Every year on the occasion of our annual day, we do some humanity programme to make difference in others life and to repay what we owe to mankind. This year, I wanted to participate in our beloved Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” campaign.
From long time, I had this wish of helping these odd kids who are born in hell but refuse to continue here. I visited red-light areas for my one of the documentary; saw the inhuman conditions in which they were living. Some of them have daughters but don’t even know who is the father of their child. Those mothers mortgage their body just to educate those children born out of trade. After all she is “mother”, and has the desire to care for her daughter keeping miles away from the profession she is in. This year I did my bit by adopting ten of their daughters, but that is not enough.
While wandering around, I saw a defaced woman. Her only fault was to say NO to a man’s cravings. Next day she was attacked by acid on her face. She has no place to go or face the situation. Acid victims are breathing with anguish and agony.
The brutal ‘Acid attacks’ of barbarism where solid acid is thrown at (in most of the cases) a young woman’s face/body as an act of ‘revenge’ by young man/men. These days some cases are reported about young acid victim boys too, but their numbers are few. In most of the cases, young teenage girls are approached by a young guy/man as an impractical interest. The girl doesn’t want to be trailed and decline their advances. The guy takes this as rudeness, humiliation and insult and decides to take revenge on the girl by ruining her entire life. The thought process behind this being, ‘If you won’t be with me, I will punish you in such a way that you won’t be accepted by anyone else.” they leave scarring her for life physically, mentally and emotionally. Acid Attacks could be one of the worst acts that a human being should indulge in.
It leads to unbearable burning sensation to the victim and damages the skin or the influenced body part permanently. In India, it is analyzed that most of the time it involves women and the reason being is the rejection of marriage or refusal by women of sexual advances as the cause of the attack and dowry disagreements (Acid throwing). The other noted reasons could be land, property, and/or business disputes. It is a classic example of the patriarchy system in India. A boy is allowed to do anything he pleases and always escapes with a slap on the wrist. He is treated specially and this disorders him to believe that he is entitled to everything he wants, including the girl of his choice. Never mind what the girl wants.
Unfortunately, the perpetrators are either never caught and investigated lightly and awarded a light sentence. This is mostly because of factors such as social standing of the perpetrator’s family which is used to back the criminals against the system using power, juvenile age of the criminals, social stigma faced by the victim and the amount of legal complications.
The victim’s life leads to living hell. No one can really envisage the sheer amount of pain they go through. Their face/body is disfigured, they are in constant pain, some go blind or deaf, and some are unable to breathe or eat normally because of the damage to the face. In addition to all this, they are avoided by the society. Friends and relatives stop supporting/talking to their families. Their parents have to see their child is in constant pain. The medical expenses are very high and most of the times, as these incidents happen in rural India, the families cannot afford the treatment.
“It is painful, depressing and horrifying to know that there are people living in the world that are unfit to be called humans because they choose to do something like this to another person. I just cannot imagine how difficult it is to go on living after this. I know my courage would fail me”.
Around 1500 number of acid attack cases emerges around the world every year according to International Acid Survivors Trust. While these are those cases, which are reported, there are many cases, which remain unreported for many social and personal reasons. 70%-80% of the victims remain females and 30% of them are under the age of 18. It takes just 30 seconds for the acid to burn the skin to a very deep level. It causes very immediate disfigurement, pain and burn to the body. It has enough power to even dissolve or melt the bones!
Multiple reconstructive surgeries are required to re-figure the exposed part and this too does not guarantee complete cure, famous Bollywood actress’s sister Rangoli gone through many surgeries to regain some damage but she had money and resource. Middle-class girls cannot even imagine the basic medication.
There are rules and regulation for acid buying, but in our country breaking rules is not difficult. Acid in India comes for as cheap as 15-20 rupees per litre, making it very easy for the perpetrator to buy. While each surgery costs lakhs of rupees! The survivors who have fought through this are the bravest people on earth for me.
We are living in a society of extreme dichotomies. Many kinds and types of mercilessness incidents take place here each moment – against people, animals, birds and the environment. There is no point in feeling and forgetting. It is sheer escapism to be indifferent too. We should do something about it. We can do this because we have the strength and ability to do that.
Shunning the hopeful cynical optimist in me, the acid attack victims also make their way almost just like that. They have to painfully piece their life back together again.
Mere framing a law will not change things on the ground; all of us will have to come together to implement it in its true spirit. The fear of law and punishment within a stipulated time is necessary to save girls. Lets all pledge for “Beti Bachao” in our own capacity…