Last Call : Mom I fear for my life


Doctor murders wife in Delhi, drives 1000km to dump body in Ganga 

This is the Times of India Headline today.

Another headline says

Last call : I fear for my life 

This is not the first time a woman is brutally murdered by an abusive husband.

This is not the first time that parents of the girl have refrained from prompt action and saved their daughter from the clutches of death.

This is not the first time that a literate woman has stayed in an abusive marriage and paid the price with her life.

The question is WHY? 

Why is it that parents wash their hands off once their daughter is married? Supriya Tussar was literate ( a BTech from Hyderabad and an MBA) she had an offer of a lucrative high paying job which would make her financially independent.Dr. Sahu was not in favor of it. Financial independence means strength to the woman and that would have taken the “control” from his hands. Her parents were literate too.(father was a retired superintending engineer of Jharkhand PWD).  Her husband , a senior surgeon was batch topper in master’s course.  Clearly it shows that education doesn’t really change the mindset of people. Dr. Sahu (31) showed no remorse for strangling his wife and told police that he was “physically and mentally incompatible” with his wife.

I use the word Literate because there is a huge difference between being ” educated” and ” literate” and most of these cases happen because of lack of education. Degrees have nothing to do with education I believe.

He had a history of violence in his ten month old marriage, the local police station was aware of the constant fights between the couple (Tussar had lodged a complaint there)  but no one bothered to take any action. The parents of the girl continued to seek reconciliation between the young couple even after their daughter was thrown out of the house.  She was their Only child and though they educated her for a secure future they never could muster enough courage to save her from an abusive marriage which ultimately took her life. If only she wasn’t raised to be a secure bride and taught to live with dignity irrespective of anything then today she would have been alive.

I fail to understand why the parents always think that “things would get better” ?  http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Never-thought-her-body-will-be-carried-in-the-car-chosen-by-her-Mom/articleshow/10147405.cms

Why there is so much social pressure to let the daughter rot in marriage which is clearly heading for disaster?

Supriya was “forced ” to get admitted in Hospital tally challenged by her husband.

My question is

Why do girls, especially educated girls, tolerate such abuse?

She was denied food, pocket-money, he was beaten up, abused verbally even then she continued to live with him for she knew she could not go back to her parental home. This is true of many such Supriyas who are forced to live in abusive marriages for the lack of support system, counselling and fear of social stigma and being left out.

Why was Supriya’s humiliation, mental, emotional and physical pain, her indignity not enough for her parents to support her and get her out of the violent marriage?

Do these parents choose a dead daughter over their so-called izzat (honor) in the society? Why can’t they stand up for their child and help her get back to a dignified life she deserves?

They actually “dispose off” their daughter in the hands of a monster just to abide by some sick social norms. What is the point of crying and all this drama later on when they couldn’t do anything for the daughter when she was alive ?

I want to ask Supriya’s parents what marriage means to them ?

Is it being tied to a man whatever the conditions and at whatever cost ?

What was the point of all this education when it could not enlighten them to break away from the customs that kill ?

I see no logic which justifies why parents would allow their daughter to be tortured thus. And if you can’t stand up for your own child, who can you stand up for?

This whole so-called traditional value system makes my blood boil. It has weakened our fiber and turned it into shreds and this is the reason girls like Supriya don’t have confidence to walk out of the marriage with or without the help of their “social status hungry” parents. Since day one, daughters are taught that subservience is the key to happiness, endure whatever comes your way-for if you don’t, you damage our(parents) reputation, society will condone us.

Most of the time girls have no faith in the support and love of their parents and in Supriya’s case she had seen that her repeated attempts in voicing her fear for life had not evoked any strong reaction. A battered, weak woman with lack of support and confidence often tries to “make adjustments/ compromises) thinking things will change for good which  of course never happens. With a broken spirit and constant reminder that “all will be well” most of these women end up dead either they commit suicide or are murdered.

I have no sympathy for parents who let their daughters to death by putting the blinkers on. I feel they are as much a part in her murder as the husband.

It is tragic that these girls, however educated, often succumb to social pressures instead of thinking about other alternatives. It is the result of  constant drilling by their parents that they should “learn to adjust and stay in the marriage” what ever happens. Most of the time it is the girl ( daughter or DIL) who is lectured but hardly anyone blames the parents for this rotten mindset.

I have always failed to understand What is so special about this so-called “sacred” marriage  that makes people tolerates some insecure, misogynistic bastard beating up their daughter, just to preserve this institution?

Till the time marriage is viewed as a “holy grail” and a “commitment till the end of life ” I don’t think many women will be able to walk out of abusive marriages.

I wonder how many more Supriyas will be murdered at the altar of marriage before this society wakes up from slumber and corrects itself.

When will we see a news headline where parents of a girl report an abusive marriage and help the daughter to put the culprit behind bars?

When will the women take their lives in own hands against all odds and be rid of guilt and pressures to walk out and say NO to domestic violence?

When will families start raising their daughters as individuals and not as prospective brides meant to please and be grateful to everyone, parents, brothers, husband, in laws and the rest of the world?

We have laws against Domestic  Violence  but they are effective only when there is a change within. What is the point of having stringent laws when time after time women are abused sexually, mentally ,verbally, physically in so-called “sacred” marriage. It make the headlines, accused are punished but in a few days another monster appears and kills. The  idea of the “sacrosanct” institution of marriage is dished out by the mainstream Indian cinema and daily soaps on TV is a myth and contrary to the reality. Our society is sick to be honest. It is heart wrenching to see that even after knowing their rights, even after being literate enough to support an independent living women prefer to stay in abusive marriages.

Even those who dare to take that first step and move out with or with out parental support life doesn’t come easy But I feel that it is better to step out and struggle and not give in and die. Ultimately it is your life.

I know this looks more like a rant or a rambling of an angry mind and so be it .Enough essays have been written , enough protests, enough campaigns have taken place. If that hasn’t shaken up the society what else will ? How many daughters need to be sacrificed to bring the change ? 😦

The post was shared on the Bell Bajao Site . An Honor. 

Poem: A Childhood Lost


She sat huddled in a corner
staring at the pool of blood
between her aching skinny legs.

Her large eyes vacant and dry
her trembling body tattered and torn
and her soul, bruised and ridden to dust.

Her childhood innocence crushed
by someone’s scavenging lust
someone she was taught to trust.

He ripped her veil

and shamed her forever

violating her with a single thrust.

Alone, in the shadows of her
shattered dreams
She tried in vain to wipe forever
the events of the night
her chilling screams.

Her heart, pregnant with
Emotions unknown,
unheard, unseen

Slowly she closed her swollen eyes
and shut herself to the
rising shame and fear

Too scared to speak
too hurt to cry
as the mist began to clear

They found her body in the morn
along with her clothes
bloodstained and torn.

And beside her tender fragile frame
was written in her blood in shame
a single word that said it all

“Daddy”

copyright Tikuli

vote for it on indivine

Read my article on child abuse prevention

Child Abuse Prevention Month Post( April)- A Daughter’s Letter to Her Parents

Witch Hunting : The Dark Indian Reality


Place : A sleepy village in the state of Chattisgarh in the largest democracy of the world, India

Time : Just past midnight

A woman rolls on the floor of her small mud house making vague noises and shaking her head. He hair disheveled and clothes barely covering her body. She shudders in uncontrolled frenzy and the entire household watches her ” playing” in fear and silence.

The village elders are informed and she termed as a “Dayan”witch. All the village folks gather with sticks and stones, beat her to pulp and tear her clothes. Stark naked , wounded both physically and emotionally, she lies like a dead animal at the village square while the villagers gather wood to burn her alive.

This is not mediaeval Indian story. It is reality of modern India where women considered to be witches are brutally tortured, beaten, stripped and killed in the name of witchcraft. These women considered to be bad omen are held responsible for failure of crops, epidemics, diseases,low birth rate, and many other things which bring so called bad luck to the village.

Most of these women are either single, widows, aged women and mainly women who are unprotected and closely related to the accusers. Witch-hunting is one of the most brutal forms of violence against women. Most of them are forever ostracised from the society with terrible consequences.

Witch hunting is prevalent in many of the Indian states like chattisgarh, Assam, Orissa, West Bengal, rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra and some of the north- eastern states. Bihar alone accounts for a major chunk of witch hunting cases. Mainly the entire tribal belt of India suffers from the humiliation of this social evil. Acute poverty, little or no access to the most basic health care, education and sanitation are some of the factors leading to witch hunting. In these circumstances, superstition gains a force of its own. Bad crops, death in the family, loss of a child, persistent illness or drying up of wells or any such reason paves the way for this evil–problems are many but the solution remains the same: locate the witch responsible for the problem and punish her.

Socio-economic factors such as land-grabbing, property disputes, personal rivalry and resistance to sexual advances are mainly the reasons for such killings. In the male dominated society if a woman inherits land from her deceased husband is asked to disown the land by her husband’s family or other men. If she resists, they approach the Ojhas (traditional village doctors) and bribe them to brand her a witch.

Apart from this there are some other factors that lead to killing of innocent women by branding them as witches. In some cases women who spurn the sexual advances of the powerful men in the community are labelled and tortured in the name of witchcraft. That’s one way of settling the scores.

I came across Brinda Karant’s article on witch hunting some months ago where she explains the subject at length. Brinda is General secretory of All India Democratic Women’s Association(ADWA) and has worked in the field of women’s rights for a long time.

Some Issues In The Struggle Against Witch-Hunting

Do click the link to read more.

Many women who are strong willed, assertive and speak out their minds are seen as threats. The easiest way to eliminate them is to brand them as witch, humiliate and kill. The options left to such women are little. They are either forced to abandon the family and property and run away, commit suicide or are brutally murdered.

In Jharkhand witch hunting has increased in frightening proportions. Many of the adivasis ( tribals) kill women termed as Dains( witches) by the local village doctor called the “Ojha”. The tribal believe in spirits, ghosts and witches and lack of education forces them to do heinous acts against these women. A sick child dreams of four witches and names them. Village elders search for such women and publically parade them naked, their faces smeared. They are tortured, beaten black and blue and beheaded in full view of the entire village .No one speaks against the crime in the name of faith.

The police records record 984 women being killed in 19 districts since 1991 to 2008. Among them 242 women were killed in Ranchi district, 178 in West Singhbhum, 60 in East Singhbhum, 34 in Saraikela-Kharsawan, 127 in Lohardaga, 100 in Gumla, 39 in Simdega, 60 in Palamu, 18 in Garhwa, 10 in Chatra, 15 in Hazaribagh, 16 in Koderma, 15 in Giridih, 6 in Dhanbad, 12 in Bokaro, 16 in Deoghar, 11 in Dumka, 14 in Sahebganj and 11 women were killed in Godda district (omit). The crime enjoys the social and political patronage in the states of Jharkhand and several parts of Bihar etc as there is as much faith in witch-hunt as there is belief in gods. There are no real statistics because mostly the crimes go unreported.

There is a law against witch hunting in almost 28 states but it too has its drawbacks. There is still no central law against this barbarism. Less than 2 percent of those accused of witch-hunting are actually convicted, according to a study by the Free Legal Aid Committee, a group that works with victims in the state of Jharkhand.Most of the time women are unaware of the law and although there are many NGOs like Free Legal Aid Committee (FLAC) working for the this cause, there is still a long way to go.

Witch hunting leaves children orphaned and in my opinion it is one of the most atrocious crimes against women.

The cause of witch hunting is the patriarchal system and it’s been there for centuries now. To prove the authority of men, they suppress women, who resist against the system.

Men use weapons like witch-hunting to get rid of women they fear. In the Adivasi communities, it is largely women who are considered to have an evil influence and thus capable of being witches.

There are some fundamental questions I want to raise .

why is it that only a woman is a witch and man a witch hunter and spirit healer?

Why there is still lack of basic amenities like health, education and social awakening in remote parts of India?

Why can’t there be a central law or at least a strict law to prevent such acts of barbarism?

For How long women of India going to suffer in the the name of faith and under the pressure of male dominated society?

Nanhi kali(the tender bud)I too want to blossom:Female Infanticide


girl-child1The village was slowly waking up to yet another day. The birds had left their nest in search of the early worm and one could hear the bells in the temple on a distant hillock.

Very few people were out at this time. Two figures emerged from behind a cluster of houses and started walking hurriedly towards the thick fields full of wheat crop ready to cut.

They had a mission. They were going to commit a crime no one will know of. A little bundle slept peacefully in the arms of one of them.
On reaching a specific spot near the canal, they unwrapped the bundle and mercilessly held the little baby girl’s head under water till the helpless infant stopped struggling to breath.

They pulled it out and quickly buried her in the previously selected makeshift grave. This was the second girl they had buried in three years.

washing their sinful body in the silent canal water, they returned and vanished behind the rows and rows of houses.

Nothing stirred, even the air became still, as it witnessed this gruesome act of murder.

“Female infanticide is the intentional killing of baby girls due to the preference for male babies and from the low value associated with the birth of females.”

What we are up against is a deeply ingrained patriarchal attitude to which even the medical profession and the women, who in spite of being the victims, unthinkingly subscribe to.

What is the future of womanhood in the land where the girl child is killed using every possible means by her own family especially her own father, brother and in many cases even mother. Many a times they are simply not allowed to be born.

According to a report by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) up to 50 million girls and women are missing from India’ s population as a result of systematic gender discrimination in India. In most countries in the world, there are approximately 105 female births for every 100 males.

In India, there are less than 93 women for every 100 men in the population. The accepted reason for such a disparity is the practice of female infanticide in India.

Five million girls were eliminated between 1986 and 2001 because of fetal sex determination done by unethical medical professionals. The rate of extermination continues to increase after census 2001.

The practice is taking an alarming proportions and is shockingly common in even rural areas where people do not normally have access to sex determination facilities.

The family waits until the mother gives birth, and when they find out that a daughter is born, they go ahead and kill the baby by adopting various means such as strangling the baby, giving her poison, dumping her in a garbage bin, drowning her, burying her alive, or suffocating her with pillows etc.

Many a times female foeticide is the easy and simple way out for those male child hungry couples. Sometimes Barbaric methods are used to kill the fetus, endangering even the mother’s life.

What is disturbing is that female infanticide is not considered a big crime and rarely do culprits get convicted. Surprisingly, Sex-selective abortion are not always forced upon by husbands and in-laws , they are often done in consensus by the mother.. Since she is the one who has given birth to the unwanted female, it is her who must do away with it. She is forced to do so at times, and willingly does so at others since she herself desires a male child for various age old reasons rooted in our society.

A research was conducted to analyze the patterns of female foeticide and infanticide in China, India, and other countries in Southeast Asia. ( I searched the net to discover this and I am quoting )

The report concludes:

“( The magnitude of the phenomena of female foeticide and girl infanticide in India, China and other parts of Asia has reached a critical level creating a worldwide demographic imbalance with, in turn, drastic economic and social consequences. Over 100 million women are now missing in Asia which will result in a 12 to 15 percent excess of young men in the next twenty years.

[…]

It will take generations to change people’s mindset but the situation worldwide is so dramatic that we cannot afford to wait any longer. It is imperative that the International community calls on the governments and all actors responsible for this human and demographic tragedy to enact laws and take urgent measures to fight these violence and discrimination which, by denying the first basic right of all – the right to life – denies all other human rights. )”

What are the causes of 10,000,000 female infants killed in the past 20 years in India.

1. We need a son to carry our family name , to ensure continuity of our family line.

2. A son is needed to perform the last rites so our souls will attain peace.

3. A girl means expense as we will have to pay dowry and get her married.

4. We need a son to take care of us in old age while a daughter goes away to another house after marriage.

5. I need a son to complete my family.

When I look at these reasons, which mainly people give for wanting a male child, I wonder what kind of family line they want to continue, with what value system. won’t it be better if it finished then and there. and if every one thought the way they do where is the DIL going to come to carry forward the esteemed family name?

How many sons take care of their old parents in reality is a question to ponder. Look at the old age homes where mothers and fathers spend their last few years trying to hide the vacant dreams in their eyes.

Why not educate the girl child and make her self sufficient. It is known that you educate a girl child , you educated a family.

Why not oppose the dowry system and take law seriously. For it is one of the main reasons for female foeticide and infanticide. We should stop programming the girl child from the moment it is born to accept the so called Indian values, customs and rituals. Is it not needed to end the need for dowry itself instead of finding shortcut solutions to this evil practice?

We should stop the discrimination at home where the girl is underfed and her share is snatched to feed the good for nothing brother. The girls are advised and taught to stay indoors, learn to cook and wash, clean and sew for they have to go to another house after marriage.

She is not sent to school as education is considered a taboo for her and of no use to her as she is that unpaid slave who has to just birth children and slog for her husband and other members of the family.

She is snubbed and frowned upon if she dares to talk of her dreams, aspirations or in some cases abuse from the hands of family males.

This is our country where women are seen as images of Goddess.

What hypocrites we are?

We invoke our scripts and religion when it suits us and do what is convenient for us when it suits us.

We do rituals and offerings, go on pilgrimage to various Devi temples and abuse the woman of our house, kill the unborn daughter, ill treat the one who survives and sell her to some good for nothing hand pecked boy .

For their entire life most of the women live chained in the hollow bonds of being a daughter, sister, wife, mother and die every moment fulfilling the demands of that relationship.

Somewhere their essence, their identity is lost and they mutely take on the wrath of the hypocrite society.

I think the time has come for a collective uprising against the murder of the very essence of womanhood. To bring the change and to be the change.

This is a NaBloPoMo post for today

(image courtesy Google. All credits to rightful owners )