Friday, April 13, 2018
A Little Girl with Big Eyes - Rest in Peace, Asifa!
Those beautiful, bright eyes haunt me, as they look out at the world, a half smile twisting her lips. Eight years old, with everything in life ahead of her, till eight monsters in human guise, put out the light, before they put out the light.
Asifa must have died eight hundred deaths before she finally let go of her tiny body, with a pure heart that shone forth.
Eight men with darkness in their souls triumphed over one tiny soul; some of whom must have children of their own, loved ones whom they cherish
A few without a shred of decency or compunction, maybe whose wives and sisters waited at home, unaware of the barbarity that ran in the veins of their men
Grown men of different ages, including a juvenile, who vandalized the little girl over days, drugging her, torturing her, raping her, tearing her to shreds without a qualm
There were at least two men in uniform whose job it was to hunt down the very men they had turned into.
Eight men who murdered a little life after they had had their fun
The agony does not end there.
Even as death came as a release, more monsters joined the rabble, just so that they could shield the guilty.
The police were paid money, the ministers in power waxed eloquent, reiterating that the rape never happened, the murder did not take place, and that the eight men were good upstanding citizens.
Religion loomed over the case as further lies were bandied about. The little girl was a Muslim, and the innocent men were Hindus. How could they commit such a horrific crime in a temple?
A mob of Hindu lawyers blocked police officers who were trying to enter a courthouse to file charges against the accused.
A spokesman of the ruling party actually scoffed on National television when the anchor asked him if the ministers who had supported the crime would be made to resign.
What was the purported reason behind Asifa’s rape and murder?
Apparently, it was to dislodge the nomadic Gujjar-Bakarwal community in Rasana village in Kathua district, J&K, mainly Muslims. There had been numerous clashes between the two communities, and little Asifa turned into a ‘soft target’ in the tensions between them.
The Gujjars were not allowed to bury Asifa in a graveyard which they had been using till then by Hindu right-wing activists who threatened them with violence. Hence, they had to take her body to another graveyard seven miles away.
Earlier, in Unnao, an MP from the ruling party was accused of raping a teenager, leading to the death of her father in police custody. The said Minister was seen strutting around, talking about “lowly people”, confident that he would get away with the crime.
His wife appeared briefly on television, denouncing the victim and shedding copious tears for her husband, who, she claimed, was a decent man being falsely implicated.
Fortunately, after an indecent interval, the UP government has filed an FIR against the MP.
The ancient sages spoke of Kali Yuga or the Dark Age when human civilization will degenerate and human beings will move away from God. Today, we are in the nadir of our civilization, where sins like avarice, lust and wrath ride roughshod, where people have fallen to such depths of depravity that even little children are not spared from their excesses.
How do we drag ourselves out of this slough of depravity that we have fallen into? It is a long, convoluted way ahead, even longer than the time the law takes to convict criminals, who end up living their natural lives before they are convicted, if ever.
The change needs to begin at home, where mothers and fathers need to take a vow to bring up their sons and daughters to learn respect – respect for one another, respect for all living beings, and respect for the universe and its possessions.
The change needs to continue in school and college, where teachers need to reinforce the idea of respect along with the education that they impart. In the olden days, Moral Science used to be a subject in its own right, where students were told stories of valour and humaneness, and how to distinguish between good and evil. Some may scoff and say that those classes were a waste of time, but let's put them aside, and think of what William Wordsworth said in 'My Heart Leaps Up".
A man shows signs of what he is going to turn into as an adult. So, it is up to his elders to ensure that he grows up decent and respectful.
And finally, in the words of Dave Pelzer, "Childhood should be carefree, playing in the sun; not living a nightmare in the darkness of the soul."
A Child Called 'It'
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