Millennium Post

Kolkata, are you kidding me?

Kolkata, are you kidding me?
Not when kids almost half my age are being beaten up mercilessly, wrongly incarcerated, and sent to hospital ICUs only because they raised their voices against an unjust and insouciant system. All of us have spent many a sleepy history lessons in learning about Gandhi’s civil disobedience and non-cooperation movement.

Tell me if I’m wrong, but weren’t these peaceful, non-violent forms of resistance against unjust, powerful oppressors? And, what happened to these protestors? They were all beaten up, some were killed, many were locked up — the British did everything to crush the proverbial ant. But, the ant persevered. Well, it actually rose like the proverbial phoenix and kicked some royal a** (pun intended)! Well, it seems to me that what we have on hand now are a bunch of homegrown crazy-in-power Simons, Dyers and their ilk. I’m not sure who is to blame for this state of affairs, but what I do know is that every oppressor, every despot ultimately gets defeated. Mussolini, Hitler, Hussein — it’s a long, long list but, every story has the same ending. Well, almost.

I have young female friends who are part of what’s happening in Jadavpur University, who were roughed up, groped, by policemen in the dark, and who believe they might be beaten up yet again if they continue protesting. Why? Because they were fighting for a cause they believed in. This is outrageous! To live in a democracy and not have the right to speak one’s mind is just wrong. And, that isn’t the only thing wrong about this entire incident.

A female student was molested on campus by other students. WRONG!

The University’s inability to help a distraught, sexually abused, traumatised, young girl. WRONG!
The police’s refusal to get involved and punish those guilty, despite the girl identifying one of the culprits. WRONG!

The VC paying no heed to students protesting the University administration’s inaction. WRONG!
People  pointing fingers at the girl’s choice of clothing/questioning her sobriety at the time of the incident, and trying to blame her for what happened. WRONG!

The police and hooligans affiliated with local political outfits beating students to a pulp, molesting female students in the dark of the night, with the blessings of the VC. WRONG!

Looks like the early 1900s are being revisited. The middle-of-the-night fracas reminds me of one of the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. We were fighting for freedom then. We’re fighting for freedom, now. Then it was for our country and her people. Now, it’s a woman and the right to her body. Not much difference.

Couple of weeks ago I’d written about respecting a woman’s body and her need for privacy. Here’s me reiterating it. A girl gets molested. Another protests. She, too, gets molested. A rape for protesting rape?

What kind of a civilised, equal society is this? When will we realise the need to respect women? That it’s not okay to want to violate a woman’s space irrespective of how she looks, what she wears, where she goes, what she drinks, or who she hangs out with. Honestly, I’m sick and tired of repeating myself every second day. It falls on deaf ears anyway! I’m angry. And, scared. So scared that I just might buy myself a pair of one of those anti-rape jeans that are trending on the net. Or, just lock myself up and not go out ever. It’s okay if I turn into a vegetable. At least, I won’t get raped.

Malini Banerjee is a snotty single child, mountain junkie, playback singer, Austen addict, hopes to soon finish writing her debut novel, and dreams of singing alongside Buddy Guy.
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