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Anuradha Cried Till She Died – State Of Respect In The Indian Society

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By Ipshita Mitra:

It is so difficult sometimes to comprehend circumstantial human behaviour and gauge human condition. Extinction is manifested in myriad forms in a society that resembles a cauldron seething with corrupted values, a lost sense of humanity, petty tricks of laundering and looting, vested motives and above all the unheard yet legitimate cries of those, forced to be cornered to a periphery; away from the “competent” institutions of democracy and governance. While an Anna’s cry against a weed infested society was powerful enough to drive thousands out of their closed quarters in support of the representative Gandhian voice to eradicate an ill threatening the social fabric; there were two sisters who did not participate. Locked within the confines of the four walls, Anuradha and Sonali embarked on a journey of slow death. Their cries somehow fell on impervious ears of the people of this nation. While we were out on the streets with candles and placards with printed slogans, we forgot that somebody was left behind.

As we joined Hazare in unison, aiming for a structural change in society, in our desire to carve out an administrative machinery completely erased of functional flaws and lacunae; we turned a blind eye and a deaf ear (however inadvertent) to the psychological struggle many people are subjected to (here, represented by the unfortunate saga of the two sisters) in this society susceptible to redundant patriarchal norms and notions of gender hierarchy. Now, the fragmenting psyches of these two sisters would not have so degenerated in so far they found a remedy in fatal isolation, had they been exposed to a filial environment where a responsible brother would not have left them desolated after the unprecedented demise of their parents. Renowned sociologist Yogendra Singh also confirms that “the two sisters seem to have invested emotionally in raising their brother who had forsaken them. There is a lack of reciprocity which could have led to frustration if they felt that their expectations were not fulfilled.” Abandoned, the sisters lost faith in an institution named family which is primarily and ironically defined and constituted by belongingness, trust and affection. The definition did not apply to them.

Delhi based psychologist Rajat Mitra provided with a clinical explanation as he described the condition of the sisters’ in a psychiatric term, folie a deux as “a form of shared insanity where two people support and strengthen each other’s delusional beliefs.” For me they were neither insane nor delusional but they had seen the reality which they somehow could not reconcile or come to terms with. The reality that they were witnessed to was in juxtaposition with their conventional and innocent faith in a social system that came forward as a questionable entity. It was noted that after the authorities broke into the house post the elder sister (Anuradha’s) death as she bled from the mouth, the younger sister was attired in woollen clothes in this hot weather. People interpreted that as her collapsed mental state of being. This can be situated in another perspective also, (though that has the potential of labelling the author of this article as purely insane but she is ready to risk it).

May be in her misplaced sense of outfit, she was trying to experience a fabric (ated) warmth of a family she had been deprived of for a very long time. Just that it is not visible to us as we conveniently attributed it as a sign of madness. If we can join in the hysteria created by Anna Hazare and the media, or say invest our voice and strength to a struggling Irom Sharmila against the draconian Armed Forces Special Power Act or hail Aung San Suu Kyi in her fight to lead Myanmar towards democracy, why should we fail to justify and sustain family relations? It is not about discarding people as victims of dementia every time we fail to fathom the reality.

Let us be more receptive and sensitive. Let us not make this a ‘curious case of two sisters’ worthy of debates and discussions among a class of activists, intellectuals and officials but let us learn a lesson from this unfortunate episode, that revolutions, mass uprisings and large-scale agitations do not always guarantee a secure and guarded society. Learning, listening, loving and living together with a sense of respect for each other will surely promise an emotionally healthy society.

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  1. Sunandaranjan

    still hate both of them for what they did. They did still have each other, right? Just because the world is a cold place doesn’t mean you just give up in despair! Their parents gave them a sound upbringing, they were both successful in their own right-no, but even that wasn’t enough.

    1. Gargi Sengupta

      i agree. just because one person has foresaken you does not mean that u foresake everything under the sun. the world offers you a lot more….self pity is abiminable. but, the fact that human bonds and feelings are becomimg more and more fragile and imsignificant cannot be denied either…

    2. Ipshita mitra

      yes I absolutely agree with both the comments above which have raised a very pertinent point about having a belief in your self and not being bogged down easily by mishaps of exponential degree but again I do feel that human ties like gargi has rightly mentioned make you so dependable that you start defining life from that perspective, every achievement, every instance of success becomes somebody else’s success and story of glory too because it is undertaken only in the hope of seeing smiles on your beloved’s faces….pragmatism and prudence somehow fail to overpower an individual’s sense of human affection which always yearns for that appreciation, word of encouragement and reward from people you are close to…and when there is a lack in reciprocity, that belief and confidence suffer a dent…

  2. britt

    Just a trivial: I’m sure the woollen clothes she wore weren’t to feel any “warmth of family” as there can be actually nothing “colder” than wearing such clothes in unbearingly hot Indian summer heat. She clearly wore them because she had lost sense of time and temperature.

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

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Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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