forgetting an incident after all the hue and cry is over or until the next incident is doing its rounds in the media. It keeps us momentarily busy, doesn't it?
The picture of her lying face down in a dress similar to the one she wore in the picture when she was alive. I could hear her voice calling out to her mother and father or anybody else for help. Someone who would rescue her from the ordeal and trauma she was put through. A child of that age would never think about death even in her worst condition but of getting back to her parents' embrace.
The ruthlessness the brutes showed by raping her for the last time before smashing her head with a stone. A man who came all the way from Meerut to satisfy his lust after receiving a phone call from his friend. A 60-year-old conspiring and planning?
On December 16, 2012, it was another of India's daughters, the spark for "The Nirbhaya Act". Let's go back in time. Have we taken time post that incident, to think about it. India’s daughter was a girl who had aspirations, a family, a dream but did not get the right help when she needed it the most, neither did she live to see justice for herself. Yes, she is no doubt instrumental in the "Nirbhaya Act" taking shape as our lawmakers and government felt the pressure of common people reacting. Have you ever thought of what if we, the general public and media, did not raise our voice? Would there be a decision made? Fast Track courts, very good, we are in 2018, Nirbhaya’s rapists, the criminals are still behind bars, awaiting their death sentence. I feel it’s like a return gift a child gets after a party, it makes you feel nice, but you wonder what is its use.
Did it instil fear in the rapists? Post 2012 Nirbhaya incident, we have had the Shakti Mills gang-rape, Badaun gang-rape, rape of a 6-year old in Vibgyor High, Sivagangai minor rape case, 14-year-old raping a 3-year-old, 50-year-old mutilating the body of a 10-year-old, neighbour raping an 11-year-old, 15-year-old raping an 8-month-old. Now Unnao, Kathua, and several more reported cases, not to forget those that are not even reported. The father of the Unnao victim been beaten and thrashed to death. India is getting creative in rape and ways to delay justice to a rape victim and her family.
With each case, changes are made to the law. Our laws are still undergoing the process of evolution which is highly impacted by the demons of politics, influence, religion and the social stigma faced by the woman who, most of the time, is forced to give up and withdraw the case with fears of the never ending trauma she is subjected to.
They are all India’s daughters. Aren’t they? So let’s redefine the meaning of India’s daughter. Being an Indian female makes her eligible to be raped by the Indian man who could turn rapist as she is irresistible to him, to be shamed by fanatics, politicians and by those who feel she was responsible for what she was subjected to, a girl who eventually would be named "Nirbhaya" and for whom justice takes its own pace. 
The name "Nirbhaya". Seriously? Who are we trying to fool? Do you think that she for once did not feel the fear, pain and helplessness? The women and girl children in India are not Nirbhayas. We fear not, these cowards who we may have to face. However, we hate and fear the hypocrisy of our so called leaders who claim to lead us to a developed India while actually going centuries back in its attitude towards respect for women.
Nirbhaya meant a girl or woman who feared, was subjected through pain and whose cries were not heard when needed. A girl who didn’t get the justice or was not protected in her country or a girl who gave enough material to keep politicians, media and law makers busy until the next Nirbhaya was named. 
We have more Nirbhays - fearless rapists who know the law will take its own course and with the right connect, its pace will be slow enough to not affect their daily life. 
To the politicians who blame the other parties for conspiracy -- Grow up. Understand politics is not a game to be played but a responsibility to lead.
The cries of the eight-year-old in Kathua will echo through our country and her eyes will continue to pierce each of us. The innocent eyes which now probably would have the look of maturity, realising what she was subjected to. The tear filled eyes that say, Crime is a crime irrespective of gender, religion, politics, influence, status, power, whatever.
We are too trivial in life to give the chirpy deer, full of life, back to her parents. The least we could do is to give them justice. Give them the security from the religious fanatics and politicians who use religion as their mask and shield to cover their demonic acts.
We have heard the famous line, ‘No means NO’ and that’s just it. Nobody has the right to touch another person by force or without consent. 
India was known for her secularism and democracy. Not a country known for dictating what you eat, wear, speak or asking you your religion. Let’s not make the two words history.  Unite sensibly, not religiously.
Let India’s daughter be defined as a girl or woman who is living, safe and respected for her capabilities and for who she is. Let her be ‘Nirbhaya’. Living with no fear of being raped. 
Wake up! India.
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