By Azra Qaisar:
On the 16th of December 2012,a girl was raped in Delhi. The extent of violence was so high that her body couldn’t take it and she passed away. This month, as the crime that shook the country gets two years old, the government of India is acknowledging it by telling the women that they are brave.Yes,that is what they are telling us, that we are bigger and better than this. Two years later, the day has been turned into a mockery by the state. On December 16th morning, an advertisement was published in the newspaper that said “Nirbhaya Nari,Sakhsat Bharat,Today We Salute The Spirit Of Women”. So this is what it going to be. The day a heinous crime was committed on a young girl, the state decides to commend us for our bravery for bearing it all and fighting and sees us as fearless.
The advertisement in reference, had been given by the National Commission for Women. It says, “Women are two steps ahead of men. We need to recognize their power”. Maybe this line would have gone well for a Women’s day advertisement but on a day when every woman in the country was reminded that she is not safe anymore, does she really need to hear this? Where are the laws that protect this woman and make sure than she does indeed become brave. The country doesn’t need its leaders to celebrate 16th of December as an event for women to feel that they are brave, it needs it leaders to take action, to bring laws that help the woman in being empowered in the truest sense.
An advertisement of this sort is disturbing on numerous levels, especially if it is coming from the National Commission for women. Being an institution that is supposed to help and guide women in their rights and help them when the need be, they should probably be the last ones to make this day into a something to be proud about. The women of this country don’t need any salutes for being brave. The don’t want to be told that they are fearless, they need to be shown that they are free. Free to walk, free to wear what they feel, do things they want and not have to worry about the “consequences” if they do so.
“Nirbhaya” was the name given to the girl. Nirbhaya, a name that made us think that she is brave and fighting for her life. As cynical as it may sound, the girl had no option but to fight. By giving her a name like this, we all are doing nothing but satisfying our conscience that something good came out of something so ugly. It acts as a reminded for us that she was “brave” and strong and helps us in looking away from the brutal reality – our society needs help. Two years later, we are no better than we were back then. There have been no reforms on the state’s part except for change in perspective on the whole incident perhaps.