'Home Didn't Exist For Us Daughters': An Open Letter to the 8-Year-Old From Jammu Who Bruised Our Souls

Illustration by Mir Suhail/ News18

Illustration by Mir Suhail/ News18

Dear A, you have left a wound which has scarred humanity forever.

Deblina Halder
  • CNN-News18
  • Last Updated: April 20, 2018, 1:56 PM IST
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Dear A,

I know you are light years away from us. What I don't know is why. Did you really have to leave so early? I wonder if finally you're at peace but I do want to know what did they reap out of assaulting you. However, the country did gain a lot. It gained new sympathizers, communal tension, more mud slinging politicians and found fodder for social media.

Do you miss home? Don't. Home doesn't exist for you. For me. And for every other daughter like us. Home never existed. We never had home. Home is an illusion. A, how did home feel? Do you remember? I hope you don't. The warmth was momentary, and so was your life. Like a dandelion.

Had I met you, I would have loved tying your mahogany-hued hair into fishtails, like I would do to my sister. I fall in love with your doe-shaped eyes, every time I see the photos shared on social media. And at the same time, a chill runs down my spine. It takes time to soak in the fact that they treated you in ways more inhumane than we treat animals.

I know the world will spit at me talking to you about those eight days, but I would rather choose to. Let's tell them what it feels to be physically violated. How did they start? They sedated you and tore down your clothes? Right? And hurled abuses every time you cried for Ammi? Hit you hard with a rock? Was it painful? Come on, everybody wants to know.

You see, the politicians, the lawmakers, the protestors, the people with the cameras and the candles, the ones sitting in your village police chowki, the ones in the parliament, and the ones who don't care. In fact, do you know, people have already started looking for videos that might have captured the torture. Yes, and still, we sung the national anthem every time we went out for movies in the past 12 weekends. With pride.

Oh, you girl, what were you wearing when you took your horse for grazing? Why did you even go out all alone in the meadows? Didn't Abbu teach you that there crawls danger and you could be used as a pawn? Don't tell me you'd seduced them in the past! Keep mum. Yes. Keep mum. Like me. Like all of us. Like the ones who cannot gulp down their morning tea without scrolling down the FB news feed. Like the ones who've brought down the state machinery in the past as a pretext of justice and humanity, and are, now, tight-lipped. Humanity still exists. Because these people exist. You were merely 8, so let me tell you what's humanity. Humanity is a display of one's dramatic best when we've nothing worthy to do on a weekday.

But being a girl, you should have known that your vagina is not yours. Neither is mine. Didn't Ammi tell you? Our vaginas never belonged to us. You cannot just claim that the organ that belonged to you. You were born in an era of injustice. Our bodies always belonged to patriarchy. You silly girl! You should've asked for mercy when they dug their teeth on your back and on your thighs, and made you spread your legs in a way you'd never known. More than once, right? More than once, they ferociously dug deep inside your body, your soul and our souls. Oh well, how bad did it pain and bleed?

Shhh...there are people around who're already offended by these gory details. But let them be. Let them be offended. How rarely this pain crawls under our skin. The pain, you endured. They tell us it was unbearable. They also yell that they feel you. I say, no. We don't. We can never. How can, we, sitting here, thanking our stars that it wasn't us or our daughters, feel what you went through when your body was alienated? We've always failed to feel the pain, and that's why, since you left, more than 15 such brutal cases have been reported.

Dear A, you have left a wound which has scarred humanity forever.

But, I’m glad you left us. That Nirbhaya left us. And that many others like you left us too early. It's a long battle, girl, rather never ending, with the allegations, the communal tensions, the parliament sessions, only for injustice to be delivered in a state where our lungs bleed in favor of humanity, but where our daughters, too, are forced to bleed more than often.

The rallies, the candle light vigils, the calls for justice, the tweets, the prime time chat shows - nothing shall heal our pain.

The world doesn't deserve beautiful poems like you. And this part of the world, now burdened with religious fanatics and patriarchy, never deserved you.

Be where you are. Light years away. Ask everyone around you to not cry for home and justice. A land whose conscience has been mutilated, there exists no justice, and no home.

Rest in peace, but if you ever have a chance meeting with Ram or Rahim, do convey that the world doesn't rest in peace any more and that humanity, too, has bled to death.

Your's truly,

A woman

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