There is an emotion making its way up my throat.
An emotion that has been excited by yet another case of brutality, in this land I call my home.
It isn’t fear;
I know, because I experienced fear, the first time an extremist joked about having me killed for being gay,
I experienced fear then; although my mouth inched into a laugh.
This isn’t that.
It isn’t shame,
I know, because I’ve experienced shame in calling myself an Indian when I was first introduced to the lies that this country hides away in the name of ‘peace’.
I experienced shame then; although I stood and sang the national anthem, knowing full-well that my heart was not invested, and neither was my mind.
This isn’t that.
It isn’t anger,
I know, because I’ve experienced anger when Narendra took the centre stage and turned the helm of this already sinking country toward his own ideal of ‘Hindustan’.
I experienced anger then; when he stood idly by at the lynching of members from other communities, and the threats his goons sent out, knowing that dissent then was unwise if I wished safety for myself.
This isn’t that.
Then it has to be sadness,
I know, because I’ve exhausted the other big three. And now in the light of yet another gang rape and murder of a child, it sadness me that the matter that’s brought to light is the political leanings of the crime. Not the child who was robbed off her life and innocence, not the pain of her parents, not even the consideration that this isn’t the first time; no, what is important, is the political undertones involved therein.
A child; a pawn, in a greater feud between people in power pushing their agendas, and not pulling any stops in doing so.
A child; drugged by the hands of men, whose faith boasts the strength of women.
A child; locked away in a haven to the pious, where impunity was the only order of the day.
A child; desecrated amongst the idols of another’s faith, in what her abusers thought was a lesson for her kind.
Does it matter that she was eight?
Does it matter that she was a girl?
Does it matter that she was Muslim?
Does it matter that the Narendra has emboldened the perverse to act how they choose by standing beside them as their silent saffron saint?
–YES IT DOES– But only the first and last of these, truly do.
Yes, it matters that the evil here, is looked over by the Prime Minister, in what is increasingly becoming a fight against his own.
It matters that every action taken in this godforsaken country is politically motivated.
It matters that impunity is traded like wafers at brunch, to allow the fat and corrupt, up in high places, to escape conviction for the acts that they commit, and for the kind of people that they are.
It is sadness that I now feel, because there’s no way out. There’s nothing to be done, and nothing to be said, than to cut off the beast at the head to prevent more carnage.
I am sad to have to belong to a nation that has defiled its place in history, from a nation of wonder and beauty, to one where human rights are of the least importance, and where the only requirements for being a true ‘Indian’ today, is a lack of empathy, and a hunger to rake in as much money and power when it comes your turn to shine.
This is not the India I grew up in… or was it, and was I just too blind to see back then?
They should be drugged, and raped, and tortured, and killed. They should know justice, and not the sweet release of a quick death (or in my country’s case, a quick stint in prison).
If an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind; that’s one less eye that saw the pervert molest his niece, and set the tone for objectifying and sexualizing children, in a country he supposedly fathered.
One less eye to shed another tear for when a political party covers up another murder, rape, or crime for want of a perfect record during the next election year.
One less eye to be covered in eyewash against the brutality of the sick and perverse in power.
One less eye, one less lie.
wherever you are, you know that you are safe now.
That your life will be remembered by us who write and sing for you.
That where you are now is safer than where you were.
hold on to the kindness of your spirit;
don’t think ill of all the people that down here wretch,
for we too are victims, victims of circumstance,
shackled in powerlessness, against the war that rages on;
powerless, but not dead–
not dead, and thus not quitting.
You, child of another, but sister of mine,
you will be the name that is etched upon the minds of those who wronged you,
when life leaves their body, and the air collapses from their form,
your victory will come then,
when those Gods that bore witness to your pain, and your tears,
will impale them ten times over for the pain they caused you.
Your life was not in vain.
Your cries were not unheard.
You are, and always will be loved.