Even death lives

Even death lives

She is dead.

The incredible fact is that even before she died, she managed to infuse life into a lot of men and matters. Well in this case, when I say men, I mean women too. Now that she is dead, will we let it pass by as just a death? Just another death? Passing away of a ‘braveheart’ deserves at least the passing of some meaningful legislations, rules, regulations, and resolutions… all to be done by different sets of people and professionals.

The virtual world is jammed with opinions and suggestions… and I found it rather ironical that an incident of such magnitude that has shaken the conscience of an entire nation could still be encapsulated in a single tweet of 140 characters: Arunava Sinha tweeted: “Gangraped. Had an iron rod inserted. Thrown out to lie bleeding on the road. Had intestines removed. Had cardiac arrest. Had brain injury. Passed away peacefully?” We know now that even 140 character tweets have the power to reach out to millions of thinking minds and bring them all together to compel the decision-makers and the legislators to keep their scheming and scamming avataars aside and see the nation as the nation sees itself. I sincerely hope this happens. Well, if this doesn’t happen, there may be another set of 140 character tweets to facilitate their easing out of their cosy positions of power! This isn’t a threat… this is just a fact stated simply in a language that doesn’t digress.

However ‘dented and painted’ the masses may appear to be (and believe me, our leaders are capable of coining similar epithets for the men-folk too), the masses have now proved that they too can hammer themselves into perfectly shaped pots and pans to brew a new set of laws to help the floundering and doddering men and women pretending to be the invincible law-makers of the nation. The legislators must not forget that the hallowed walls of our parliament are focused to protect the people and will not stoop to merely being a refuge to pretenders!

So this is not just a death. It is a wake-up clarion call to muster the collective will of a nation to sit up and help re-structure the limping spines of a set of leaders who will ultimately have to loan their signatures and ‘ayes’ to help India live and breathe again.

A woman has died. But both men and women are now together and determined to make our cities safe from thoughts and actions that leap out from nowhere to paint lives with indefinable horrors! I agree with Aishwarya Lahiri, a friend on Facebook when she writes: “I will not hide. I will not stay in the safe confines of home. I will stay out of home till the wee hours of the morning. Whether or not I have work. Wearing whatever I want. With whoever I want. And still, nobody has the right to lay a finger on me. That is the Delhi, the India I dream of.” I can tell you of many men too who would be afraid to ‘stay out of their homes in the wee hours of the morning’! It is a known truth that when the masses wake up, many towers of power tend to topple… but all that the aam junta of this nation wants is to erect a civic, civil, and legal structure that will not let the dreams, aspirations, confidence, and faith be pushed around and raped!

No one would want this to fade into the past as ‘just a death’.

We know all those who have not sprung into action, we know who have remained aloof and unconcerned, and we know who have probably searched but found their conscience missing. We know who have goofed, we know who have been irreverent, we know who encouraged dishonesty, and we also know those who still need to be prodded. The anguish of Priyanka Dey is obvious when she says: ‘You cannot imagine her misery if she had survived. Man has always looked for hope from someone else. In the quest to immortalise Hope for a better society, she would have died every moment of her life. Thank you, God for your sense of justice. While the whole world wanted her to live, I wanted salvation for her. No, please do not write RIP messages for her. She sure is. But the living question is, Are You Living in Peace?’ We know and realise how important security and peace are… and they are words that live only when we have laws that assist, attitudes that are restrained and controlled, and reactions that stay away from the insanity of vested interests!

We know now that none of us want a death to be forgotten. But what worries me is not just how the leaders have remained uncomfortably distanced or how the protectors have conveniently misjudged their real purpose and role. What pains me is when I read: ‘A journalist friend tells me: “In today’s protest at Jantar Mantar, many women complained of molestation at the site. Eve teasing was just all over the place. Not that all protestors were up to mischief. But there were men in that crowd who eve-teased and molested women protestors.” A woman protestor tweeted today: “When Sheila Dikshit came over & protests got intense, someone grabbed my ass. I shouted & caught his collar but couldn’t hold him. He vanished before anyone could get him.” (Rishabh Malik adds)And we thought at least now men will be ashamed. What’s wrong guys? Are your brains corroded? It seems there’s decaying garbage in your heads.’ These may not have really happened and have just gone viral on social media reflecting the sort of anger that exists right now. But the truth is that it is time for us to look within and pull out that subversive gonadal waywardness that pops up to awaken the evil within us. We need to reform our minds, our attitudes, our priorities, and our instincts… just as much as we want our police to re-invent themselves and out laws to re-discover their truth.

Sure this is ‘just a death’… but even in her death, this braveheart is going to live and see a transformation taking place. Essential… there is no other way now. The laws will have to be re-written. Attitudes and instincts will have to be guided and placed on the right path. The perpetrators of this gang-rape will have to be punished. The legislators will have to push the goons out of their lot. The administrators will have to change the ‘system’. The common man will have to remain alert and alive to insensitivities that surround him. Men will have to respect women. Women will need to… remain women who care and share and stand up for what is right. We all need to be wary of disruptive elements and remain sane as we demand for all the changes that must now be formalised. The first step is now taken… and baptised by a death.

Just a death? Will you still say this is ‘just a death’?


Arvind Passey
29 December 2012