August 09, 2015
This is an article written by me almost a year back when i was pursuing 2nd PUC in Deeksha College. This article was published in my college newsletter also. I hold this article close to my heart because I feel it is the first of my essays to satisfactorily transfer my emotions into words. In retrospect, I feel that i was moved by the happenings of that time and hence the powerful phrases.
I don’t know if I will ever be as inspired again.
I am a girl. To my immediate readers, I am a Deekshaiite. I am a student, a learner, a daughter and a sister. I am very important to many people in my life and I am my best friend. When ‘I am’ so many persons all at once, I am also scared…terrified. Scared… to step out without any fear, scared… to walk alone, scared… to use the public transport and terrified to trust anyone at all.
This ‘I’ symbolizes every woman and every girl of India today. And every ‘I’ of this country has a reason to be terrified. This fear arises due to the dirty mind and small thought of countless individuals. These men and their shameful deeds are multiplying like bacteria and spreading like slime on what was once a minimally respectable place for the women to live in.
Not that this is something new to the women of India. Indian women have always been living in a state that is somewhat lesser that that of men. May it be in education, child rights, marriage, and every possible right that was and is due to a woman, has been denied to her since time immemorial.
Just as we thought that we are being given opportunities to study, and people have begun to realize that a woman can perform every one of her domestic and work-related responsibilities more efficiently than a thousand men put together, our roads have become snares for any of us that steps out of our house.
What is the point of celebrating so many years of independence on 15 August each year, when half of the populace, or rather one fourth of the populace still, is not free from the shackles of fear? Wasn’t that what independence was all about? How can I be wholly proud of my country when the people in it are not proud of having an asset like me and respect me for what I am? How ironic it is to revere India as our Mother and then maligning her image by committing crimes so heinous?
Many of us have a habit of pushing the blame and responsibility on some higher body, the government, and hanging it upside-down every time something wrong happens. Though there are many things that this government still needs to do in this regard and we can question it, it is easy for us to forget that the cause for all of this, the filth in these abusers’ minds, starts just outside the victim’s house. This is, of course assuming that the girl’s home is free of this evil. When the people running the government are themselves plagued of such filthy crimes, how can we expect such lawmakers to make a law that rules against them?
Something must be done and something must be done today. Otherwise, our Mother India will crumble someday, and will not have the strength to pick the pieces up again.
It is high time we stitch up these gaping holes and try to make India whole again. Sensitizing children from the very beginning, banning films and songs that objectify women, making the police patrol all public places, teaching some form of self-defence to women and girls and enforcing strict punishment to the wrongdoers can possibly help to moderate the effects of these crimes.
The ideal way, is to of course, make the wrongdoers respect women and change their attitude towards them. But who is to counsel filth? Who will come forward? So, it is best in my opinion, not to waste time and money on these people, and to rather, enforce such law and order that at least makes them scared to commit such brutality. Why not try and shift our own fear and our own insecurities on them instead?
This, in reality, needs a lot of time. And that is what we do not have right now. Time is just slipping away from our hands, bringing with it in its wake more sadness and shame. Some forethought and some initiative to change the present scenario will help us to, if not reimburse the mistakes of the past, at least to expect a truly safe and developing democracy that will surely lead by example.
And until such a day dawns, when I can move freely without fear, when all girls get equal opportunity, and this creeping filth is eradicated just like small pox, I am and will be a student, a daughter, a sister who also has to live with a fear. Until such a day dawns, India will not know my potential, my true dreams and aspirations because they will be quelled by my own fear, even before I realize what I am made for and who…