From Nirbhaya-2012 to Manipur horror-2023: A decade lost……. but lesson not learned


The national capital of India, New Delhi made news worldwide in December 2012 for the unprecedented brutality against a daughter of the country later named as “Nirbhaya” for the extraordinary courage shown by her when she said that she wanted to live when all the hopes were waning away and demanded that the culprits must be punished.  The incidence was a failure of the Indian community which has somehow nourished inhumanness among its people to the extent that may even shy the notorious wild animals; and the government of the day which could not honor its constitutional obligation of life and liberty for its people.  However, it was still a time when every Indian stood by her and felt ashamed and protested widely bringing the entire country to a standstill. Some promises were made to the nation and the life resumed.

What emerged recently from the Manipur violence makes us believe that the people are competing for the traits of inhumaneness and how better they can be in it. Where in the world this happens? In the age of AI and space journeys where exactly India as a community of people stands? The mob culture and the herd mentality are enslaving the social justice and the guarantees of the constitution. Who has failed India as a nation? In my considered opinion it is “we the people of India”. It has to be understood that the constitution is not a holy book with a choice to the reader to choose between good and evil or even ignore it. The constitution is the soul and strength of India’s pluralistic mosaic and requires being alive and operative. It is the people of India who make this happen through democratic process that transfers the aspirations of the people to legislature, executive and judiciary.

So if the smell is foul in a democracy it reflects the rotting of its people. It is a challenge for us to not let ourselves rot and push India towards an uncivilized state. The world is moving ahead and our people choose to stay with minds and hearts poisoned with intolerance, disharmony and moral turpitudes. There is no doubt that the country is injured deep into the skin and it has been injured by its own people. The wound is indeed offensively malodorous……………….

I am leaving the audience with few lines from the poet Kaifi Azmi that inspires us to make efforts to overcome the poor existence and enter a future that is bright and refreshing:

“Aaj ki raat bahut garm hava chaltee hai

aaj ki raat na footpath pe neend ayegi

sab utho, main bhi uthoon tum bhee utho, tum bhee utho

koi khidki isee deewar mein khul jaeygi”


Mohammad Fahad Ullah, PhD, MRSC, Professor, Mississauga, ON L5B 0K4, Canada

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