Who Is Nirbhaya Indeed?

I’m sure the nation is glued to their computer and mobile screens watching India’s Daughter. BBC took a bold step by uploading the documentary inspite of the Government imposing a ban on the video. So, I sat and saw the entire hour long documentary, shocked at what the culprit had to say. But, the culprit that was interviewed was a bus driver. Illiterate. What was all the more morose were the statements given by the defence lawyers. It is well understood that they are under obligation to defend the accused, but what they said about women and their place in the Indian Culture was horrifying. All the more, it was false.

The matter, now in the Supreme Court of India contemplates the verdict for the accused. The punishment of death by hanging, a capital punishment, of all accused has been challenged in the Supreme Court. An incident that took place over two years ago still waits for the end. The kin of the victim still await justice. The documentary has captured the aftermath of the incident very well. Especially, the statements by the parents, experts and the people that were a part of the protests that went on for a long month.

The accused said that the girl should not protest while getting raped and instead silently bear the pain. That decent girls do not roam outside at 9 in the night. He said that the rapes that will happen now on, the rapists will not leave any girl alive so there is no on to charge them with rape. They will rape the girl and kill her! The defence lawyer said that he would light his daughter on fire if found to have an affair with an unknown guy. After all the protests, all the dismay, all the pain that women went through, the culprits and the lawyers defending them come out broad chested to say that women have no place to be themselves in our civil society.

The question that immediately comes to mind is, who actually is Nirbhaya? Nirbhaya means fearless. Was the girl, Jyoti Singh who fought the rapists to save her life Nirbhaya? Or are the culprits and lawyers Nirbhaya, as they do not fear about how the Indian citizen will react after listening to their testament? Or is the apex institution of law enforcement Nirbhaya, that is taking an unreasonably long time to give their final verdict about the fate of the accused, as the general public rages with anger day after day? This was one case that genuinely needed to be fast tracked.

The protests and the outrage depicted in the documentary were not only against this particular rape case, but generally against the way rape cases are handled in India. So is capital punishment the only way to set the tone right? That rapists will stop raping? That women will no more be objectified? Is death by hanging or rigorous lifetime imprisonment the only way out of all this? I guess not.

Firstly, the Indian Society should no more be potrayed as a patriarchal or a male dominated one. Secondly, male and female equality should be imbibed in the minds of children in the remotest corners of the country. A photo quoted a famous personality saying that crimes in the urban areas are far worse than those that happen in the rural areas. But weren’t all the accused immigrants from different states? Thirdly, a better law which has already been put to place. A vigilant police force can only make it safer for the women in the country.

All of this in place, no one will have to be in bhay or fear. Everyone will be fearless or Nirbhaya!

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