Twelve years ago Anu Mukherjee, a bar dancer in Delhi had acid poured on her leaving her blinded with extensive injuries on her face, arm and thighs. Sources say that this attack was an account of acute jealousy in workplace. Her co-worker’s brother was held in offence.
(The Indian Express, 6th June, 2016)
“Shaboo faced an acid attack when she was just one month old resting on her mother’s lap… The mother was killed in the attack and her father sentenced to jail.” The reason of the attack is still unknown. The incident left her orphaned and scarred for life.
(The Citizen, thecitizen.in, 11th December, 2016)
“Pragya Prasun was on her way from the city of Varanasi to New Delhi after her wedding, when a distant male relative poured acid on her.”
(dw.com, 8th June, 2016)
Laxmi Agarwal, a well-known figure and a social activist, fighting in favour of the acid attack victims is herself a survivor of the same. She had refused to marry the man who stalked and pursued her. Her disfigured face and body parts screams out loud of her horrific experience.
The plight of the women in our country is beyond explanation. A few of our South Asian and African countries have reported the likes of this heinous crime in the recent past. With special mention to our Nation, which is leaping forward every second towards the so-called development and prosperity, a pertinent question rises in my frustrating mind. Why is there a rise on the amount of acid attacks and eve-teasing in India? Where does our country stand today?
As we try to fill up the empty seats in educational institutions, donate our share of money in buying products that add up to the expense of one child, clean our houses of dirt and old currency notes, join hands to end corruption in India, light up candles, conduct protest marches and debate the expansion of our rights, a woman dies metaphorically and at times literally, curled up in disfiguration. The woman of today has realized her rights, has the support of her parents and rightfully makes choices. She is not denied education and to a certain extent has gained independence. She goes out to transform the society and contribute and work hand in hand with the menfolk.
Now that she has stepped out of the thresholds of her confinements, the newly acquired confidence has started to threatened and in these cases has injured the inflated ego of certain menfolk. No matter how much we support our women, postulate a code of conduct and discipline them to become modest and repressing there are a section of people who will find a fault in their way of living and I don’t know why have also taken the responsibility of moral policing. This is moral policing only to demean the opposite sex. Then there are people who refuse to take no for an answer. Whether it is a refusal for marriage, an upward shift in the social ladder or simply the existence in case of the girl child these people with their swollen ego aim to disfigure the victim and condemn them to a life of suffering. If they could just cripple these women who crippled their self-pride!
Humans seem to have been petting bitterness in their hearts. The act that is done out of jealousy consumes the doer and the victim in its own fire. Vengeance never tastes sweet and satisfying. After all we are humans made of the good and the evil. At a point guilt will creep and destroy the very soul.
The very root of this heinous crime finds its way in the regular teasing of women carried out by self-proclaimed and narcissistic cynosures who are devoid of basic discipline. Their actions are as loud as their words and thus they stink of nasty upbringing. This in totality is termed as ‘Eve teasing’. Cat calls, stalking of every manner, molestation, manhandling, sexual harassment, ogling are the very elements of Eve Teasing and is carried out mostly in South Asia. This is what our Indian Penal Code terms as outraging the modesty of a woman and righteously condemns it.
Despite of the innumerable strict laws present in our country these continue to flourish. This is because we women have become immune to the various mistreatments meted to us. We are OKAY with what is going on. We are OKAY with people brushing against us, making us feel uncomfortable in public places. We are OKAY with the ogling, stalking and cat calls. If not raise your voice make it known that it is uncomfortable. Make it known it is not liked by you. Sometimes raising your hand or raising your voice feeds these scumbags and they get entertained by it. They have an adrenaline rush and God forbid if you injure their ego they decide to maim you mentally and emotionally.
This issue will go on and on scarring generations after generations. Speaking of scars, one cannot possibly imagine the predicament of the acid attack victims. The countless surgeries, reconstruction of melted body and facial parts, the huge amount of debts, the failed promises of the government and the excruciating pain is good enough to mar a human life forever. Just as stated above, this will continue if we do not bring about a change in the manner of our upbringing. Gender discrimination needs no introduction and explanation. It is better to teach our boys than to impose codes upon our girls. I used to teach a group of small boys in church. I was teaching the concept of trust and respect through activities and storytelling. They were eager to know what trust meant. I simplified and expressed in terms of a close relationship they had with their family especially with their mother or sister. I used this thought to assert that trust should never be broken and every girl needs to be respected. Amazingly they came up with examples of how that could be done.
It is definitely possible that these mistreatments be stopped and we don our roles of a sister, mother, friend, girlfriend, wife, aunt, grandma and so on and so forth and help our boys as they are the ones who need it the most.