Shut Up!

A 2-word command that has been made the destiny of any girl, born or not yet born in India.

India…

  • a land where Lakshmi and Saraswati sit next to Lord Ganesha
  • a place where Durga Pooja, a 9 day festival in which 9 incarnations of the Goddess are prayed…
  • a sacred land where Radha comes before Krishna, Uma comes before Maheshwara, Sita comes before Rama
  • a country where Kanya Pooja is observed with nine young girls in order to get the blessings of the Gods…

Just weeks in my Mom‘s womb, and there are people deciding whether to let me or not let me be born. In majority of cases, I am made to shut up even before my first wail.

By God’s grace I step into this world, and there people are ready with how to make me shut up…either by way of killing, or by way of side-lining me.

I am now a toddler and perfectly ready for school. I have an elder brother and my parents either decide to send only one of us to school or if they are generous enough, they’ll decide to send me to a Govt.  school and my brother to an extravagant public school. If I argue or question about their decision, all I get to hear is ‘Shut up’.

I am now a teenager and mostly out of the cosy caring protective layer of my house as I wish to strengthen my wings. Few incidents of eve-teasing and molestation happen in my life and as all of us know, it is coz of my fault….having been born as a girl. And the best one is this, “Toh kya hua? Aisa to sabke saath hota hai, tumhare saath hua to kya bura hua?(So what? It happens with all girls, what’s the big deal if it happened with you?)”. Literally, it means “Just Shut Up!

I am now doing well in my career and right then my parents without my consent decides to get me married off. Once married, I am asked or rather ordered to put down my papers as I need to take care of my family. A ‘family’ which has come into being almost overnight for me and instead of helping me be a part of it, has just decided to chop my wings off. One word of retaliation and all I get is another ‘Shut Up’.

I am now a homemaker, a would-be mother. The only ray of happiness in years. And just then I am asked or rather forced for an MTP (Medical Termination of Pregnancy or in simple language, abortion) as they do not want a girl child.

Hamara vansh khatam ho jaayega.(Our heritage will be over.)”

 

I wish I could save you but I’m glad I could not. I wouldn’t want you to come into this world of ‘Shut Ups’. I would rather be without the real you and just the imaginary you whom I’ll see being born, with lots of dreams which come true, with twinkling eyes full of hopes that will be fulfilled, growing up with all dignity, doing well in your career and rising to new heights everyday, having a life-partner of your choice, having kids as per your wish and so on. A life where you breathe in and breathe out just like my next child might do, if it happens to be a ‘Boy’, a heritage maker.

Few years later…

Oh my child, I’m glad I have been saved from the burden of that wretched life to be united with you and your siblings. I was burnt alive because I could not give birth to a boy, because my parents could no longer satisfy their hunger for wealth in the form of dowry, because they wanted to bring in another bride for their son who would give birth only to boys. The burns did not pain coz I had seen my unborn daughters and the few that refused to die in my womb, dying or being killed so many times. I did not scream out of pain to the crowd that had yelled at me all these years with non-stop ‘Shut Ups’. I am delighted I no longer need to live a life of ‘Shut Ups.

Broken Wings
Broken Wings
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3 Replies to “Shut Up!”

  1. We in India have excelled in hypocrisy. Thousands of unspoken violations and suppressions go on in the name of harmony of marriage life, sacrosanctity of family ties, honour of the clan, orderliness of society etc.

    1. Absolutely. I believe at least 80% of Indian women might have gone through some kind of torture, harassment or abuse, either mental or physical at some point of time in life. The bitter truth is that the first ones to make fun or ridicule and blame the victim is another female. Until unless each one of us changes our mindset and stands up for the cause, things are not likely to change for any betterment.

      1. I would say 80% is still a conservative figure. You rightly pointed out that the tussle is not between men and women. It is rather between orthodox mindset and modern thoughts. Needless to say that men are fewer in the latter category and often use arguments based on the first if there is a benefit.

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