Who was she? Just another human being whom I have never met. Were we related to each other? No. Not at all. Do I feel for her? Yes. She never got justice. I have always felt miserable imagining what if I were in her situation. Or a loved one was. A simple eve-teasing episode leaves you disturbed for days. Then what must be the condition of people who suffer so much. Even the thought gives me goosebumps. Oh! But then she was brain dead. Right? Which means just a pound of flesh. Should her death affect me? Oh, come on! It’s just another “case” that is closed. Or is it? In any case, her death today on the 18th of March, 2015 is an occasion for celebration. Isn’t it? You read that right. In her last few minutes of ‘being alive’, she helped the wretched Sohan Lal Valmiki celebrate. Celebrate what? Celebrate his revenge. Celebrate his ruthlessness. Celebrate his brutality. Celebrate his animal instincts. When her journalist/author friend Pinki Virani lost her plea for euthanasia, she helped the doctors and nurses of KEM hospital celebrate it as her rebirth and a reward for their unconditional love and care. And today when she died, she has helped humanity celebrate it with open eyes. BMC which had plans of moving her out of the hospital to free the bed that she was occupying has a reason to celebrate. Isn’t it? All of us have a reason to celebrate. For she fought for each of us even in her vegetative state. As Pinki Virani said, “Because of this woman who has never received justice, no other person in a similar position will have to suffer for more than three and a half-decades.” [Source: Wikipedia]
How long is that? Do we know. I’m just three and a half decades old. And that itself seems like eternity. This woman suffered for 42 long years. All this while her attacker continues to live amongst us. I don’t know if curses work. But if they do, I wish that entire humanity curses him. He should rot and continue to live. He should suffer and remember her helpless face every second. He should pay for his sins.
I had read this piece by Telegraph immediately after it was published in March 2011. I wish I hadn’t. I read it again today. I wish I hadn’t. How many lives are affected by a single person’s sins…
“I was the first one to find Aruna in the empty operation theatre in this hospital’s basement after she had been raped and brutally assaulted by that animal Sohan Lal (Valmiki). She was sitting, leaning against a stool with a dog-chain around her neck. There was blood around her. I ran out and brought the matron. As soon as she saw matron Bellimal, her eyes welled up and tears streamed down her face. She tried to say something but could not… only her lips moved. And then, slowly she lost consciousness,” remembers Pramila Kushe.
She survived. But how? I wish she had survived to describe the assault and get the monster tried for rape. And then I think it was better this way. At least she doesn’t know anything. She doesn’t realize anything. She doesn’t see anything. She doesn’t feel anything. Who gets punished for rape (however brutal) in India?
“Pinki Virani murdabad.. Pinki Virani ke liye iccha maut (mercy killing)… Aruna Shanbaug zindabad.”
Was Pinki Virani wrong in pleading for mercy killing for Aruna? I’m no expert in human rights. But I feel she did what she thought was right. And she did it with all her heart and without any bad intentions.
Was the Supreme Court wrong? It wasn’t. I do believe that crimes happen in every part of the world. But, in a country like India, where trials upon trials and delayed dates ensure complete security to criminals, a judgement on mercy killing was indeed impossible. People would have used it for their benefit without a second thought for money and power.
So thorough was the care she got over the four decades that she was bed-ridden, that Ms Shanbaug did not get bed sores, a fact noted by the Supreme Court in its landmark judgement of 2011, rejecting a petition to stop force feeding her.
Were the nurses wrong in celebrating the Supreme Court verdict? I don’t know. We all would have wanted the same if it was one of our loved ones. Survive as long as they can, in whatever state.
As I read this post from Firstpost this morning, somehow I was happy. She is finally in a better place.
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