AWAKENING-The Unforgettable Case of Nirbhaya

Shivangi Agrawal
B. Tech (Delhi Technological University)

Someone asked me why are people waking up to this gang-rape? How is it different from the other heinous rapes that we have had in the past? At that moment I had no answer and I just said, people had to wake up one day and this is the day that they decided to wake up. As I answered this, I myself wasn’t convinced with my words , how could I then convince the others.

Today, she is dead. People have decided to make sure that justice is given to her. ‘Her death is not going to be in vain’, ‘ The sleep of one unknown citizen has woken up a nation of crores’. In the memory of the unknown citizen marches are being held, silent protestors are pouring out in the city lanes to pay homage, candles are being lighted up, every newspaper is flowing with the loss, channels are holding protest and calling people to join the march, radio breaks today are broadcasting not advertisement but the grief of the nation. Today even when she isn’t there everyone is seeing her, feeling her presence. Now it’s not just the physical medium like media that is speaking about her. My brain is speaking to me, all the time telling me what has happened to her can happen to anyone. 

And in those question I got the answer to the fortnight-old question. How is this rape different? This rape is very different because here a girl was not lifted from a secluded place, she wasn’t picked up drunk from a bar, she wasn’t gagged and taken into custody, she wasn’t travelling alone in an auto, she wasn’t alone. This rape is different because here the girl had not committed even the smallest of the fault that the society always holds the girls responsible for. She wasn’t travelling alone, she was with her friend. She didn’t choose a deserted travel medium, she took a bus. She wasn’t dressed ‘provocatively’, she was draped in layers in the chilly winter night of Delhi. And most importantly, she wasn’t in a village, not in a sub-city. She was in the heart of the capital of the Nation.

She was raped. Six men took time to rape her one by one while the bus moved in the city fearlessly.

The men savoured on her as if savouring a festival feast. They gobbled her up. Like a dead meat is ripped off layer by layer, she was ripped off of her integrity. And once the flesh on the meat was no more, she was thrashed like a butcher does to the goat. Limp like a heap she was thrown out as a dog throws bones of his leftover meal and that too after removing her clothes, leaving her to die in that bitter cold.

After days of unconsciousness when she opened up her eyes she said, ‘I want to live’. A very trivial statement for one to say but for a girl with multiple organ failure and infection running in her blood, speaking a word itself is battle won. But to the war of her life she perished. Seeing her spirits I always picturised that she will get up from the bed and see the goons being hanged for their cold blooded crime. But she has died. A medical student brought up by a middle class parents who had put every penny of their earning and wealth in her education couldn’t fight for her life. 

And it is today that I feel helpless. Not for her but for every single girl. Now when any bus passes, I think twice before climbing on it. Now I don’t look for an empty bus where I can find a seat but I look for a crowded bus with people hanging on each other. People may stare at me but at least I’ll not be raped. Now I see no point in travelling with a company. Because being alone or not doesn’t matter now. Me being a girl is the only thing that matters and I can’t change that.
The monsters are still roaming loose waiting for their next feast. And till the time there are no stringent actions taken for girl’s safety they will keep growing strong. For the solution I am at loss of words. I don’t know what can change this attitude and I don’t how can I feel safe in the city even in broad daylight. But one thing I know for sure. This fear was not instilled overnight but many such days and nights. It was build brick by brick and an equal effort will be needed to eradicate this horror. 

The world out there is dangerous. It’s hard to trust the police , how can I when they themselves insensitively taunt that girls should remain indoors at night? They even throw water cannons and tear gas and beat the peaceful people who gather for demanding their protection , be it on orders of their superiors. The only solution at the moment is perhaps that I should equip myself well enough if God forbid someone comes to attack me with a lusty mind. I have to be strong enough to scratch out his eyes if they dare to look at me in a way I don’t deserve to be looked at. I will have to learn all that there is to protect myself . No-one can protect me but me. This is the awakening that all the girls out there have to wake up to. It’s our body and we only have to protect its sanctity.