Let me begin with a very personal experience from when I was in class 10. It was a dark and cold winter morning. I was standing at the bus stop, waiting for my school bus. I caught sight of a crowd of people who were busy talking, some Police Control Room (PCR) vans and another group of people peeping at the garbage dump. I could tell something was wrong but I couldn’t make out what.
My bus arrived and I went off to school. But the image from that morning kept flashing in my mind. I had an uncle who used to sit on a chair in the streets and observe every possible activity like a CCTV camera. When I returned home, I asked him, “Uncle, why had the police gathered near the garbage dump?”
He replied, “An infant was wrapped in a plastic bag and left in the garbage dump. The infant – who was a girl – was attacked by street dogs and they almost ate her head. She died due to being badly bitten by dogs. The police were trying to figure out that who had dumped her there and where she was born.”
Listening to this heartbreaking incident, I was stunned and had tears in my eyes. I don’t know what left me feeling so dazed – perhaps being a human being, I couldn’t help but curse this inhumane act. I locked myself in my room and cried my heart out. I’m not exaggerating when I say that those flashbacks still leave me feeling numb.
Millions of question disturbed me. Why did the child’s parents throw her away? Just because she was a girl? How could a mother agree to such a cruel decision? Was the mother aware of what happened to her daughter? Did the father do this alone? Was it poverty that made the parents do this? If it would have been a boy, would the outcome have been different? Did being a girl turn out to be a curse for that innocent soul? I couldn’t even imagine the pain the baby must have felt. I thought the hands which had wrapped the baby in that plastic bag must have belonged to a demon because a human being wasn’t capable of such an inhumane act.
Since then, every breath I take, I feel a sense of bliss because I had parents who accepted a girl child. They treated me the same way they treated my brothers. Yet, as I’ve grown older, I can see the anxiety they had for me. I am a Delhiite and yes, according to records, Delhi holds the highest crime rate, including the maximum number of rape cases. I belong to a city where rape is common. How can I deny this fact? No matter how much I love Delhi, and rebel to go out at nights, somewhere, like my parents, I too feel afraid for my safety.
Like me, many others have complained. But not much has changed since the Nirbhaya gangrape. What is the solution? As far as I’m concerned, only changing our mentalities can help change society. Men need to be taught to control their lust, desire and anger.
Recently, an eight-month-old baby was allegedly raped by her 28-year old cousin. The news numbed my senses. This man literally put humanity to shame. A 32-year-old Delhi woman was allegedly molested by a man who also masturbated in front of her. On Children’s Day in 2017, the capital woke up to the horrific news of a man raping a one-and-a-half-year-old baby girl. This man was supposed to look after her. Earlier in 2017, a 15-year-old Delhi girl had to deliver her baby in school after being allegedly raped by her neighbour. Women are brutalised from birth. Why should women be such easy targets? We need to teach men not to rape and kill. We need to teach them to respect others and to not curse the womb from which they took birth. We need to remind them that they are already someone’s son, brother, husband and will be fathers one day.
The above-mentioned cases are just the recent ones which made me write this. There are many other cases which have faded from our memories. But such things truly put a big question mark on humanity. Where is the equality of genders in our society? We first need humanity, for humanity has no bars based on religion or gender. It’s about morality, ethics and having a kind heart. The human race includes everyone on earth.
“Make earth a better place to live,” shouldn’t be a bookish quote. It needs to be implemented. Still, we have time to rediscover our humanity. It’s not that late. Words have the power to build new worlds and I firmly believe in them.