Navadha Pandey

They say one should dream with eyes closed but live them with your eyes open. Well, I do both. Other than that, movies keep my heart alive, I really believe in the power of retail therapy. A dose of laughter, from sit-coms or otherwise, is my quest in life.

Navadha Pandey

All of five, yet...

| Updated on April 22, 2013 Published on April 22, 2013

She was only five! Neither was she provocatively dressed, nor out with a guy ‘being adventurous’.

So why was she raped? Where is the moral brigade now?

What happened this week sends shivers down my spine. I am both scared and angry. Scared because I am a young girl living in the Capital alone; angry because nothing seems to have changed after ‘Nirbhaya’.

In a country where we seem to worship Kali, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Durga, women surely are in a pathetic state. Don’t worship us. Just respect us!

The question is how many more rapes can we take? When will we realise that punishment -- though necessary -- is not the solution? As experience tells us, men aren’t a scared lot. They rape because they can and feel no force will stop them. They can toss the law aside like a used napkin.

So what do we do? Wear T-shirts that say ‘Please don’t rape me. I am like your sister’? Or chant the Gayatri Mantra every time you are near a man?

These things won’t help. The solution needs to go deeper than that. It is high time we as a society realise that the problem is bigger than it seems. Hanging a rape victim, though is delivering justice, won’t stop this crime.

And the battle isn’t won there. We need to sit down and think what really is wrong with the system. This was what poet Maithaleesharan Gupt wrote decades ago: Ablaa jeevan haye, tumhari yehi kahaani, aanchaal mein doodh, aur aankhon mein paani.

The situation hasn’t changed a bit. I may not have all the solutions. But I recognise the bigger problem.

When I was a kid, I went to school in a small town. There were separate queues for boys and girls. We sat in separate rows in the class too. I never understood why.

In many households, after meals, the daughter is asked to put the plates and utensils back in the kitchen, while the son can go back to playing his video-game. It is not about keeping the plates, but about the demarcation of tasks which eventually builds up to a mindset in which women are treated as unequal. Reforms should start right there. At school. In families.

Teach your sons to respect women, and even more importantly, teach your daughters to respect themselves and stand up against violence of any sort. I haven’t lost hope yet. I hope you haven’t too.

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Published on April 22, 2013
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