A 23-year-old girl from Balia in eastern Uttar Pradesh, who could not get a safe ride home from a film show in the badlands of Delhi, has in her death changed mindsets.
The girl did through her 13-day struggle what bleeding-heart talk-show hosts, women rights activists and seminar circuit intellectuals could never manage to.
Not an object of shame or stigma for her family, she made it possible for a ‘rape victim’ to be called a ‘brave-heart’, an acknowledged fighter. And it is the administration, which could not protect her from a pack of human hounds, that has been made to feel ashamed.
It’s no less striking that she is being acknowledged as a ‘daughter’ whom ‘the nation has failed’. She has triggered such outrage among the middle-class that it may ensure the perpetrators of the crime will not get away with just a seven-year jail sentence. She has also shown the way people can strike back and shake up the government and force it to act.
Says a senior union minister, “It’s not only a sense of horror that the she has left us with but a strong public opinion which can be harnessed to bring positive changes in the overall legal framework, women’s legislation and on the security front--police training and reforms. Even in the healthcare sector, we need to improve our hospitals. All this will be fast-tracked now”.
After the chargesheet against the six men is filed on January 3, 2013, the minister said, no one will dare delay the case beyond three months. Even if the media gets a bit slack, the social media would be keep a close watch on the developments 24x7, he added. Perhaps it could be asked by her family why it took the young woman’s brutalisation and death for the system to change. She will no longer be able to pursue a paramedic’s career and finance her brother’s studies, as was planned by the family. According to Singapore High Commission, her father and brother have turned to stone and her mother is inconsolable. As her father told an MP, he sold the only plot of land that he had to educate his children. He did not discriminate between his son and his daughter.