Amanat, Damini, Nirbhaya, Shakti….just a few names for the braveheart who passed on in a Singapore hospital. The names given to the girl indicate that women are precious, they are strong and fearless. Are women really precious? Yes, many are strong and fearless but to what end.
A barbaric act from a couple of weeks back has shocked the world, among them a billion Indians. Indians the world over have been jolted out of their mundane existence when India’s daughter was raped and mutilated, and left to die on the streets of New Delhi. Soon after, news of other incidents began to pour in – an innocent child violated by her father, a woman complainant spurned by the police because they thought she was not good looking enough to be raped, a women raped and paraded naked, female foeticide, dowry deaths….the list of atrocities against women is endless. These incidents have been rampant in all parts of the country for a long time. Only now have we come out of our reverie. Amanat’s case has been the catalyst, the proverbial last straw.
Over the decades women have been persecuted by men and women alike. To this day, females are not safe in their mother’s womb, their parental home, at work or at their husband’s home. If they survive in their mother’s womb, they have a fight on their hands from day one to protect their dignity. In their childhood and adolescence, they have to protect themselves from lecherous men. In their youth, they are at the mercy of their husbands, and in old age their sons. Yes, this is a generalisation but it does happen and unfortunately all too often. There’s a call for change to existing legislation, but that is not enough. A change in mindset will be far more effective, and who better to change the mindset than women themselves. An earnest appeal to mothers, sisters and daughters: please teach the men in their life to respect women to make India a safe place for women.
What happened to Amanat is deplorable. Words alone are not enough; it’s time for action. A change in mindset coupled with changes in legislation is required to make the country safer for women. Stringent laws and severe punishment for crimes against women must be instituted. Celebrities including industrialists, actors and sportspersons must join the crusade to make India a safer place for women.
None of us can even imagine the angst of Amanat’s family. Our prayers are with our bravehearts’s family to get through this difficult time. Amanat, rest in peace. We hope that you have not lost your life in vain…