Don’t Call Me India’s Daughter

Posted by amreen ahmed in Child Sexual Abuse
April 14, 2018

Dearest Little Girl,

We do not know each other, neither have we met before. Yet, you’re someone I resemble, or rather, my heart reaches out to you. And why shouldn’t I? After all, we are both girls, which is no less than a curse in the present times. We live in a nation where cows are much safer than humans. And talking about women – do they even exist as an entity?! Oh yes, of course! Quite often, the country acknowledges most of them with the prestigious title of being the ‘The Nation’s Daughter!’ But the price a girl needs to pay to qualify for this title is exorbitant. She must undergo a series of gory instances – being raped brutally, tortured ruthlessly, suffer mercilessly. Alas! Only then she’s awarded the badge of honour – ‘India’s Daughter’ – overnight…

Why do young children and women have to pay with their lives to qualify as ‘India’s Daughter’? And you too had to pay a barbaric price, to attain this undesirable title at an absolutely tender age. An age, when you should have jumped around in a youthful furore, catching butterflies, weaving dreams about a beautiful future and painting the sky in your own shades. Yet you lie here, lifeless, amidst the rubble – your body completely withered, as the beasts satiated their boorish lust upon a little angel. But is their lust satiated? I know not, my friend. Animals can be tamed, but humans (I doubt if they can be termed as that) who turn into beasts cannot be domesticated.

Your posters will fill every possible corner of the country. Innumerable candle marches, peace walks, panel discussions, massive protests, nationwide outrage – all shall judiciously take place. The reactions of an agitated population should continue to pressurise the government to take stern actions against the perpetrators. Banners with powerful slogans – “BETI BACHAO”, “WE WANT JUSTICE”, “HANG THE RAPISTS” etc., shall fill the surroundings. But will you return to your parents who have lost you forever? Will they ever be able to see the innocent face of their little one whose untimely death has left a permanent scar in their lives?

After a period, all these voices too shall slow down, as the dust of time starts enveloping these heinous crimes in the spiralling years. The disheartening list of young girls will keep piling up, while we continue our silent march to reach justice. No matter how many candles we burn, how many kilometres we walk in protests, nothing shall bring peace to our souls. Deep down we know, we too are responsible for such atrocities. Society does not stand on blocks of cardboard. Society stands with us; rather, we build the society. And each one of us should reflect, question, prod, nudge – what have we come to? Is this place liveable at all? Can we breathe in the air filled with the innocent cries and agonies of young girls who are chastised to death for no fault of theirs?

My blood boils each time I read about the chilling details of such abhorrent incidents. My senses have become numb, my sentiments have become paralysed, and my thoughts are hitting hard on me to not sit quietly but take action. The law needs to be 20 times as firm, to at least curb the number of such barbaric acts happening in broad daylight. We are not a part of some old movie, where we have heard enough of the dialogue, ‘Kanoon Andha Hai’ (Law is blind).

We want stringent, instantaneous laws to be formulated – the kind of law which will be unbiased, equal, and at the same time, treat criminals as per the severity of the crime committed and not protect them under the cocoon of being a juvenile. The law which will not bigot the victim for their belonging to a specific caste or religion. The sort of law which will take action against the rapists, even before the ashes of the victims merges with dust.

I stand in solidarity with the little girl from Kathua and all those warriors who had to leave soon without having the opportunity to fight for themselves. My dear country, do not call me your daughter once I am gone. Instead, let me inhale the air of freedom without having the fear of a lurking danger while I am alive…

Rest in peace, my dear friend.

If you are a survivor, parent or guardian who wants to seek help for child sexual abuse, or know someone who might, you can dial 1098 for CHILDLINE (a 24-hour national helpline) or email them at dial1098@childlineindia.org.in. You can also call NGO Arpan on their helpline 091-98190-86444, for counselling support.