Friday, January 4, 2013

Kill the cliché


We parents spend many sleepless nights. Nights when our little one just would stay wake after a bad dream or if she has been unwell, we would take turns to check on her. And 29th December was a night like that, but this time it was for someone else’s daughter and it was not just a bad dream.

Nirbhaya, Jyoti, Amanat or Damini however you would refer the young girl had lost her life the previous day.  This really shook me up. I am not saying that of the other cases of brutality doesn’t count - but it’s the sheer spitefulness with which she was tortured make it gut wrenching and unbearable. Reading or even worst imagining what happened to still sends shudders down my spine.

Today’s is the 5th of January and let me make a little prediction here, on what is going to happen over the next few weeks. The protests will fade away and people will slowly return back to normal life. The media would then be chasing yet another scam or a failed cricket series. Politicians would move on to yet another mud slinging match. At least one Bollywood studio would announce a movie based on this. Thanks to all the embarrassment shone so far on the establishment, the perpetrators would get closer to their march towards the gallows. And then, we’ll all move on with our lives.



Call me a cynic – we held candle light vigils after 26/11, we rooted for Anna Hazare, we were outraged for what happened to Jessica Lal, Priyadarsini Mattu and Arushi Talwar. But the sad truth is that once people leave the streets, media vans retreat and when we get back to our daily struggle – we forget. And the life goes on until the next one happens.

Yeah I know what you are thinking – this time it is different. That makes two of us, this time it is different for me too. Really? I am a woman, I have a daughter and I am from Delhi. This has hit me so hard, this time violence have come home – I do not know what is my dominant emotion here – anger, shame, distress, helplessness.

I know for a fact that if I want to see a Delhi where my daughter can move around without fear, I need this time to be different. We need to stand up and make a difference.

I am not going to let this one incident stop me, I will not let this fear shadow her future. I start with myself – with a bit of soul-searching. I am not going to wait for the change to happen; I am going to be the change I want to see.

Let us start respecting everyone and let’s stop this prejudice against the female gender. Let each one teach one - how to respect others!  Let’s keep the pressure on the government to do their part, but hey we can help too, by sensitising people around us, by standing up when we see someone being abused and by giving courage for the people who need them. It's not just about girls, even the boys are not safe in such a society!

I’ll start from my home. I am teaching my little one to respect everyone and at the same time she understands that she isn’t any lesser to anybody. And that she needs to stand up for herself, and if that means she spends time learning Karate, so be it.

Let us all try in our own little ways, to help ourselves and anyone who needs support. Let’s not just complain, rather take small steps to create the reality we want to see.

Let’s kill the cliché, and make this time really different. 

Image courtesy: google.com

25 comments:

  1. Well said, Sangeeta! It is the time to bring a lot of changes... changes in our attitude, changes in our laws, changes in our society, changes in our upbringing of our children... and a lot more. May these protests bring the much needed awakening at all levels.

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    1. I hope so too Shilpa but we all are to be blamed in some ways. Let us not fear the system rather challenge it. Everyone has to pitch in

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  2. I agree with your point. I find it ridiculous to shift every responsibility and blame on the government. I honestly have no faith in any of them, or even the law. But yes, the change that really needs to happen, needs to start with what we teach our kids and what we practice ourselves. More than a failure of the 'system', its the failure of our culture. To begin, we need to change ourselves.

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    1. So true .. The trouble is we are not spending as much time with our kids as our grandparents did. We expect the school to teach these values and conveniently pass on the buck on to others while it has to start from our homes.

      Let start in small ways saying No to giving bribe, helping distressed people on the road and not worrying about getting trapped into a police case!

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  3. i totally agree with u sangeeta..more than anything else ,its time to introspect ourselves , our society...

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    1. Absolutely Alka and I am hoping this time many of us will do that!!

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  4. I agree, Sangeeta, this is the time to rise above clichés and do something concrete. I am a mother of a daughter and never felt so insecure as I feel now! I always promised myself to give my daughter a free life, let her follow her own heart. But now I fear, for her safety, for her honour, her life and I may have to keep her (over)protected under my wings as my mother did for me.

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    1. true Meenakshi keep them safe till they can take herself. Let's promise not to make them weak but instead teach them to be strong individuals with good education and classes in self-defence!

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  6. The feeling of helplessness has hit home very hard. Education is the key. If every citizen is educated, only then this menace can be curbed. My opinion, solely :)

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    1. I agree Aditya education will help us start that change we want to see.

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  7. Very well said Sangeetha....Another incident will gain prominence soon and this one would fade away as you rightly pointed out but yes, now is the time to change and we need to be the change.....

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    1. Jayashree - it's so heartening to see that plenty us agree that the situation must change, gives a hope to our future :)

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  8. Its not about being a cynic , its what happens and we have seen it time and again over how things works and what happens.

    The same people who saw the girl laying on the road probably crying for help, and DID nothing they will be their again at the NEXT incident WATCHING and doing nothing ..
    I dont beleive that the rally's or morchas or things like that will make any difference , I have seen Thousands take place been part of some too,

    Things will only improve if THAT PERSON who is WATCHING does something, They take the step to HELP the girl/boy .. when that happens thats when things will start to change

    IT IS US, you me and everyone who have to take the step, When i was on a visit to india and got involved in a incident, the hassle i had to go through, the6-7 days of the two weeks of holidays went in that hopefully has not stopped me, next time I am in india and i see something Hopefully God will give me the strength to do the right thing..

    the sad part is that we know the faces of the rapists but we dont know the faces of those people who do nothing other than WATCHING.. its those who are the worst and its them we need to be afraid of..

    fingers crossed that day is not FAR when each of us will wake up and actually do something about the situation ..

    Bikram's

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  9. Bikram - Infact this incident made me think what would I have done .. would I have stopped by or not !! I am not really sure about that, but all I know is my conscience would not have let me be in peace if I had ignored them. And I know what I would do the next time I see anyone in distress, I will not think twice before reaching out to help them.

    I am not going to fear system and let my conscience take charge!!

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  10. I hope your thought will materialize into a reality.. such inhumane and heinous act should go without making any change in the desired direction.. Time to learn the lessons.. Great post..

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    1. Deepak - All we need many more of us thinking on the same lines and I have a feeling this is possible .. I think the start has be from our homes, talking openly about this incident to our parents, our daughters and sons, brothers and sisters, house-help, car-washing boy, watchman or our house-help.

      If not now, then it will never happen!

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  11. well written sangeeta..changes should begin from home...If all are aware and take this step...people will have a peaceful life..

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    1. Very true Manjooo .. We need to instil faith in our kids too, they need to know that no matter whatever happens we will standby them.

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  12. Well, it's high time that women stand up for their rights. It's all too easy to speak but not take action. What happened to this woman is appalling and disgusting. If nothing but talk is done, it will in no doubt happen to you, your daughter, your mother, sister or auntie in a matter of time.

    I hope you don't mind me saying this as I mean no offense but teaching your children self defence is great BUT if you live in a society where it is normal for a woman to be raped or attacked then all the self defence in the world will not mean a thing. I enjoyed reading your post very much.

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    1. RPD - It's not just about women, even young boys need to understand that this can happen to them also. Visit a hospital and you will be surprised how many cases of boys being violated turn up nowadays. With the male to female ratio so poor even boys are not spared.

      All this has talk has made so many of think and I really believe that you can make difference. If you can talk to people within your environment and I mean not your friends and family alone. Start with your maid, car-washing boy, security guard or drivers. Let them know the law, their rights. It is very easy to say nothing will change, unless we all start trying we will get no where.

      You will be surprised that a child in India is more vulnerable to sexual abuse in his/her domestic environment than on the road.

      I agree maybe teaching self-defence is not enough but atleast they will good fight. Look at the case the 23 yr old gave a tough fight, tried to save her male friend, eventually lost the battle to 6 but woke up the conscience of million hearts.

      We need to tell people and kids - this behaviour of treating others as animals has to stop!

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  13. I know exactly what feelings you are talking when hearing about something where you hail from or live close by. Just like the incident in Delhi, which I will get to shortly, in the US, which you might know as it was spread globally, there was a school shooting where 20 young children, ages 6-7, the principal, psychologist and 4 teachers were brutally murdered by a mentally ill gunman, who also killed his own mother. I live 15 minutes away from where that incident took place and the feelings were very surreal as if you were part of it. So I totally get it.

    As for the Delhi incident, I felt very sad and pretty ashamed that this had happened. That girl is the same age as me, very young and was pursuing a great career as a medical doctor and now all hopes for this girl is gone due to a bunch of idiots. On top that her poor family is robbed of someone who could have contributed something meaningful. However, it was said several times that women need to stand up and fight for themselves rather than allowing themselves to become victims or taken advantage of as in India it's very common. However it is slowly changing, feminsism is spreading and hopefully it'll make India better for women than it is. Still seems like in some places, men will always top over women, and in India, women are not treated as they should be. We are human beings too!

    I always felt women never dared to stand up for them due to things like culture, society and other stigma, but still that's just wrong you are giving your husband and perhaps in some cases the in laws the chance you take advantage of you. I read sometime ago in India there was a poll about whether it is good to beat your wife, and 52% of them said it's ok to beat your wife :(. If you need it to stop, be courageous to stop it, otherwise you'll easily be run over.

    Another issue is obviously the gov't who sometimes doesn't take action. Too much lack of regulation and corruption. Another incident where that 17 year old girl went to report she was raped and NO ONE did anything..and because of that, she killed herself :(

    I'm glad India is in the process of change and props to everyone who is fighting agaisnt this sexual violence etc..will always keep this girl in my thoughts and prayers. Can't believe something like this can happen.

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    1. Absolutely J - Good formal education, awareness about the domestic violence law, sex education at school and counselling will be key to this change. It breaks my heart to see people treating fellow human beings as animals.

      We have to remember this incident, otherwise there is no scope of improvement for if we forget the mistakes that have happened previously.

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