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Amrita Tripathi

Writer/ Journalist/ Time Traveller

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Blog posts December 2013

One Year On, What (of) Change and Hope?

December 16, 2013

December 16: It's a date the whole country remembers -- seared into our collective memory. And for once, you can't fault the media for "over-playing" / "over-doing" an incident. A ghastly attack on a young girl, a girl we re-named and claimed, a girl who came to symbolise courage, yes incredible courage, and also all that was wrong with the system.

The nay-sayers say we do not march on India Gate when it's other survivors, when it's other cities, but they're missing the larger point - she triggered that point where we all said, enough! (Even those of us who didn't march on India Gate, who didn't feel comfortable in the massive crowds that gathered). She was also symbolic, larger than life, and marked that watershed moment. We grieve, many of us, in private for the 5 year old girl we read about, for Manorama Devi, for people we know, who've been assaulted, raped, been victims of acid attacks -- not all of whom can find their voices. We grieve for countless, faceless others sometimes. And we must. Because know that when you stop caring, part of your own humanity has died.

But no, grieving isn't enough.

We must stop judging, we must make judgement-free zones, safe spaces, for survivors and victims alike. We must raise our voices when we see harassment around us, we must encourage friends and others to go for counselling, identify resources that can help them, start self-help groups. We must raise better men, we must instill humanity and empathy in those around us, starting with ourselves. Someone tweeted to say we must "start with unity". No, I don't think so. We must start with ourselves. (And no, I'm not saying it will be easy. And no, not even with our nearest and dearest. Sometimes they will feel let down, isolated, in the dark. And sometimes relationships do break down irretrievably. We owe it to ourselves, to retain that humanity, remain compassionate and open to conversations.)

Re-claim our cities, the brave folks at Blank Noise tell us. It's not easy, not when you've been hounded, not when you've feared for your own safety, and not when you've faced attack or assault. But it is imperative that we re-claim our cities, that we re-claim our lives. We are all survivors in a way. And we must keep the fight going.

(I wrote more on Delhi: One Year On here).

 

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