Sushant Singh Rajput passed away due to suicide on June 14. Since then, there have been multiple theories about reasons why the actor took such a drastic step, who could have been behind it, so on and so forth.
To put it simply, for the last few months the nation has been united in its stance that justice should be served in the matter.
Correct. It should be.
However, there is one thing that often crosses my mind. I keep thinking about the power of mass effort. How, if citizens of the country make up their minds to get something done, they usually succeed.
Which in turn makes me wonder about all those people who are still waiting for justice. Silently. With no majority supporting them in the fight. These people do rounds of the police thaana, file complaints and look forward to answers. Some answers. Any answer. In many cases, not even justice. Let that sink in.
Here are some of them:
1. Countless rape survivors across the country.
We live in a country, where a woman filed an FIR after a case of physical violation and got burned alive a few months later, because the police didn’t find it necessary to keep a watch on the accused.
Some of these cases make it to national news, some get hashtags, some trend. But there are double the number of instances, or even more, which go unreported. Women wait their entire lives for some solace, if they are given the chance to live that is.
2. Dalits who are treated unfairly and subjected to humiliation one shudders to even think of.
From force-feeding them feces, to raping them. From taking away their right of proper cremation, to punishing for a ‘crime’ that is owning a horse.
Injustice and violence towards Dalits is a reality ‘modern India’ doesn’t want to accept. So, the idea that we will collectively fight for their rights seems elusive for now.
We have let them down, and how.
3. Numerous members of the queer community, some of whom take their own lives.
Until 2018, sex between homosexual citizens of the country was illegal. Read that again.
And even though the law has changed since then and it’s definitely a step in the right direction, there is still a lot that needs to be done. People of the queer community do not have some of the basic rights; not to mention the taboo around their sexuality which, in worst cases, leads to suicide.
Are they not humans? Are they not equal citizens of the country? How many of us are fighting for them?
5. Activists being jailed just for raising their voices against the establishment.
Safoora Zargar, a 5-month-pregnant woman, was kept in custody amid a pandemic while accused in the other cases were being let go of, because of the fear that they will get infected.
Meanwhile, #ManishSirohi who is charged only under Arms Act after found in possession of illegal arms during the Delhi riots is out on bail! https://t.co/dgsObRiob8— kalpana diwan (@kalpana_diwan) June 5, 2020
All because of the stubbornness of those in power. Now, who would have been answerable if something would have happened to her? Who, if something would have happened to her unborn child who had nothing to do with the affairs of the broken world we live in?
Let alone standing for her right to safety, people threw in the entire angle of feminism into the matter and said that if women want equality, they should also be okay with being jailed while pregnant.
First of all, that is a wrong definition of feminism. Second of all, equal treatment in this case should have meant that she should have also been released like the others in jail.
There are many dissenters fighting this fight. Some like Gauri Lankesh even get killed in the process. I don’t see many people standing up for them.
6. Families of riot victims, who are waiting for someone to tell them why their loved one was killed when they were just on the street to get food.
More than 50 people were killed in Delhi riots earlier this year. People across communities and faiths.
One was out to get milk. One was an auto-rickshaw driver. One was the sole bread-winner for the family. One had gone to the market to shop for his sister’s upcoming wedding ceremony.
I am writing this because chances of people remembering them by their names are very low. Scary to think that that’s the cost of life in our nation.
No Twitter appeals for them, right? No letters demanding justice. This, while some of their families try to figure out how to get the next meal, or how to get used to living without the one they loved the most.
7. Migrant workers who lost their lives on the road, while walking back to their homes because the state didn’t leave them with any other option.
Remember these people, or have we forgotten about them entirely? In the beginning of the nation-wide lockdown, imposed by the central government, many migrant workers decided to walk back home because there was no work in the big cities and no one was ready to help them out.
Some of them walked thousands of kilometers under the scorching April sun. Many died. It is a grim thought but their families are still struggling, more than before because their family members are not alive.
None of this was their fault. They have been let down by the system and the least the higher ups can do, is support them now.
The point of this article was not to make any comparison. Truly, all I want to make people realise is the power they have.