Rape of the Gitanjali
Rape of the Gitanjali
Chitto jetha bhayashunyo (where the mind is without fear) was the first line that Rabindranath Tagore wrote in his 35th poem of the Gitanjali that carried his vision for our great country. He read this out in the English version, (then titled Indian Prayer) at the Indian National Congress session in Calcutta in 1917.
Today, Tagore would be weeping inconsolably.
Where the mind is without fear
The gang-rape incident in Delhi has left women in India shrouded in a sense of hopelessness. Helplessness.
I am a woman and I am scared. I know there are many more women out there who feel the same.
If I am late at work, I am apprehensive about hailing a taxi or an auto. Should I take this bus? Who are these other passengers? Are they men of morality or beasts in sheep’s skin? Should I walk down this lane? Who are these men standing at the corner of the road?
Are our daughters safe? Should we impose curfew time on our children?
When my child is delayed returning home, how should I console my heart and mind? My heart beats in panic and my mouth runs dry…while my mind conjures up unwanted images. I do not want to tell my child to suspect everyone around. But, I am scared. How do I protect my child?
Earlier, I thought our daughters were safe if they were with friends. Today, I am not sure at all.
I cannot stop thinking about Nirbhaya’s mother. The dreams she wove around her beautiful daughter – the apple of her eye. She would have watched with glistening eyes her daughter grow into a beautiful young woman. She would have whispered words of wisdom to her adolescent daughter, to gently caution her against the growing up pains of womanhood. I am sure the growing up pains about which she forewarned her child did not definitely include the brutal invasion of her young, fragile body by six beasts. The beasts mutilated her daughter’s body that she had so lovingly nurtured for 23 years. She had mildly warned her daughter of the perils of womanhood. But, this?
Does Nirbhaya’s mother sleep? What is she thinking? Does she have questions? Will she find the answers?
Now on, will any mother tell her child, “live without fear”, “walk with your head held high”, “square your shoulders”?
Every mother will want to hold her child close to her bosom, away from the eyes of the world. Because, who knows what is lurking along the path that her dainty feet walk on.
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards perfection
Can mothers breathe easy when their little princesses go down to play in the garden? What if deathly tentacles stretch out from behind the rose bushes towards their angels?
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit
Can the dignity of a woman flourish in a society where self-proclaimed religious gurus propagate warped reasoning? Where so called leaders rape women in their minds? Where blasphemous tongues whiplash womanhood?
All this is happening in a nation that supposedly laments the dwindling population of women.
Into that abysmal hell, my Father, my country has awoken.