She is known as Nirbhaya, the fearless one. It was exactly one year ago that the world was shocked at the brutal gang rape of Jyoti Singh, the 23 year old physiotherapy student who was thrown away from a moving bus to die. The brave-hearted girl gave a statement with horrific details, before she died in a hospital after 13 days of ordeal.
After a nine-month-long trial, fast track court on Friday handed down death penalty to all the four convicts in the Nirbhaya gang rape and murder case. The court while pronouncing the judgment said that “it cannot turn a blind eye on the rising cases of sexual assault against women” and that the incident shook the “collective conscience of the society”.
The sad part is that despite the unprecedented public outrage, just on the day of the sentencing last week, four people including two policemen were arrested on the suspicions of raping a woman outside Delhi!
The nation had hoped that a more empathetic police force and judicial system would lead to enhanced security for women!
Media reports, ” Feminist playwright, Eve Ensler feels that Nirbhaya’s case was a catalyst in bringing women from across the world together to campaign against violence. So much so that, for the first time, women in Mogadishu in Somalia rose up last year to participate in ‘One Billion Rising’ (OBR), a global women’s campaign after anger against Nirbhaya’s gangrape hit headlines”.
At an interaction between Miranda House students and Delhi Police on gender, Eve said a “lynch mob” mentality will not help. “There is a difference between revenge and justice. Justice is generosity. So now the campaign will focus on justice for women who have suffered but not by spreading hatred against men.”
On this day let us pay tribute to the spirit of Nirbhaya and pledge to restore balance and harmony in the moral, social and political fibre of our times. In the epic Mahabharata, the fiesty Draupadi stands tall as an epitome of fearlessness, justice, compassion and dharma.
Gurudev, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar often says that it is the silence of good people that is wrecking havoc in India. When you see something unjust happening and still keep silent, you become party to the crime.
The need of the hour is to awaken Draupadis in us. Women’s and girl children’s honor is at stake with reports of gang rape, marital abuse, child abuse, ill treatment and emotional torture. Awareness and education coupled with self esteem and self confidence will make a woman a super power that she already is. Our ancient scriptures say’ Where women are honoured and worshipped, all gods become pleased; If women are insulted, it heralds a great disaster’. Even then, in many parts of India, women are looked upon as ‘commodities’ or ‘possessions’ for men to use.
In the Mahabharata, the game of dice between the Kauravas and Pandavas was a power game where crooked means were being adopted by the former. But Draupadi changed it all by posing a challenge about dharma that led to a war.
Its time we take a cue from Draupadi and question the dharma of the ruling establishment. It is we who need to ensure good governance to build a just, prosperous and peaceful India – an India where women are honoured, not used. Only then there can be harmony within and without.