Vol. XLI No. 40 October 01, 2017

Jotting of My Life

G Mamatha

Day – Minus six months: My mother was taken to a hospital. A test was done. They found out I was inside her womb. My father and his parents forced her to a surgery. I was killed, before I could see you.

Day – My birth: I had just come out of my mother’s womb. I was crying. They saw me. Instead of milk, the put some seeds in my mouth. My birthday was my death day.

November 22, 2015: I was three months old. My uncle who is 50 years old took me away from my house where I was sleeping. He raped and killed me.

March 30, 2017: He was sentenced to seven years in jail for taking my life.

September 4, 2016: Now I am eleven months old. My mother and father went to work in that building. A 38 year old man came to the place where I was sleeping in a make-shift cradle. He lifted me and took me to a park. He raped me for two hours and left me there. I thought I died. He too thought so.

September 5, 2016: I came to know that 927 children are raped in Delhi every year, where I too was raped. After knowing this, I died.

January 5, 2017: Now I am five years old. I went to vacation to my grandfather’s house in Jamshedpur. For the last one week my grandfather was raping me. My grandmother, saw it. She did not do anything. My grandfather said he will kill me, if I tell anybody what he was doing. I had severe pain. Unable to bear, I told my mother. She said we will see a doctor. I am afraid of hospitals. But the pain from my grandfather is more than the pain from injections. So I agreed to go to the hospital. They told my mother I was raped. My mother asked me. I told yes, many times. I am still alive.

September 11, 2017: I am still five years old. I went to my school. I was in the washroom. My mother taught me toilet manners. Somebody came in. I was washing my hands. He pushed me down and pounced on me. He raped me. I was bleeding. I cried and told my mother. I was taken to a hospital. This doctor did not treat me. He sent me to another place. I lost my consciousness.

August 17, 2017: I am ten years old. I gave birth to a baby. It was last year, I think. A man raped me. He threatened to kill me. I was very afraid. I did not tell anyone. There was lot of pain, but I was silent. I want to live. After few months, I felt something stirring. My stomach is growing in size. I told my mother. We went to a doctor. She found out a small baby in my stomach. My mother asked me what happened. I told her. But doctors told now nothing can be done. My mother went to Supreme Court. The court too said I should have the baby. The baby came out. But died. Should I be sad or happy, remembering what happened to me? I don’t know.

September 19, 2017: I am eleven years old. Girls of my age or one year younger or two years older from nearby villages were taken to a temple. We all were made to stand in a line. The priest of the temple came and looked at all of us. Top to bottom. I was little ashamed. He selected seven amongst us. I was one among them. Seeing my father and mother happy that I am selected, I too felt happy. He then asked me to remove my jacket. I said no. My parents scolded me and asked me to do as I was told. I had no other option. All the seven who were selected did the same. We were given some flower garlands to wear. Nothing else. We were taken inside the temple. I was afraid. But we were told not to worry. Seven of us, with nothing on our top stayed inside the temple for 15 days. I died of shame.

August 25, 2012: Now I am 21 years. I am in Fiji. There was this Indian advisor to Vice Chancellor of our university, Dr O P Upadhyay. He held my hand and insisted I should see the house. When we reached his room, he said I should come and sleep in his room. It was in Indian Hindi. He held my shoulder….touched my breasts…. rubbed my thighs…. and kissed my cheek again. I complained to the police. They have filed a case.

January 2013: The court gave its verdict. He was sentenced to jail. Am I happy?

September 26, 2017: I am ashamed that this man is made the Medical Superintendent of the Sir Sunderlal Hospital on the Banaras Hindu University campus.

August 2017: I am 19 years. My friends asked me to come to a party in the afternoon. We are all classmates, all living in our village Kanigiri. I went along with another girl. On reaching near the fields, they suddenly turned violent. He started beating me. He abused me with filthy language. He started pulling my clothes. He tried to rape me. I was crying. My friend too was beaten. That boy whom I trusted, started filming me. He wanted to rape me, along with his friends. I was shaken. How can he do this. Was he not my friend? I told my parents. But we could not do anything.

September 27, 2017: The video he recorded is now on Facebook. It is all over the internet. I am ashamed. I got some courage and complained to the police. What will be justice to me?

September 19, 2017: I am now in BHU. I was returning to my hostel at around 6.30 in the evening. I was crossing the Proctor's office. There is a security guard 10 metres away from me. I thought I am safe. Suddenly a bike had come and they started molesting me. I shouted at them. They continued to touch me and pass lewd comments. I ran to the security guard. He did not move. I went to the university administration. I complained. They asked me what was I doing after 6 PM outside the hostel. I was shocked. I remembered, yes this is India. I remembered how always girls are blamed. It seems, boys will be boys. I was angry. The VC told that he will change the timings of our hostel. We should be now in the hostel before 6 PM it seems. I told my friends. All of us were angry. They too faced these kinds of things. We exchanged our experiences. All of us are shamed by the administration whenever we complained. How long should we take the blame? Why is it always girls who are at wrong? Are we to blame for our bodies? We decided, enough is enough.

September 20, 2017: All of us gathered in front of the VC’s residence. We want justice. Suddenly police came. They started beating us. No women police. Male police started beating us with lathis. They were molesting us. They even entered our hostels and beat us. Our lecturer was also not spared. What is wrong with them? This is all happening in prime minister’s constituency – the great Varanasi!

Lessons for life: If somebody says girls are responsible, their dress is responsible, the time at which they move is responsible, see my diary. Please don’t talk about ‘beti bachao, beti padao’. You never allow this. You are all hypocrites, when you say that you worship women. Women are for you nothing but objects of lust. It is not only your perversion. You became perverted because of the ideas you entertain in your brain. The system made you perverts, projecting women as commodities to be enjoyed. That women have no choice. That we have no voice.

Women are not like those you see in films and television serials or media advertisements. Women are those you see in the fields, in the factories, in the offices and in the houses. They are the unacknowledged workers, whose work the world ignores, but cannot live without. Gone are the days of tolerating medieval gibberish or neoliberal objectification. We are the modern day women. We know our strength. We know who we are. We are not your mothers, not your sisters. Of course we are not your girl friends, fiancées, lovers or wives. We are women. Human beings. Period.

We know how to yield the ladle, lathe and the laptop. We also know how to yield the lathi. Respect. Live and let live.