From the land of Ahimsa..

Sadness.
Brokenhearted.
There seems to have been an implosion inside my head.

Dalit women protestors were stripped and beaten up in public view by residents in the north eastern Indian town of Guwahati. That pretty much encapsulates the entire story. Except that, it doesn’t. A friend pointed this story out from a dozen or so she was browsing through and I managed to track a video that chronicled the unfolding of this deplorable event. I won’t post it for very obvious reasons. Images stand out like wires from a particularly awful short-circuit. Electricity stinging through your body. A man clad in heavy boots repeatedly kicks a naked woman in the groins and alternately hits her with a thick wooden plank. This is the most played video clip on most local channels who didn’t even blur her face to protect her identity the first time they circulated the clip.
 All of this action replay occurs with timed frequency to ensure optimum titillation for maximum TRPs. The screenshots are accompanied by an over-enthusiastic anchor-woman switching, albeit uncomfortably, between Hindi and English and finally settling for Hinglish descriptions of the gory act. Epithets detailing and denunciating the act simultaneously are flung into the air like the inadvertent chill in the November air.

After significant tut-tutting and gazillion advertisements, the whole situation is placed on the back burner while the tele-quacks begin pouring over far more “disturbing” facts of a recent double murder in Mumbai involving some unknown model.

All that I can do now is to go back to the verses that uplift my soul ever so frequently.

You declare you see me dimly
through a glass which will not shine,
though I stand before you boldly,
trim in rank and making time.

You do own to hear me faintly
as a whisper out of range,
while my drums beat out the message
and the rhythms never change.

Equality, and I will be free.
Equality, and I will be free.

You announce my ways are wanton,
that I fly from man to man,
but if I’m just a shadow to you,
could you ever understand?

We have lived a painful history,
we know the shameful past,
but I keep on marching forward,
and you keep on coming last.

Equality, and I will be free.
Equality, and I will be free.

Take the blinders from your vision,
take the padding from your ears,
and confess you’ve heard me crying,
and admit you’ve seen my tears.

Hear the tempo so compelling,
hear the blood throb through my veins.
Yes, my drums are beating nightly,
and the rhythms never change.

Equality, and I will be free.
Equality, and I will be free.

The question is – When?

Note: The poem included in this post is Equality by Maya Angelou.

Updated:

Link(The discussion thread at SM)
Violent inferno singes Guwahati
Assamese writer talks to the girl at the centre of this tragedy

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~ by iconoplastic on November 26, 2007.

5 Responses to “From the land of Ahimsa..”

  1. I came over via Aishwarya to say hi, but I’m too shattered by this post to say more than a thank you for bringing it up, and for the poem.

  2. no da. still doesn’t work. The RSS feed i mean. now what, hmm?

  3. arre..thats odd..
    I know about the RSS feed lah!I’d taken it off for a while but it shud be active now.
    I thought you could see the option once you scrolled down..cant no see?
    😦

  4. @Roswitha – Yes, its beyond tragic. I was and continue to be stunned by what I see of this emotional carnage.
    Btw..we should meet sometime.

  5. I’m always amazed at humanity’s endless capacity for such barbaric sadism. History tramples on with bloody tatters but we seem to lock ourselves in some mute glass bubble. This is beyond grief, beyond nausea; can only stare on in silent horror.
    Saw this thread over on SM too; what horrifies me most, what’ll give me nightmares (aside from the obvious) is the laughter of those onlookers. God, what is in their hearts??
    I hate most of all that these stories are not unique, not just an abberation. That somewhere on this globe, whether its a few miles away in my comfortable middle-class town, or a few thousand in the opposite direction, some nightmare is playing out. I cannot, cannot compute the impulse in a person that allows this to happen.

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