India is my country. All Indians are my brothers and sisters.
I love my country. I am proud of its rich and varied heritage.
I shall always strive to be worthy of it……
These are the lines which I have recited for more than ten years in my life, but still I couldn’t recall more than three verses of it. I am not ashamed to admit it because rather than remembering each word I remember the values it inculcated in me. I had never thought that such a boring morning routine of every school going child, carries in itself the true definition of being an Indian.
Our national pledge talks about us being residents of India, of all the citizens being our brothers and sisters, of us loving our country, of us being proud of its rich and varied heritage, and finally of us trying always to be worthy of it.
Really? What does ‘worthy’ even mean in recent times?
Am I worthy of enjoying equality even if I am a Dalit?
Am I worthy of having the power to dominate others because I belong to a high class? Or,
Am I worthy of raping any female of any age, just because I am a male?
The Hathras gang-rape. It’s been all over the media, you can read about it anywhere. How she was strangled, how her tongue was sliced, how her neck was broken, how she got paralyzed, and how she died. But I am not here to talk about the details of this incident, rather I want to talk about us, about those four guys, three of whom were below twenty.
Did those culprits ever go to school? if yes, do they remember what our national pledge is?
Do they have a family of their own? If yes, do they have any females in their homes, or were they born to their fathers?
Various news reports and important personalities are debating on the cast issues. While they are forgetting that before being a Dalit, Manisha was a daughter. Before being a Dalit, she was a girl of nineteen doing her daily chores. Before being a Dalit, she was a human being for god’s sake.
The brutality and pain she had to go through is unimaginable for any of us. And no one deserves to die the way she did, not even the Nazis. But this is what our ‘India’ has become.
First Nirbhaya, then Unnao, then Kathua and now Hathras. Where does it stop? Seriously, where?
Strict laws, 24 hours women telephone services, fast track courts. Are these enough to stop these animals being free rather than in a cage?
The answers to these questions are self-reflective, for us, for the Govt. and for every human being who calls him/herself Indian.
I pray that Manisha rests in Peace and she gets Justice. Even if the word ‘Justice’ seems to have no meaning in our Nation.