Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Silence has a deafening voice. Its articulation is beyond grammer. A word qualifies a thought, while silence charges it with feeling-which is unfathomable depending on the gravity of the situation. Silence is a naked allowance to one’s depth of agony or ecstasy as the case may be, while anger is its weak manifestation. Word conditions the meaning and gives a limitation to it. It is what it meant and nothing more. Silence opens a window with the skies at the outer periphery and it communicates directly  to the onlookers’ mind.
            You love a dog, a  cat or a parrot because you qualify its silence with your thoughts. They express what you intend them to. Their correspondence is as deep as your communication and as warm as you choose to. Silence, in short is a weapon, a lethal instrument and a volcano because it is a universal language.
            While the world was watching with  bated breath, with prayer on its lips, seething anger in its heart for that braveheart to survive in the medical ward of Singapore’s Hospital, the mutilated soul and the withered body of the unfortunate girl  relented and the expected denouement followed. Death caved in.
The saga of the shortened life of this girl is a clinical judgement on the sad apathy of the system and the mindless patriarchy and male-chauvinism of this society. In her death this faceless girl decreed the society to hang its face in shame and that has become the symbol of its malaise. Death is the ultimate price she paid. But suffering is power. Who else can say this any better than Jesus Christ? Suffering is silence’s other bank. For thirteen long ages- the suffering of that unfortunate girl- charged millions all over the country- each day, each hour, each minute and kindled a flame of sorrow and anger.
            On 29th Dec, when people heard that her lithe body could not take it anymore and succumbed to it-   the streets of every conceivable town and village were filled-not with bullets, not with slogans, not with cries- but with tears and millions of candles. The collective angst of humanity has its own language and has its own power. The country empathized with one another. It was a silent out-pouring. An emotional anti-climax. A crescendo. A silent roar. A seething moan. A searing anguish.
People wailed saying enough is enough. Platitudes had their say and have become sick innuendoes with political class looking the other way. Jantar Mantar was lit with tears and candles by tearful millions. Jaya Bachchan wept. The Gnanapeeth Award winner and a writer Prof U.R.Anantha Murthy moaned saying that there is something wrong in our minds.
Watching these young girls with drawn faces one cannot help remembering the famous epithet of Mahatma Gandhi, when he sowed the first seeds of civil disobedience saying “When the establishment reacts to our peaceful protest, they may take our bodies but not our obedience’’. Several editorials and several demonstrators wailed vouching that they will not allow her death to go in vain. That faceless girl is the stern ultimatum to the crippled will of the ruling class and the people want to resurrect the girl’s will to demand  a safe tomorrow for every girl. Is this not a warning signal and a message that it is time to have one-third of our elected representatives are women and not rapists or criminals as is the case now?
Our leaders have specialized in knee-jerk reactions and tongue-in-cheek statements and our home minister is more conscious of the limitations of the protocol when he said that 100 tribals killed in an encounter doesn’t warrant a people’s representative to interact with them directly. A glorious legacy of the colonial mindset. We have Mahatmas who rehabilitated the killers into a secular mould and kept their hearts in place, rather than their chairs in the South Block. Shame on these leaders.
Every second minute a girl is raped in this country. A police constable, a politician, an officer, a boss, a leader, a father molests a girl each time. It is a sickening monotony.  Lack of political will and lack of motivation to implement the existing laws result in the cold blooded and unabashed tyranny of these savages day in and day out.
Young students walked silently from Jawaharlal Nehru University to the bus stand where the deceased girl alighted the bus- silently and with black ribbons tied to their mouths. They courted silence- a powerful negotiator to do the job. Hundreds of them paraded at India gate, at Hyderabad, Chennai, Ahmadabad, Trivandrum- you name it. They are fighting a mindset creating  a memorial to the hitherto unknown girl, a tired generation warning the system saying enough is enough.
            Silence is the highest combustible material, indicating  that the nation’s conscience is badly shaken by this mindless tragedy- a message demanding a better and safer world to live in. One placard held by a girl who  resembles my grand daughter at the India gate that shook me among hundred others beseeched: “Don’t teach me what I should wear. Teach your son not to rape me”. I wept.

1 comment:

  1. What a thought ??? Silence is a naked allowance to one's depth of anguish,while anger is its weak manifestation !!!

    How should men like us face women in this country? The article raises powerful questions and dictates the path. May be by following this "silence as a weapon like volcano" we'll once again become the land of gandhi.

    The remark about "don't tell me what to wear" is absolutely true. There have been more instances of rape in the hinterland, where women dress conservatively.

    Raavana raped rambha, even though she was fully dressed. Pravaraakhya didn't lose his resolve when Varoodhini leaped onto him.

    Alas we're all Pravaraakhyas in theory, yet the streets are full of raavanas. But we should remember, an unchecked raavana targeted SEETHA, so surely this rapist menace if unchecked, will surely target something even higher.