It’s a Friday night and as I sign off from work, my colleagues in different parts of the world wish me a good weekend and enquire about my plans for the evening. They ask if I’m going to grab a coffee after work or venture out for dinner. I glance towards the newspaper on my table and I say “Nah, I think I’ll go home”. As I hang up I cannot but feel the familiar burden of outrage, anger, frustration, fear and helplessness for the freedom we have lost. I pack up and leave for the day but my thoughts still linger on with the headline of the newspaper left behind “Four year old gang raped”.
At home, every news channel is debating the issue of women’s right – the panelists are good at this particular style of debating, they shout and outshout each other, each with a point of passion, demonstrated via meaningless repetition of the same word till one needs to gasp for breath and leaving the other to win the shouting match.
The next morning I wake up again to read the next series of horrors
- Writer murdered outside her home
- Australian tourist attacked in Bangalore for having a tattoo in the form of a God
- Two Dailt children burned to death
- Women molested in the heart of the city on New Years night
- Attempted kidnapping in a popular mall
I don’t think these remain a questions of women’s rights. Neither are these a matter of children’s rights. Nor is it a matter of the wide disparity between the poor and the rich. This is a society spiraling into an uncontrolled state of mental illness and mute inaction.
It’s a matter of the freedom to exist, without fear, without humiliation, without violation of one’s basic fundamental rights. With every rape, our society is raped – of our right to live with dignity and peace. And we have been raped now so many times now; it feels like individually we all want to stop these horrors that plague are society and are rampaging our own children but as a collective we are voiceless, a spineless set of selfish beings, growing immune to the rising scenes of torture and tribulation we witness day in and day out on National Television.
Every day there is a new low in the news. Just when you think the country has hit rock bottom there comes another dastardly act to shake you up and remind you that as you pray yourself to sleep, someone in your neighborhood is waking up to the misery of what has happened to them.
As a mother, I fear my daughter’s future greatly. If children who have barely learnt to walk can be so violently brutalized, then what safety exists? What morality exists? What humanity remains? The most frightening of all is the tolerance of this intolerance. The good people, and there are many, many millions in India, are mute spectators, retaliating in their minds, debating over their coffee and criticizing during their lunch breaks. Meanwhile the molesters and rapists and murderers meanwhile roam free, offering the next debate for National Television.
This is my India, the country I loved growing up in, the country my father and grandfathers fought for and the country I have brought a child into. I am unable to close my mind and heart any longer to the pain and sorrow of those who were wronged around me under the belief of not knowing what I can do. I struggle to carry on watching the intolerant pollute the tolerant and more generations grow up believing this is the way the world is. I want my daughter to learn respect and kindness and courage and chivalry (yes chivalry to offer and to expect) and to be once more of the generation whose words is their honor and whose mothers taught them to be good at heart before excelling in anything else
I read a quote somewhere “If all the mothers in the world met, there would be no more wars”. I truly believe that mothers can change the world and Light a Light hopes to be a small spark shining in the darkness. The world needs wiser and better parents – for in reality, after we are gone, what we leave our children are each other’s children.