Monday, December 31, 2012

Identity Unpurified

By Vidya Bhushan Rawat

The victim of Delhi assault is no more. Last night she breathed her last in a hospital in Singapore. It was rare that the prime minister and UPA chairperson received the body at the airport. The history is changing these days and in these time people’s pressure is visible on the government and they are showing some sensitivities though the police in Delhi was forcing her parents to take the body to their home town in Balia for cremation. And finally the she was cremated silently and secretly with in hours after reaching Delhi. Maybe, the government knew that if the cremation was not done immediately, it could spark further violence and tension.

This incident has brought us many facts of life. That India still lives in the Dark Age which has no respect for women and our political class does not have ideas of how to deal with a changing nation which is young and want its answer at the earliest. The bureaucracy and politics drag on an issue till its die as they wait for the patience of the people to die and let the issue submerged in the din. Many feel that people do not remember things and hence politicians reap benefit of this ‘forgetfulness’ of people but things are changing now and it would be difficult for them to ignore these issues. And let me clear, it is not the issue of Delhi or Mumbai. It is not the issue confined to one particular caste as many of the comments on social networking sites have been bringing issues of people who suffer and ‘we’ have not spoken on that. Some brought the issue of ‘Dalit’ and many other things. Yes, it is well known fact that people do not speak on everything and those who are bringing the other issues to compare do not speak but some time an incident ‘provoke’ and ‘compel’ us to think and ponder over as what went wrong. The Delhi incident in real sense has forced the entire country to think. May be at least at the governance level, some understanding will help us secure our public spaces for women. As a society we need to do more and not just ask for better laws but we ourselves would have to change and the beginning must be made from the way we nurture our children. Nobody, know the caste of the girl and the protests are not happening because the girl is from this caste or that community. Yes, it is happening because the streets of Delhi are not safe for women and Delhi women have equal right to protest as women anywhere. Political parties will use it but there are certain issues which are not easy to be used by them. And this is one of that. Ofcourse, the media will only go where there is an event and what could be a better place than a protest at India gate or Raiseena Hills.

Yes, from ‘dented and painted’ thoughts of Abhijit Mukherjee, son of an illustrated father to another public person from West Bengal whose absolutely denigrating comment on Mamta Benerjee are thoughts from ‘enlightened’ Bengal. How can a Hindutva votary left out so he wrote a letter to Chief Secretary in Rajasthan asking him to stop wearing of skirts by the girls in the schools and colleges. A woman ‘intellectual’ in Madhya Pradesh shamed everyone who was present in the seminar on ‘women’s Empowerment’ when she decried the girl suggesting that she should not have resisted so that her life would have been saved. Yes, the common reference in these conditions is why should a girl ‘travel’ in the night but this time, she was travelling with her male ‘friend’. Some also brought the story of her ‘link’ with one of the accused. The question is why should you rape and kill a person who disagree with you and does not want to be part of your ‘fanciful’ ‘possessive’ world. Why can’t we allow peaceful parting even if such thing happening because a large number of cases in India are because men become possessive of the women and do not even want her to talk to others. The times are changing and to think of a girl who will wait for her husband in the evening when he return home from ‘work’ and get ‘hugged’ or ‘kissed’ are remote when both the partners work for survival and better life style.

Now the girl is no more and everyone is giving her a different name. You are praying for a ‘brave heart’ but why don’t we reveal her identity. One can understand that it is a complicated social problem when the revealing of the name of the victim isolates her further but that is the crux. When will we take on the society? We protest against the government for changing laws but we are not really keen for a social change. We want to protect these customs and rituals given to us by age old retched system where a girl loses everything if she is touched. My question is simple from those moralist like Sushma Swaraj who said that the girl would be ‘jinda lash’ whether there is need to change our social mental framework or not? Yes, in life, this brave girl fought and wanted to live. Yes, good that we protected her identity but why? It is simply because; we wished to keep her safe from future isolation in society. Today, when the girl is no more we refuse to reveal her identity and just justify the Sushma Swaraj perception about a woman. Our women will have to oppose and reject this nation. Rape will happen as it is the last resort of the powerful people to rein in on the helpless to dehumanize them. A rapist must be shamed and get maximum punishment but what about the victim. The entire focus on the ‘rape’ debate is around the ‘accused’ because that is where we expect the government to act but what about our own self? Don’t we need to change as a society? Why are no questions asked from this brahmanical disorder where women are an ‘object’? Will we object to being ‘favicol’ or ‘munni badanaam huee’? Will we object to those denigrating advertisement which sale ‘beauty’ product and define how women should look and grow? Is there not a pressure on women being isolated?

Various media associations and unions have send guidelines about the reporting of girl’s funeral and her ‘privacy’ being ‘respected’. At the time when the entire country has moaned her and called her ‘India’s daughter’, prayed for life, she is no more. The country must know her struggle and her valiant fight. She must get her legitimate due, an acknowledgement from the government and society. Why do we strengthen those stereotypes which makes a rape victim ‘jinda laash’. This brave heart is a role model for others and hence we cannot kill her identity just because she was raped. It is time; we honor her struggle, her fight for dignity and self-respect. Will it not be the greatest irony that a woman who has inspired the entire nation from her spirited fight for life is allowed to die unknown and her whole heroic struggle goes in vein because we are unable to challenge our patriarchical structure? It will be sad if we continue to reinforce those ‘values’ which kills a woman’s identity on being violated and make her ‘walking corps’. It is time to wake up and assert that a woman cannot be allowed to die whether alive or in death just because she has been violated. If we are unable to come up against such notion then I would only say that natural justice has happened to this girl as it would have been difficult for her to survive in this society which would have been killing her daily. We have only legitimized and justified those values and beliefs which believe that a woman become ‘walking corps’ if violated and has no life. Can we call our self a civilized society and a nation when we are still sticking to these prejudices?

How long will we kill the dignity of woman who faces such ignominy after being violated? The girl who fell to these brutal rapists has been named as ‘Damini’, ‘Nirbhaya’ and ‘Amanat’ but lost her identity with that mishap of her life which was not her fault. There are hundreds of other women living such life in absolutely miserable isolation and die every moment of their life. Will this incident or its outcome ensure that they too live a life of dignity and honor? Will they be able to walk with their head high where none ask those questions that kill them every now and then? India you need a complete overhaul and not just a few laws to look a society which respect women and give her dignity and self-respect. Let us moan the death of this brave girl but the best tribute to her will be when we will allow her ‘original’ name to be out so that people learn to live with it and tell their children particularly daughters that being violated is not end of life as it is not she who should be ashamed of but the person who violate a woman. It is sad that the girl who fought valiantly for her dignity is allowed to die unknown and unnamed. It means as a society we do not want to change as we only want governance system to be changed but not ourselves. I wish the sooner this society is demolished the better for the world of humanity. No humanity could be built on this hypocrite society which victimize the victims and refuse to change despite so much of pains and traumas it has brought in our lives.

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