Government by the people, for the people?

Written by: Paromita Majumder

August 1942

The Quit India Movement is gaining force. The British will have to go now. Everywhere the scene is the same. Roads have been blocked. People are not being allowed to go out of their houses. Even if they manage to come out on the streets, they are being stopped by the police. The British have panicked looking at the huge support the movement has gained. The horror has shaken the people finally. People of India have spoken. They are not asking for their freedom politely anymore. If it is not given, it will be taken. People are being beaten brutally as the police try to suppress the agitation. Justification given for the brutality is too futile.
Finally after all this agitation and protest India got its freedom on 15th August 1947. Battle Won.

My readers, don't think that I am taking a history class.

People united under an unified banner and the banner was of Independence.
Independence from oppression.
Independence from tyranny.
Independence from colonial rule.

We Indians are too proud of our fight for Independence. But did we really achieve independence? Men did but we women did not.

Women Safety

After the brutal rape of a 23-year old woman in a bus in Delhi, everything else is non-existent. The only thing edged in the minds of the commoners in Delhi is justice. Finally the people took to the streets on 22nd December 2012. But people were stopped and brutally beaten even when the march was a peaceful one. Tears followed. People shivered. Injuries bleed. But still the government did not relent. On 23rd December 2012, the government shut the public transport down. All major roads were barricaded. The borders of Delhi were sealed. The scene at India Gate was horrendous. People were being beaten brutally as the police tried to suppress the agitation. Nobody was spared. The voice of the people was being suppressed in the worst form.

Is this what we call democracy?

In my previous article "Alive in a metro?", I wrote that if the men of the city have become animals then the rule of the jungle needs to be followed. I firmly believe in this. But what I saw at India Gate and Vijay Chowk shook the core of my heart. The jungle rule was being followed by the police and the government. Why beat a 50-year old woman who might be a house wife, very concerned about the safety of her daughter? This doesn't make sense. The so-called PM of India kept numb for 8 days and finally broke his silence.

"As a father of three daughters myself, I feel as strongly about this as each one of you. My wife, my family and I are all joined in our concern for the young woman who was the victim of this heinous crime."

Then Mr. Prime Minister why did you keep numb for 8 days?

Your daughters and wife travel in Z security but we common people do not. We do not have any blanket of security over us. Your police is so engrossed in corruption and glorifying their posts that they think of us as dirt.

The main accused in this case had first robbed a man of his money. When he went to report this to the nearest police post he was told that his case cannot be registered there as it was out of their jurisdiction. He was told to go to a different police station. My only question, Is the jurisdiction of the police station more important than catching the culprit?

All of us have seen the movie "Rang De Basanti", so we must remember the scene when people, agitating at India Gate are beaten brutally and pushed back. The scenes at India Gate on this 22nd and 23rd of Dec, felt the same. Don't we as the citizens of India have the right to justice? Why can't we protest at India Gate? It belongs to the Republic of India. It does not belong to the so-called government at the centre. The flame at Amar Jawan Jyoti is still burning because many mothers and fathers have sacrificed their sons and daughters for this country.

The Delhi Metro is not a property of the government at the centre. It is built for the public. Then how can the government decide to shut down the major stations? It is built from the money of the taxpayers and now we, taxpayers, are being derived to travel in it. Is this how you are going to curb the agitation? If we can vote for you then we can also pull you down.

Mrs. Sonia Gandhi met a group of so-called protesters to hear their demands. But were they really protesters or a group belonging to the student wing of the party? Why such hypocrisy? Soniaji, are you still afraid that you will lose the elections in 2014? Is your power and position more important than our lives?

Everyone of our so-called politicians are scoring high mileage for their political careers. For once please come down from the hollowed pedestal of politics and be a common human being.

Our esteemed Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde and MOS(Home), RPN Singh said while addressing the press that government will enhance the punishment for rarest of rare rape case. Well, Mr Ministers, let me ask you a simple question why only this case as rarest of rare? Why not all rape cases?
Isn't a rape of a 5-yr old child, a rare case? Are they trying to say that men can rape a woman and that will not be considered as rare? Why? Are we women only a mass of flesh and nothing else?

According to Botsa Satyanarayana, Andhra Pradesh Congress Committee President, the Delhi Gang Rape case is "a small incident."

 "Just because the country attained independence at midnight, is it proper for women moving at midnight? That particular woman (the Delhi rape victim) should have applied her mind before boarding the private bus. Anyway, it was a small incident. But Congress president Sonia Gandhiji with her kind and big heart held talks with student leaders who were agitating for the last three days over the incident and tried to pacify them."
Well, Mr. Satyanarayana, why don't you tell the sons of India to behave themselves. Why don't they stop behaving as animals and start respecting us? Hope that your daughter is safe at home, Mr. Satyanarayana.

Delhi burned on 22nd and 23rd December 2012. Delhi is still burning. When will the police and the government wake up to our call of justice and security?

I was really amazed to see the acting skills of Police Commissioner, Neeraj Kumar. He deserves an Oscar. Did Constable Subhas Tomar die of internal injuries or heart attack? Well, the pictures show that the common public tried to help him and not injure him. Why isn't every police man who dies in the line of duty given a state funeral?

Delhi Police becomes the part of the Republic day parade on 26th January every year. I don't know why they are given this privilege when they can't even protect us.

After the news of the girl's death spread in the morning of 29th December 2012, peaceful marches were organised all over the country. One such march was organised in Juhu (Mumbai), where amidst all the crowd, one girl was groped by a youth. Unfortunately the boy fled when taken to the police station. Why such disrespect? In couple of years terrorism has become like a perennial problem for the whole world. India has paid a great price due to terrorism. New laws were formulated like TADA and POTA. So why only a 356 for rape? Its not one city anymore, it is the entire nation facing this issue. Its no more a crime. It is a national disaster. It is a national calamity.

I am writing this article not to aggravate or agitate anyone. This is my cry for help for all my women friends and sisters who travel to the length and breadth of the city on a daily basis. I fear for them. I fear for the ones I don't know. I fear for myself.

"Few will have the greatness to bend history itself, but each of us can work to change a small portion of events. It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time one stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, one sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance." 
Robert F. Kennedy


Dedicated to my friend who died in the Singapore hospital in the wee hours of the morning on 29th December 2012. Her struggle was one of courage and it showed her strong will. She will always stand in our hearts as a girl who stood in front of death and fought till the end. Every one of us knows the pain of losing a loved one so we know what the family must be going through right now.

May her soul rest in peace.

My request to all the fathers and mothers who are reading this article is "Please teach your sons to respect women, be it their friends, colleagues, wives, girlfriends or even the normal woman travelling on the road. Please change their mindset. They are not superior to us. They do not own us."

My request to all the men reading this article, please think twice before teasing a woman, because now we will not shy away, we will retaliate.

Standing on the opened doors of 2013, I can just hope that laws will change, mindsets will become broader and the night will not scare us again.

Stay safe and Don't fear. Your safety lies in your own hands.

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

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