A letter to my Indian sisters--Fight for your rights

Written by: Arundhuti Gowda

Hello, My dear sisters! Hope all of you are doing well? I know all of us won't have an affirmative answer. I know we are living in a difficult time. I know our existence itself is under threat. Repeated violence against us has shocked the entire nation.

Perhaps in our "Independent Existence" (after India got its freedom from British dominance) for the first time we are openly condemning and protesting against the rise in violence against women. Women in Indian society are a vulnerable lot. Right from the four walls of a house to office space, fear is looming large everywhere.

But, this is the time when we should not let fear intimidate our existence. We have to rise and start a march towards freedom in unison. Our fight can't be fought in isolation. It needs collaborative effort. It needs to be continuous. What we saw in the national capital during last one month, where voices of dissent and anger merged together on the streets, need to be channelised. We can't let that anger die a premature death.

Students' protest

We can't miss this opportunity. If we miss, we are going to script our own doomsday. If we are not granted justice and freedom now, I fear we won't get it anytime in the near future. A revolution which was initiated in the wake of the gruesome gangrape and murder of a 23-year-old paramedical student in the national capital should be carried forward till justice is not delivered. Otherwise, we would be committing a grave injustice to her (the victim), to ourselves (women of India) and to our future generations. Can we afford it?

No, we can't and mustn't. And, why should we? In our individual capacity, everyday we are fighting our own battles (these battles might be small). Small or big, battle of existence can't be put in a compartment to weigh their value. All our battles are priceless. For we fight for our existence, our life and our liberty. In those battles, however, somewhere we forget to carry the battles of others. So, perhaps they become too individualistic and disconnected.

The dawn of 2013 saw women in the national capital marching out of their houses, holding placards and shouting slogans. "Justice for the Victim" has become a slogan for every household. But, the regularity with which atrocities are committed against women/girls have left us all shattered. Even a simple act of stepping out from our house has started sending a chill in our veins.

The land of "Jhanshi ki Rani" looks weak and meek today. Fear and panic loom large in every woman's mind. What next, who will be the next target? One can never anticipate what awaits and where? Helplines have been made active asking citizens, especially womenfolk, to seek help. But, how far they are going to function? How effective they are going to be? These are difficult questions to answer.

The large number of rape incidents reported in the recent past have hugely damaged the country's reputation at international platform. Every city, be it the national capital of the country or any other metros, nowhere women can be presumed to be safe. A woman is always at par with her male counterpart, except that she might be physically docile as against a man who therefore is always considered as her protector. Men play several roles in the life of women, as father, brother, husband or mitra (friend).

Existence of human life is a saga of men and women living together and running a society. A country where a woman's dignity was considered as the highest manifestation has culminated into a land of everyday brutality. It's a shame on everyone of us.

Shame should not impose fear in us. We have to end this saga of everyday shame. We have to come out in the open and voice our displeasure against all crimes committed against women. Be it rape, dowry torture or domestic violence, time to end all crimes perpetrated against us. Even the slightest of provocation against our dignity and self-respect should be protested.

Don't remain a mere spectator to the crime committed against you or anyone else. Help the victim, raise the alarm, seek support of the law. Even if law ignores your grievances, don't give up. Seek repeated redressal to your problem. One or the other day, the deaf system will listen and provide us justice. Ours is a long battle. But, we have to start somewhere. Let us start our fight now itself. Maybe next time when we meet and interact, we will have positive stories to share. Hope a better time will dawn soon. Hope a better life begins for all of us.

(Arundhuti Gowda is a Citizen Journalist. The views expressed in this article are those of the author.)

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