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No more, no more…

Ray Charles sings “No more, No more” on my sound system as I try to take in my daily dose of facebook and realize that all my friends are posting pictures of some twenty men, faces circled in red. “Another terrorist attack in Delhi?”, I ask myself. “Guwahati”, I read under the photo. “Ah, ULFA it must be”, I tell myself, thinking about the separatist organization that has been a controversial issue for some decades now. But what has really happened? Delhiites, at least, never were that interested in north eastern separatists. North east is some distant part of the country after all; China and Bangladesh are closer to it than Delhi. Isn’t that what I have learnt from my friends back there? I sure have seen more pictures of momos and thukpas on their walls than that of those fighting there. “It has got to be more than this”, I think and start reading the comments out of curiosity. “Hang them… how could they molest her”. “Molest?” I wonder and click on the link below.
Shocked, ashamed, terrified, disgusted – words fail me. May be I haven’t learnt enough adjectives to describe how I must feel seeing a teenager being ripped apart on a busy street of my country by a crazy mob. And passersby don’t want to miss their share either. Bikers stop by to make sure they get to touch the young girl as well. After all she is available for the whole crowd. And why should she complain? She called for it, didn’t she?
Sure it was her fault. How dare she – how dare she wear a skirt and move out of her house, how dare she walk the streets at 9.30 at night, how dare she go partying with her friends – not to forget there were boys in her group. Well, such a girl sure is available to be stripped. I see some men pulling her hair, slapping her and screaming, “Show your face in the camera, you whore; you like going to the bars, don’t you? Now why are you shamed of showing your face?” That’s a valid point indeed! Every girl who is dumb enough to think she could enjoy her rights should be made to strip in public.
If I were to ignore the girl’s screams and just see the delighted faces of these strong-willed men, it certainly did look like a party on the road; and Ray Charles was adding to it. “No more, no more”, I wonder how often we have said that. Each time such an issue boils up; we hear politicians and feminists screaming at the top of their voices, “We will take it no more”. But aren’t we?   Aren’t we always told to just take it? Haven’t we been taking it all the way through?
My mother never went out on her own after it was dark. While living in India I did not do that either, and I quite doubt that it would be any different with my daughter. Having said that I wonder how village elders in a remote district of Uttar Pradesh must be discussing this issue. They have forbidden women, under the age of forty – as I am made to understand, to move out after dark or keep cell phones. Wouldn’t they be patting their backs saying they did exactly the right thing to protect their daughters?

Is this now the only way how we women could protect ourselves – by locking ourselves up, so we could be safe from the beasts roaming on our streets? What age is this? What virtues, what values are these? What kind of mentality is our society living with? I know women are raped during wars. I have read that it is frustration in men in those times that is taken out in such beastly acts.  But are we still living in those times? What is it then that makes these barbarians attack vulnerable women on streets?  Despite all these questions, I doubt I am interested in knowing the mechanism behind it. Like every woman I am filled with anguish after having seen those painful visuals. All I want is to clean our streets off such men and Ray Charles seem to be leaving the right message for all those jack***es: Hit the road jack, and never come back, no more, no more…

Isha Bhatia


16.07.2012 | 6:19