Triple Talaq is a terrible thing. It does not need to be criminalised.

If I asked a large group of men whether most matrimonial laws were being abused against men, I suspect the answer would be a resounding “yes”. If I asked the same group if marital rape should be criminalised, the answer would be a near-unanimous “no”. Last year, I had argued that marital rape should be criminalised, and received tonnes of angry feedback saying: It would be a terrible idea to bring the State inside the bedroom. Did I want to destroy the institution of family? Women could seek divorce if they are being raped. There will be a flood of innocent men being thrown into prison if marital rape is criminalised…. And so on.

I suspect the people making the above arguments will get their knickers in a twist when they hear about the Bill that the Narendra Modi government introduced in the Lok Sabha on Thursday, which the lower house passed – ostensibly out of concern for women whose husbands abandon them. The Bill intends to criminalise the practice of triple talaq. One would think there was no need for this because the Supreme Court of India has already held that triple talaq is void. The government, however, is arguing that since the practice continues despite the apex court judgment, making it a crime is necessary.

A day after arguments were concluded in the triple talaq case this year, I had written a piece criticising all political parties for pandering to regressive religious sentiments; criticising the media for creating a discourse demonising Muslims; criticising the court itself for not outlawing polygamy and nikah halala (and for not declaring that all personal laws must be consistent with fundamental rights); criticising the BJP for its motives behind its stand on triple talaq; and finally, arguing that no matter what, the Supreme Court must hold that triple talaq was unconstitutional. I feel the need to re-state that I had written this because we live in a time where everything is black and white. So any argument pointing out that there is something wrong with a law dealing with triple talaq is likely to be construed as supporting the practice of triple talaq itself. And lastly, being seen to be speaking in ‘favour of’ Muslims has become a crime bigger than all others.

The Bill criminalises “Talaq-e-biddat or any other similar form of talaq having the effect of instantaneous and irrevocable divorce pronounced by a Muslim husband”. This is absurd, because after the judgment of the Supreme Court, there isn’t any form of talaq which has this effect. Even the bill in question declares that the declaration of triple talaq will be “void” i.e. have no effect. The act has been made cognisable and non-bailable, and inviting a fine and imprisonment which may extend up to three years. A cognisable offence is one in which a cop does not need a warrant to make an arrest. Any information from any source and/or her own beliefs are enough for her to make the arrest. And non-bailable means that only the appropriate court will be able to grant bail to the accused.

So the government intends to pass a law where Muslim men can be thrown behind bars for pronouncing words which have no effect or, let’s say, for abandoning their wives. Even if a disgruntled neighbor, a bigot or a mischief-monger tells the police that a man has pronounced triple talaq, this would be sufficient to throw him into prison. Does this seem reasonable to you?

Is the government doing this out of concern for women? I may have believed that if it was as keen on criminalising marital rape, or decriminalising Section 377, or removing from the law books the remedy of “restitution of conjugal rights”. Then why is the government doing this?

The reasons are clear to those who want to see. Criminalising triple talaq serves several purposes. It is a leap forward towards the goal of reducing a section of Indians to second-class citizenship. It takes the campaign to demonise Muslims one step forward (the most recent incident being Ahmed Patel = Muslim = Pakistan = shock, horror!). It diminishes their freedom since they will now live not only in fear of being lynched but also in fear of being thrown behind bars for no fault. It gives the State extraordinary coercive power over Muslims and amplifies the overall environment of fear this government has set as the most important item on its agenda. It is also a politically low-hanging fruit because the BJP knows that no political party can dare criticise the Bill too much, lest it is seen as ‘favouring Muslims’.

The BJP has everyone believing that the moment they go out of power, India will become an Islamic state. The fact that this did not happen in the last 70 years is something everyone conveniently chooses to ignore. Is instant triple talaq a horrible thing? Sure. Should it be criminalised? No, that would be a remedy extremely disproportionate to the wrong. If this move of the government is going to have your support, go ahead. But let us not pretend it has anything to do with the well-being of women. Let’s not delude ourselves. Let’s not be fooled.

An edited version of this article was first published in Mumbai Mirror


On banning condom ads

After you finish reading this, hide this page from your child. Ask her to read something safer instead, like the comments uttered in the last election rally. With that disclaimer out of the way, read on….

2003: A Union Cabinet minister for Information & Broadcasting orders the state broadcaster to shift focus away from ‘condom-centric’ AIDS prevention ad campaigns. The country? India.

2014: Harsh Vardhan, the then health minister of India, echoes this line of thought. In an interview to The New York Times, he says, “The thrust of the AIDS campaign should not only be on the use of condoms. This sends the wrong message that you can have any kind of illicit sexual relationship, but as long as you’re using a condom, it’s fine.”

2011: Pharmacies are ordered to remove “immoral, sexual and crude” condom advertisements. In Iran.

2015: On World Population Day, Nathan Shah, a BJP MLA from Madhya Pradesh, labels family planning as being against “Indian culture”.

2016: Turkish President Erdogan says no Muslim can accept family planning and contraception. The same year in India, at a congregation of sadhus backed by the RSS, a ‘seer’ says Hindus must have 10 children, and god will take care of them. And in Pakistan, condom advertising is completely banned. Later, after protests by some sections, the ban is amended and restricted to a certain timeframe.

2017: India, which I argued last week is fast becoming Pakistan 2.0, has followed suit and banned condom ads between 6 am and 10 pm, apparently because the ads are “indecent”. This in a country where 44,000 women die each year from pregnancy-related complications; and the country that ranks third in the list of nations with the highest number of people living with HIV.

Per a report on, Dr Sam Prasad, country programme director of the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, described the daytime ban on condom ads as a retrograde move. I don’t think he was asked about whether this was a positive step as far as the morals of the country were concerned, or whether the government should bother itself with morals at all. What should receive more priority: culture, fidelity and morals, or unwanted pregnancies and the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases?

I must point out that the government hasn’t specified what constitutes ‘indecency’ and whether only ‘indecent’ ads will be banned; there seems to be a blanket ban on all condom ads. These developments have raised a few questions in my uncultured mind, which I would like to share:

First, which wise person believes that children only watch TV between 6 am and 10 pm (I am most intrigued by the ban on adverts during school hours —assuming that the ban really is for the benefit of children, that is)? Second, 10-year-olds use mobile phones these days. In the age of internet, who believes that it is possible to hide content from children, as opposed to educating and training them to process undesirable content? Third, even if the government has taken upon itself the noble task of saving children from moral corruption, why fixate on condoms in an age where everything from Mango drinks to cement is sold via advertisements that objectify women and are sexually suggestive?

Fourth, the child of a friend of mine recently asked her mother what her religion was, and whether her religion meant that she was a Pakistani. What exactly is it that the government must block on television to prevent such ideas from entering the minds of children? Fifth, when a person who compares women with demons and endorses calls for mass murder is appointed to high office, what effect does this have on children?

Sixth, and this is more a plea than a question, while the government is at it, can it please do all of us a big favour and also take a look at the effect of what is being passed off as information on many ‘news channels’? I am not sure, but I have a feeling that anchors screaming and inciting hatred all day have a far more damaging effect on morals and culture than anything else.

Finally, since the government is showing tremendous concern for children, any advice on what to tell the child who recently saw her father being lynched to death by a man who was recording this on camera? And to others who lost family members to violence that is passively encouraged or ignored by the powers that be? What should be blocked to prevent that?

An edited version of this article was first published on Mumbai Mirror

Hadiya and Draupadi

That man did not have the right to put fetters on my freedom and neither do you, a woman tells the court. Some debate follows. Did he have the right to decide what happens to her? A man says, of course, he did, and now we do. We will decide what will happen to her body, where she can and cannot go. These are the few similarities between what happened to Draupadi and what is happening to Hadiya. In Draupadi’s story, she is attacked by a person in the court and a man/’lord’ saves her.

The highest court of the land, the guardian of the Constitution of India and of individual liberty, is keeping an adult woman away from her husband because it suspects she may have been brainwashed by evangelists-cum terrorists. Even if there is a grand conspiracy to trap women into romantic alliances for terror-related activities, the most any court can do is lodge an FIR and throw people into prison. Hadiya, her husband, everyone who is a Muslim, throw everyone in prison on grounds that they may be associated with criminal activities.

But discussing whether an adult is speaking for herself, or has been brainwashed? Debating whether she is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome? Looking for ‘guardians’ for an adult? If any institution other than one which constantly hangs the sword over our head had done this, I would only have three words to say- how dare you!

Why doesn’t the Supreme Court just make our lives easier and direct the government to create an institution that will approve marriages between a Muslim and a person of any other faith? Why don’t the institutions of the State abandon all pretense and say, anything a Muslim does should be considered suspicious? The food they eat, the people they marry, the places they live in, the institutions they study in. The apex court has as much right to compel Hadiya to live at x place or under x person’s ‘guardianship’ as it does to compel you and me to whip ourselves with lashes, to dance naked on the streets, to bang our heads on the wall, to live with a particular uncle or aunt. What will you do the day the court actually directs you to do something as absurd? What is more absurd, asking a man to dance naked on the streets or telling an adult woman that she may have been brainwashed and thus can’t speak for herself? Who is to say that those giving her these sermons have not been brainwashed by the regressive patriarchal culture prevalent in this country? According to a report in Newslaundry, when Senior Advocate Indira Jaisingh tried to speak for Hadiya, she was met with dismissal and a remark that this wasn’t a gender justice issue? What if the judges in courts across the country have been brainwashed into not being able to recognize gender justice issues because they shamelessly continue to deny women entry on the bench?

I request the government of India, spare us this anguish, this shame, burn the Constitution of India and declare that the law will be whatever a judge sitting in the apex court decides it will be. Please explicitly declare that even the Constitution imposes no limits on what judges can and cannot do, and while you’re at it, remind everyone that the only people responsible for preserving the prestige of the court are those outside the court, not inside it. Those inside are above any boundaries whatsoever.

I have no hesitation in saying- the Supreme Court has conducted itself no better than the most regressive khap panchayat in the country. The difference is only of attire, location, fancy buildings and a façade of respectability.

Let me try a bit of good old plain-speaking. Hadiya is being punished because she married a Muslim, because she chose to convert to Islam – everything else is secondary. Any person, especially a woman, who dares to do this must obviously be brainwashed. The whole country must transform itself into an uncle and take her life into its hands to save her from something that is still extremely radical for women in this country – making decisions for themselves. At this rate, in a few years, the Supreme Court will take the burden of finding suitable grooms for all women on itself. The government will do a thorough investigation and guarantee the crime-free antecedents of the groom. The state will be one large, oppressive, disgusting joint family.

The woman, inside and outside the court has been repeatedly saying – give me freedom. Shame on us.

Triple Talaq- The courts, the politics, the society and the media.

Yesterday, the Supreme Court of India finished hearing arguments in a case challenging the constitutionality of the practice of ‘instant triple talaq/talaq-ibidat’, Nikah Halala and polygamy. The issue needs an intersectional analysis. It cannot and should not be seen from the sole perspective, either of law, gender, politics or religion. It is also critical to evaluate the role and quality of discourse.

First, I say this with great respect that in refusing to evaluate the constitutionality of Nikah Halala (Loosely described as a religious requirement that a divorced woman first marry and sleep with another man before returning to her husband) and polygamy and restricting itself only to triple talaq, the Apex Court has abdicated its duty. Despite being urged to do so by the government as well as the All India Personal Law Muslim Board (AIPLMB), the court has also refused to rule on whether all personal laws should come within the ambit of the Constitution of India. Instead, it chooses to continue with analysing whether a practice is essential/fundamental to the religion. This is most disheartening.

The court is not a panchayat, and it is not a priest. I am guessing that the reasons behind the court’s approach to this are (i) the court not wanting to open floodgates of litigation and causing ‘chaos’ in society and, ii) the belief that such changes must happen incrementally. The chaos reason makes no sense especially since the government itself is willing to take the responsibility of maintaining ‘order’. It is rather cruel that women must once again bear the burden of ‘preserving order’ because the court refuses to uphold their rights which are otherwise guaranteed in the constitution.

Secondly, the reasons that are being put forward against abolishing triple talaq. The AIPLMB shamelessly said that the court’s interference might revive a ‘dying practice’. This is tantamount to saying that don’t impose reform or we will wreck even more cruelty on our own brethren. Shame. Some argue that in such situations reform must come ‘from within’. There is (and reasonably so) a certain amount of anxiety being felt by a part of the Muslim community because of the timing of these developments. Is a majoritarian government on a rampage? What if this attempt at ‘liberating Muslim women’ is just a charade to fool people into believing that it is indeed secular and liberal? Flavia Agnes points out in her book Family Laws and Constitutional Claims that in such times religion becomes an even more important marker of identity. She argues that the intended reforms are rendered ineffective because such imposition pits women against their community.

The obvious question is, why didn’t these regressive practices get abolished when other governments were in power. If the intentions of the BJP are indeed mendacious, who is to be blamed for letting things coming to such a pass? The formula of incrementalism has only led to more chaos. It has only led to all political parties pandering to the regressive clergy of all religions.

Third, some people have also expressed pain at the discourse painting Muslims as this regressive, primitive community which abandons women at the drop of a hat. They ask, are there no inhumane practices in other religions? Why aren’t they being dealt with first/together? In her book, Agnes reminds us of the long, painful and continuing journey that is the reform of Hindu Personal Law. Sardar Patel, Rajendra Prasad, and the RSS opposed the right of women to divorce, the abolishing of coparcenary and inheritance to daughters amongst Hindus. Until 1955, polygamy was permitted amongst Hindus. Until 2005, daughters had limited rights in the ancestral property. Marital rape and child marriages are still pervasive across religions. These are, however, arguments in favor of abolishing all regressive laws and practices.

Fourth, the sensationalist approach of the media. The media would have everyone believe that an average Muslim man is a regressive adulterer at best and a terrorist at worst. Tragically, an average non-Muslim rarely interacts with Muslims. Again, all communities, the government, and the courts share blame for this. For instance, there is zero movement on housing discrimination being outlawed. Everyone loves their ghettos. An average non-Muslim learns about Muslims through the media which paints an astonishingly ridiculous picture. The media has failed to educate people about the reform of the personal law in every religion. It has failed to point out that instant triple talaq is not the only way (and by some accounts not even the prevalent) mechanism of divorce. It has failed to inform people that Islam and Muslims are not monoliths. It was duty bound to do so. It must reflect on the damage this failure is resulting in before it is too late.

Finally, instant triple talaq must be abolished pronto. Obviously, these are not the ideal set of circumstances in which this should have happened. But they will have to do. The society, courts and the government already compel women to bear too many cruel burdens. No more.

This article was first published in Mumbai Mirror

The farce of women’s day.

A lot of things have remained unchanged between the last Women’s Day and the one that just went by: marital rape, triple Talaq…

It lasted twenty-four hours. I suspect these twenty-four hours must be torturous for so many. It wasn’t like brave souls didn’t raise their voice against the oppression, so powerful was the onslaught, they were summarily crushed. I am talking about International Women’s day, which was recently celebrated all over social media, by several brands, and in several restaurants and bars.

While there were those who weren’t worried, some people rightly expressed apprehensions that it was unfair for women to have one special day for themselves, while men didn’t. Well, to be fair, it’s possible that in the early days of patriarchy, men must have felt special but they soon got used to and bored of all the oppression they perpetrated, and now there’s nothing special about the remaining 364 days.

I mean, are men really wrong when they complain about stores offering discounts to women? So what if men enjoy far bigger ‘discounts’ in the form of much higher wages? (A 2010 report of the World Economic Forum claims that even in the corporate sector, women are paid one-third of what men in the same position are paid.)

There is a school of thought, which believes that if things get out of hand, one day could soon increase to two and maybe even a whole month. We must not get carried away. I believe that all such concerns are unfounded, because men march on as gloriously as ever and nothing really changes.

To reassure other men I have made a list of the things that remained unchanged in India between the last women’s day and this one:

1) Marital rape continues to be legal. Several studies show that it is also commonly prevalent. Rape is legal in India, as long as the person doing it happens to be your husband. Yes, there are many countries in the world where marital rape is a crime (including Nepal) and there is no significant abuse of law. Yet, people continue to raise the spectre of the institution of marriage and family getting destroyed if marital rape is criminalised in India. Women being raped is a small price to pay for the long life of these institutions.

2) Adultery continues to be a crime. If a married woman sleeps with a man who isn’t her husband, her husband has the right to sue the said third man. The woman’s consent in filing this case, or the fact that she chose to do as she pleased with her body is irrelevant. Her body is not her own. The law’s origins can be traced to the 16th century (four hundred years ago), a time when it was cool to openly acknowledge that women were the property of men. Those were the days.

3) Women’s reservation bill, originally tabled in Parliament in 1996, has still not been passed. The bill is futile anyway, because there is still a lot of confusion over what women should be allowed to eat and wear and who they should have sex with.

4) “Sex against the order of nature” continues to be a crime under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code. This is simple. We are regressive and cruel by nature, so members of the LGBTQ community having sex is against our nature. Indians have tremendous clarity when it comes to sex- we are busy either arguing that we must be allowed to forcibly have sex, or arguing that someone else must not be allowed to have any sex.

5) The government has not come out with a law that prohibits housing discrimination – and the society takes care of the rest by ensuring that single working women find it difficult to rent houses. They are getting discounts once ayear, though, and one shouldn’t be too greedy.

6) While there is plenty of debate around the matter, Triple Talaq continues to be legal. When it is otherwise clear that men own women, why is there so much conversation around whether they can be summarily dumped and abandoned?

7) On Twitter, the Prime Minister of India continues to follow people who threaten and abuse women. In case you’re not a Twitter person, ‘follow’ here does not mean he is monitoring them, it actually means that he finds them interesting.

8) The government continues to make a mockery of the Nirbhaya Fund, with a large part of the funds lying unused. Also, the government had initially planned to have 660 one-stop centres, which would provide medical, legal and psychological assistance to rape survivors. The number has now been scaled down to 36. The government clearly came to its senses and realised that not all men are rapists and so, we don’t need these many centres. Modi marked the occasion of women’s day strangely not with an acronym, but by saying that he ‘salutes nari shakti’. This is large-hearted of him, because we all know that while oppressing a group of people, it is helpful to tell them that they are very brave and full of shakti. There was this slogan doing the rounds during the 2014 national elections. Was it ‘Bohot hua naari pe vaar, abki baar discounts in bar’? No, I don’t think so.

This article was first published in the Mumbai Mirror

Lipstick under my burkha

The Central Board of Film Certification (popularly known as the Censor Board), which exists because there are no adults in India who can think for themselves, is being unfairly attacked. I, for one, will not stay silent while this injustice continues. However, I do advise that you stop right here and take this article to someone in the Censor Board and ask them if it is OK to read it.

With that out of the way, here’s what is happening: the board has refused to certify Prakash Jha’s upcoming film Lipstick under my Burkha. I saw the trailer and the movie seems to be about four independent-minded women who have sexual desires sans the objective of having a child/independent of marriage. If only the filmmakers had argued that the movie is fantasy fiction like the Lord of the Rings, then maybe the movie may have made some sense, but they did not do that. More importantly, and this is an act of deceit no one seems to have noticed, the title of the movie is Lipstick under my Burkha.

CBFC refuses to certify Prakash Jha’s film Lipstick Under My Burkha

This was clearly done to fool the Censor Board, because going by the trailer there is more lipstick outside the burkha than inside it, and even the women seem to want to get out of the burkha, or any clothes at all, without appropriate permission from the society/their husbands/boyfriends/fathers/men.

The Censor Board, it must be known, does not take the responsibility of controlling the minds of crores of Indian citizens lightly, and therefore the movie was rejected for the following reason: “The story is lady-oriented, their fantasy above life. There are contanious sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography and a bit sensitive touch about one particular section of the society.”

Many people are saying that this line of thinking is regressive but they are wrong. I am yet to read an order of the board, which is this honest, compassionate and forward-thinking. The board bravely calls out the movie for being lady-oriented. Pray, tell me, what is lady-oriented in this country?

Not public spaces, not marriages (dowry, marital rape, viri locality), not employment inside or outside government, not the judiciary, which hardly has any women judges, not the Supreme Court of India, which recently held that women are duty-bound to live with their in-laws, not religion for sure.

Why must such unrealistic ideas be perpetuated? The board also rightly identifies their fantasies as being ‘above life’. This has more depth and wisdom than is apparent at first glance. Firstly, the very idea of women fantasizing is unknown in our society except for a few victims of western culture.

Secondly, it is well-known that women fantasizing about choosing who they want to marry, or forgetting that they are merely a part of someone’s ‘honor’ -— often costs women their life. The board is therefore simply saving lives. The order states that the movie contains sexual scenes. The problem is that the film seems to be about women who want sex without any reasonable goal. They don’t want it to bear a child who will take the name of his/her father forward. They are neither married nor sex workers. Why else would women want to have sex?

Despite rumors to the contrary, Indians know that women don’t masturbate. There are no women who want to have sex just for the sake of sex. No women who want to pick up men, have sex and say thank you, goodbye. (Men do this but women don’t.) Everything that women wear each day of their lives is to either please men or provoke them. Women don’t have a body independent of how it exists in the minds of men. Every aspect of a woman’s life exists for consumption by men. Coming to the board’s beef with women using abuses/expletives, I can’t believe that experienced filmmakers can be this naive.

Women don’t use expletives. Women are expletives. How else would men insult/humiliate each other? There would hardly be any expletives if there were no women (which is something many Indian families tried very hard to achieve — kill before being born, kill immediately after birth, kill after marriage, and so on).

Similarly, women don’t watch pornography; they are the subject of pornography. Thousands of women have been destroyed for these ideas to be clearly understood by the society. I am sure that the board believes that their sacrifice must not be in vain. I leave you with an anecdote that a friend shared, but I obviously did not believe. My friend said she walked into her mother’s room to find her masturbating with a radish. She was shocked, and the first and only word that came out of her was Mooli!

Her mother calmly responded: “Kela naazuk hai, jaldi toot jaata hai.” (The banana is delicate, it breaks very quickly).


This article was first published in Mumbai Mirror


Muzaffarnagar 2013: Lest we forget.

Dozens of women are gang raped. Seven (including at least two who were raped in front of their own children) gather the courage to come forward and fight for justice. The accused seem to have powerful friends. They use every trick in the book to abuse the criminal justice machinery. The women and their families are intimidated, the accused secure bail and delay trial by not appearing in court despite court orders.

The police do their best to delay the trial by not registering FIRs, not filing charge-sheets, not ensuring that the witnesses and the victims receive sufficient security. All odds are set against the victims who are fighting institutions which are veterans in this kind of a battle.

Here’s what these institutions (the government, politicians, the police, the courts) appear to be saying to the victims: this may be your first case, but we have done this over and over again. We will crush you. Now comes the twist in the tale. Ordinary folks like you, witness all this happening and refuse to stay quiet. They refuse to forget. They decide to tell these institutions – you may think these women are alone but they’re not. We have had enough. They decide to tell those women that they are not alone. All over the country, people hold candle marches, write to their elected representatives, start tweeting, demanding justice.

Suddenly the fight becomes a little equal. Because the one thing all these institutions fear is ordinary folks, especially angry ordinary folks, especially thousands of them. I don’t know what happens next. If you were writing this story, what do you think would happen next? If this was going on in a movie, let’s call it Rang De Muzaffarnagar, what would need to occur in the script to make you feel happy? Or even proud?

Everything I have shared in the paragraph above is true in the context of the gang-rapes in Muzaffarnagar in 2013. Except for the bit about the Aam Janta deciding to lend their voice to the victims. The gang-rapes in front of children, police delaying FIRs and charge-sheets, courts granting bails on the condition that the accused will not seek adjournments. The accused repeatedly seeking adjournments and no one batting an eyelid. No convictions.

Women and their families being intimidated and receiving death threats. Women being forced to withdraw their cases. In some cases, the investigating officer himself terrorizing the victims. Some of these cases are still going on. In at least one the charge-sheet has not been filed till date. The State government appears to be continuing under the belief that no one is watching. Continuing with the hope that delay will kill the victims who they are not able to scare, or harass to the point of exhaustion.

Why am I repeatedly talking about the failure and/or collusion of the government? Some context is necessary: these rapes happened during the riots in Muzaffarnagar. In 2014, the Supreme Court put the blame for the riots squarely at the door of the Samajwadi Party-led state government. Sangeet Singh Som, who is a sitting MLA of the BJP, is one of the chief accused in the case for allegedly making provocative speeches and uploading incendiary fake videos. Justice Vishnu Sahai Commission’s report on Muzaffarnagar riots of 2013 has also concluded that Sangeet Som was guilty of instigating people to riot. A member of Parliament from BSP has also been accused of giving incendiary speeches and was sent to Judicial Custody in December 2013.

What I’m saying is, the political class has sufficient cause to be united and probably is united. We do, too. The political class has a lot of power at its disposal. We do too. As I’m writing this, I receive a message from a friend. He has shared a quote by Alice Walker: “The most common way people give up power is by thinking they don’t have any.” Those in power seem to be doing their best to crush these victims and to also crush us, because, mark my words, every act of violence against a woman that no one is held responsible for leads to many more acts of violence against women.

Those in power are counting on you to forget. Let me confess, I had forgotten too until I read a thorough report authored by Amnesty International on the matter. Much of the information I have shared here is sourced from their report. The victims, on the other hand, are probably hoping what each of us who have been in such a situation and who, heaven forbid, may one day be in such a situation would be thinking. Fervently hoping justice is done, praying with every iota of our being that we get all the support we can.

Wanting to be told – you’re not alone. Like I said, those in power are hoping you forget. The victims are hoping that you don’t forget, and don’t let anyone forget. From here on, the script is yours to write.

This article was first published in Mumbai Mirror