By Biraj Dixit :
Just like that
ON A cold December night, many candles were lit. It was a lasting image of solidarity for a young girl. It brought to light a nation’s resolve. But since then many nights have gone by with or without candles, with little or absolutely no solidarity. And the nights continue with their cold, dark, crooked ways, watching a society lose itself further into darkness.
These nine nights of Navratri, however, are all about light. The spirit of Navratri says that nights can never exert their dark powers if days work hard enough to preserve their light. But to understand the magnanimity of light, one has to be a little enlightened oneself. One has to have an open mind with absolute focus and a large heart with unwavering resolve. The mysteries of light and night are not for blabbermouths and weak-kneed to understand. Solidarity and resolve require a bit of steel. And what better time to enlighten oneself, to instill that most-required steel, than now when our utmost reverence is at the feet of The Mother. In Her presence, we may find it hard to contend ourselves with our half-hearted, half-baked and half-convinced realities.
At Her feet, a society darkened by unspeakable crimes can now confess to its many crimes – crimes of complete thoughtlessness, crimes of acute insensitivity, crimes of abominable utterances and abhorrent silence, crimes of letting things be. From Divine to dirt, women in this nation live a pretty topsy-turvy life. And our larger Indian society is, for so many decades now, underlining urgent need to improve the status of its women, to make cities and villages safe for them, to empower them. All these things are magnanimously agreed upon. Many steps have been taken. Much has been achieved. For a young girl who was violated, brutalised and killed, the society has already taken up her cause and has condemned the incident in strongest possible manner.
It has also flayed a couple of other similar incidents that have happened and of course it will not mince words to condemn all incidents of similar nature as and when they happen in future too. Every time a woman is violated, words stronger than winds defend her right to dignity. Every time a woman is assaulted, beaten up in the unlit corners of bedrooms or in very well-lit political party office, the society surely does condemn in sheer show of solidarity to the weaker sex before it looks the other way. And despite society’s such well-meaning gestures offered for so, so long now, the darkness does not dissipate. In fact, it is growing stronger and stronger!
It perhaps gains strength from the less than hard work of the lightless days? From the invitations of mini-skirts, to the waywardness of less-than-fortunate lives, to ‘equality, my foot’, to ‘which state?’ to ‘which government?’, we have held discussions aplenty and thread-bare. A lot of hard work actually goes into living in denial and we, citizens of a great nation, are working so hard, asking all wrong questions and then seeking their answers. That yet another girl lost her life is just one more happenstance amidst the commotion of arguments. Such happenstance have seen our candles, solidarity, arguments, not our resolve. The light of the day demands that we shed some light within.
The sharp pain in the heart when someone called this nation, ‘country where girls are raped’ cannot be just an affront on the ego but a thought-provoking rebuff that needs hard introspection. A survey suggests that rape happens every 16 minutes in India. So, is it a mere law and order problem? Can this happen without any social backing? Society will definitely not instigate rapes, but has it not been looking the other way for far too long? The Goddess Almighty has blessed this beautiful creation.
To please Her, eulogies alone won’t do. She will need this great land to answer the above questions – to Her, to themselves and their own answerless, breathless, dead habits. O! Mother Divine, I pray at Your feet, to save my great nation from the gimmick of lip service. Oh! Mother, save it from the abyss of heartless arguments and spineless habit of looking the other way. Let them know that high moral ground, that is often taken here, requires as much morale as morals. Let this country awake to its darkness and open windows to let Your Divine light of crystal-clear reasoning and action of steel permeate deep enough so that they can see Your Divinely Powerful Presence in what they call (and treat as) the weaker sex.