Since the 16th of December, it has been impossible to live in India and not get impacted and moved by the horror that occurred on the streets of our capital city that night. As a human being, regardless of gender or nationality, it is difficult even to listen to or read about the incident. For me, it is almost a mystery that this young woman actually survived that ordeal and stayed in her body for as long as she did…it is a testimony to the human will to choose life always! Every time, I hear a follow-up story about her, I can only wish peace for her soul (if there is such a thing).
In a way, her life events, including the terrible end, remain real and somehow own the space they have occupied in our hearts and minds. What has been baffling is the rhetoric that has swirled in public and private domains around this woman’s plight. I am amazed how upstanding members of our society, acknowledged thinkers, media persons and public figures have gone to town announcing their “shame” in being Indian, being part of a system that allows such a crime and so on and so forth. For me, they do not get to be ashamed – that is too easy. It is like saying sorry after you hurt someone.
For me, you have to say, I am Indian and I am not ashamed of being an Indian. I am a man and I am not ashamed of being a man. This is my call to action! I am ready to participate in change. I am ready to acknowledge that there is prejudice, anger, entitlement and disenchantment. I am ready to agree that a problem exists and it is not with the “other”. This is not a “North Indian” problem. This is a not a “middle-class” problem. This is about me – about all of us, all of humanity. And it is time for me to hear the call – it is time for me to respond appropriately.
Then something is possible – then we can honor this young woman, her memory and the needless suffering of so many human beings everywhere in our country.
We begin by responding at home – in the way we treat our old parents, in the way we raise our boy and girl children, in the way we treat our domestic staff, in our concern for trash and noise pollution, in obeying laws, in not encouraging bribery to save time. This is the way we begin – and then maybe something is possible. And in a year, or two, or ten, we will create a society where we can all live together in brother – and might I add sister – hood and co-exist in harmony with our differences.
So I am not ashamed, I am ready and I am being the change today! Are you?