Tag: religion

nirbhaya (adj.) the fearless one.

Note: The events that happen in this poem are all real and happened on the night of December 16th, 2012 to a girl named Jyoti. Unfortunately she didn’t survive although, fought very hard to. Her death led to several protests across India and sparked various questions against every Indian woman’s safety.
Eventually, she became known as Nirbhaya, meaning; the fearless one.
Her rapists are being hung 8 years later, a few days from now.
Through this poem which was extremely painful for me to write, I hope to remind everyone that she was one of the most powerful women to exist and that her death was not in vain.

trigger warning: rape, sexual assault, violence.

11:00 PM. The film was beautiful,
He and I walk hand in hand,
There is a storm coming,
They always come by surprise,
Starting with light rain,
And then hit unexpectedly,
Always leaving a huge wound,
One that could take years to heal,
I had no idea,
That soon there would be a wound so vast,
So powerful,
It’d scar me forever. 
Yet right now,
I just wish to go home,
After a long tiring day,
That’s what we all want, right?
11:15 PM.
He and I board the bus,
There are only five people,
Yet the night feels lonely,
Maybe it’s just me?
The driver looks at me,
Turns forward,
Looks at me again,
Turns forward,
Didn’t we already pay for a ticket? 
I turn to him,
He’s not the………r….e…….
11:17 PM.
Their hands on me are like a storm,
Unexpected and unwelcomed,
My body is the earth,
Now filled with mud,
Mud I can never get rid of. 
I scream,
The hands only change,
There are five of them,
I close my eyes,
Maybe not all of us get to go home after a long tiring day,
I want to survive. 
11:25 PM.
The driver changes,
And so do the hands,
My voice is gone,
And so is any worth I had left,
The men stop,
And whisper amongst each other,
What’s happening?
And then it comes,
The loudest scream this world has ever heard,
This world once filled with distant stars and lonely nights,
Now only lurks of unheard voices covered with horrendous sights,
They take turns penetrating it,
It’s silver and shiny,
Dug deep in the ground when done,
And used while making buildings,
When did I become one? 
11:28 PM.
It takes all in me to look behind,
I see two of them,
Beating him up,
Soon they’ll back,
For their turn with me,
I close my eyes again,
I think of all those times I heard tales of such women on the news,
I think of how they felt,
And how I thought I’d never know.
One of them looks younger than me,
He’s a boy,
I feel no mercy,
Just pity,
Something must be wrong with this country,
For him to not be learning the power of books,
But the power of rods.
11:30 PM.
It’s over.
I don’t feel my body anymore,
I can’t lift an inch.
Abh kya karna hai inka, Ram bhaiya?’
‘Vo hi jo socha tha, Mukesh aur maine.’
Anger runs in my veins stronger than the blood,
With all my might,
I scream again,
Mukesh slaps me,
Picks my body up, 
Not forgetting to grab my breasts,
And then removing his hands,
Like they weren’t ripe enough for him,
Ram grabs my friend,
They throw us off the bus.
11:32 PM.
I am lifeless,
My body isn’t mine anymore,
I don’t want it to be,
I look over at him,
And I remember how he was telling me about his dreams an hour ago,
I think of my own,
And how they seem even further away,
Than the stars in the sky,
Never will I ever get to wear a lab coat with pride again,
Become a doctor and make my parents proud,
My parents,
Memories flash through my mind,
Faster than this night seems to pass,
With the tiny amount of strength I have left,
I take the film ticket out of my pocket,
For a second I’m reminded of how delighted I was when I bought it,
I take out a pen from my other pocket,
Slowly I scribble,
As the words my mother said to me,
The day I cried in her lap when I was 15,
Repeat in my brain,
Kabhi haar mat maarna, Jyoti.
My body gives out,
And the paper lies right where they entered me,
Only four words remain on it,
I want to survive.
11:35 PM.
Himmat bhi nahi haari,
Sahas bhi nahi gaya,

p.s: she actually did scribble that note.

Religion: the way to peace and destruction.

The Rohingyas have been protesting and rebelling for years now, however their rights are nowhere to equal to the rest of the citizens even though they have been living in Myanmar and calling it their home for longer than one can imagine. Yet, the government is intolerant of who they are as a community. For them worshipping a different God has become a bigger crime than murder, theft, and rape itself. 

Intolerance is defined as unwillingness to let other people act in a different way or hold different opinions from you. Basically, intolerance is being close minded towards accepting diverse views or beliefs. We see and sometimes even experience it in various forms today. It could be with gender, or racial, or even ethnic. The point being that it doesn’t matter which category two people are different. What matters is that at the end of the day, we are always different in some way or the other and until we find a way to accept that, we won’t be able to achieve well, tolerance. 
One of the biggest and perhaps most talked about intolerances in the world today, is religious intolerance. Whether you’re part of a majority or a minority, discrimination is prevalent everywhere. Maybe some communities experience it less and some more but that doesn’t make it okay in any way. 

Case study – The Rohingya Muslims 

The Rohingya Muslims are one of the main ethnic minorities in Myanmar but Myanmar, being a buddhist country doesn’t recognize them as citizens of the country and terms them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. There has always been a tension between the two communities and before August 2017, there were already around 307,500 Rohingya refugees living in camps, makeshift settlements and with host communities. A further 687,000 were  estimated to have arrived since August 2017. At least 6,700 Rohingya, were killed in the month after the violence broke out. The Myanmar military also raped and abused women and girls. The Rohingya refugees spread over to countries like Bangladesh and India. Unfortunately, even after settling in camps in Bangladesh, the amount of difficulties didn’t end. The monsoon rains shattered their camps, and forced them to build their homes once again. Young girls were sexually assaulted and beaten which left them traumatized. Basic sanitation itself was hard to find in those camps. 
This kind of war time violence seems inevitable but is caused only because some communities have faiths and religious beliefs which differ from other communities. The groups with majority believe that by spreading terror, they’ll be able to control the minorities and live in harmony but they fail to understand that violence is never the way to achieve something as vulnerable as peace. The Rohingyas have been protesting and rebelling for years now, however their rights are nowhere to equal to the rest of the citizens even though they have been living in Myanmar and calling it their home for longer than one can imagine. Yet, the government is intolerant of who they are as a community. For them worshipping a different God has become a bigger crime than murder, theft, and rape itself. 

Although we read about this kind of brutal violence everyday in newspapers; hear about it on the radio; even write about it angrily on social media platforms, we fail to understand that it is acceptance they require from us and not anger. Religious intolerance is not something we can put as one of the sustainable goals for us to achieve by 2030. For it is something we aim to achieve in the process of fulfilling other goals such as peace and strong institutions or even reduced inequalities. Religion is something we have created, and it is not something that we can fix through programmes or treaties. It comes from within us. World peace will come when acceptance and tolerance is achieved. When we finally begin to understand that to attain world peace, all of us don’t need to have the same beliefs or views. We can worship several gods, be of various colours, and love different genders, yet still live in harmony. After all, we are the ones who are going to stay with each other even if the world falls apart.

Intolerance is the most socially acceptable form of egotism, for it permits us to assume superiority without personal boasting.

~Sydney J. Harris