Though I personally never had a chance to meet Safoora Zargar, Devangana Kalita or Natasha Narwal, I feel this thought might have come across their minds, even in the feeblest possible way. Jamia student, Safoora, who is 21 weeks pregnant, has been denied bail and shifted to Tihar jail. A would-be mother has been sentenced to share a crowded jail cell with other women, amidst the ongoing pandemic, COVID-19. This is one scenario of India, the land where mothers and ladies are termed as goddesses, where a pregnant woman and her unborn child are suffering punishment for protesting against the CAA!

Now let me portray another scenario of the same country – a pregnant elephant in Kerela is killed after the accidental consumption of cracker-filled pineapple, supposedly placed by the locals of the region to scare away wild animals. This incident led to huge outrage throughout the country – starting from common people to celebrities and politicians, everybody condemned this incident. An attempt was also made to give a communal color to this incident when a false report was circulated that this incident occurred in the minority-dominant region, Malapuram. Now the question is the country, especially the people is power, more compassionate for animal, but not for human beings?!!

The contradiction in both these situations, the irony in it is imperative for the youth of this nation, especially for the women. The courage, fierce strength, and sheer determination exhibited by Safoora, Devangana and Natasha is very much comparable to those women who are exemplified to our children – Sarojini Naidu, Kanaklata, Durga bhabhi and many others – women, who were fearless and ready to raise their voices against oppression in those times! Yet, in an independent India, these women are charged on grounds to questioning and protesting against the controversial NRC/CAA. Now, isn’t ‘Right to Question’ a fundamental right, penned down in the Constitution? Isn’t the existence of a strong opposition the backbone of a democracy?

At this juncture I remember Judge Frank Caprio from Rhode Island, USA, whose compassion and love for fellow human beings, while giving verdicts, made him a viral sensation. He is an example for all the lawyers, judges and solicitors – he has shown to the world that while giving a judgment, one has to remember that in addition to provide justice, he has to be fair, tolerant, compassionate and full of understanding. This is an example from USA; whereas all the women who represent India in the beauty pageants, reiterate that our country has the highest level of compassion, love and hospitality. Isn’t this a bit surprising or ironical? Or should we use the word ‘hypocrisy’ here?

However, there is one thing which is very clear from the arrest and denial of bail of these 3 brave-hearted young women, along with the protest of aged ladies of Shaheen Bagh – the people in power are ‘scared’ of ‘powerful women, educated women and women with a strong voice!!’ While the people ruling the nation preach ‘Beti Baachao, Beti Parhao’, they don’t want that Beti to rise and question!! Let us all pray and hope that the baby of Safoora Zargar is born free and confined to jail!

Through this piece I say to all my youth, irrespective of gender, I appeal that don’t be scared to voice your opinion when you know you are right! Do your bit in whatever way possible, with honesty, sincerity and, most importantly, with dignity. To do wrong is a sin but to tolerate and accept any wrong done on you or anyone else is a greater sin!!

Dr. Ishani Chakrabartty, HOD, Department of Science, PAFGC, Mangalore University

ishani.kaushik@gmail.com


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