|Delhi Rape Protest, photo by Kamal Narang for The Hindu|
Written by Arundhati Menon
To Nirbhaya (Because I just love that name),
I'm sorry. I know that 'I'm sorry' doesn't even begin to apologize for everything that has happened to you, but I am really and truly sorry. I'm sorry for the few days when I was in denial of what happened to you because I was busy obsessing over things in my life that aren't remotely as bad as the things in yours. I'm sorry pseudo celebrities are using your case to gain publicity. I'm sorry there are some misogynistic chauvinists who have the gall to blame you. The truth is- I really, really admire you. Me, and all your 'brothers and sisters'. Young Indians. We all admire you so much.
You're brave. You fought with those monsters to protect your friend. After that horrible incident you ignored the psychological trauma and gave the police the excruciating details of that night. You're a role model to all the women. I don't know where you are. I don't think you know what's in this letter. But anyway. This is to let you know what's going on in your country. I don't have the heart to call it mine. It's shameful that in 'Mother India' women can't walk in the streets freely. I'm ashamed of this country, and it's people, and the government who call the country Mother India and don't protect it's women.
You of all people did not deserve to die. You were 23. Your life was just beginning. You were a medical student. You were going to be a doctor and help people in rural parts of the country for free. You were going to save the lives of people. People who couldn't afford proper medical treatment were going to be able to live. Because of you.
But what you went through, your demise. It isn't all in vain. India has re united once again. It's so nice. Like the 1857 Sepoy Mutiny. You did this.
From 1857 till 1947, there were so many people; passionate citizens who wanted to get India freedom. Somehow- just somehow- it feels like India still isn't free. As Nelson Mandela once said- “to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.” Is that really the case in India? By that definition- India isn't free at all.
We will definitely fight. Dear, dear brave heart. One day, some day, rape, molestation, eve teasing and even looking at a woman in the wrong way will be banned in India. Your pain, and the pain of all the wronged women will be avenged. Take a bow. We are all with you.
Jyoti Singh Pandey. Your father revealed your name. He said that he wanted the whole world to know who you are. He wanted the whole world to be able to identify you.
So maybe, now, I know your name. I know who you are, your ambitions. What you wanted to be in life. Maybe I still don’t know how you look- but none of that matters. I don’t need to know any of that- despite the fact that I actually do- to cry.
Lots of love,
A 15 Year Old Fan
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