Sunday, December 30, 2012

From Dreams to Death in Delhi

Dreams, hope and aspiration followed by rape, assault and eventual death. We don't cry for every death. There are billions of people in this world and hundreds of thousands die every day. And here. a girl, a stranger who died almost two days ago and most of us can't stop mourning for her. What makes her special?

She was 23 year old, delicate and beautiful like a rose petal. A medical student with a potential of saving many lives. She was probably in love aspiring to make a family someday. She was a daughter who had made her parents proud and held their fragile dreams with affection and responsibility. She was deceived, repeatedly raped and assaulted inside a bus by six men on Dec 16, 2012. She was brave enough to retaliate but was feeble and tired to continue to fight against the oppressors. Even when she was left to die, she tried her best to survive with broken organs until it was just impossible. Usually, people are brought back to their homes when they are about to die, she was sent outside her motherland to die. She transitioned to another world, hopefully a fairer and painless world, while the evil triumphed and my God watched.

A good reason for national advocacy for the women's rights and a great lesson for the girls who aspire to be independent and dare to stand up against so very strong and cruel men.

I wonder how many girls in and around India had to hear a caution about not going out because of what happened. Yes, innumerable people in Delhi are on the roads full of rage against the rapists but how many of them are feeling more committed towards women empowerment in India?

A lot of inspiring talks are happening but how many women are feeling more confident to be out on the road, how many parents are more comfortable of letting their daughters live independently? I wonder if the  slogans, poems, blogs, speeches are more powerful or the silent fear which is further strengthened in hearts of girls and their well wishers as a result of this horrible event?

Next time I am in Delhi, will I be comfortable to go shopping by myself after a certain time or will I think twice? Forget about late evening, even during the day, next time I am surrounded by two men in a shop or a bus, what would go through my mind? This event has certainly left greater fear in my mind for myself and my cousins and I am pretty sure I am not alone who is feeling this way.

So how do we make this event go beyond inspiring words and fleeting protests? How do we make sure that my brother would feel comfortable if I choose to decide my schedule based on my needs rather than social limitations based on fear? What would make me fearless or at least fear less?

Change in the laws, better police, new conversations in homes, empowered girls and what else? And most importantly, how would we get there? How do carry this debate beyond this tragedy? How do we turn this debate into actions, actions that go beyond a certain socio-economic section/s of the society? What does Bombay have that Delhi does not?

Is this only about physical safety or also about dignity? What are some indicators of gender equality and how do you inject them in a society? How long does it take? Will I be able to see it realize for my nieces growing up in Delhi? Would we as a society be able to answer the call and honor this death in Delhi? 

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