This has been a turbulent week for the Indians and also for second sex. It left me with no other alternative than to write on women. The helpless woman who was molested on the open road in front of hundred people , the helpless woman in the wrong bus of Los Angeles at midnight, and the helpless Trinamool Supremo – all are women and all having a kind of helplessness. Their reactions are different. But our feeling is still the same – we have not yet given women half the sky as promised. Never in our experience so terrific an incident had happened. The national media called it molestation. But I felt it was like a ‘gang rape’. Imagine the horrible scene. Fifty very angry people are there. The girl of 16 was pushed , dragged, beaten and stripped on a busy Guwahati street with onlookers just standing and watching. ‘She was crying for help, but no one came forward’ said Dipya Bardoloi , a reporter of the North East Channel Newslive which recorded the incident. I was stunned and shocked like many when it is known that a journalist was also involved in the crime.
We are so proud of our women . In India , we worship all goddesses in the puja pandel. But at home and on the streets we dishonor women. We beat our wives in the midnight to dominate them. We always challenge people by saying that India is the safest place for women on the earth. Now I have started feeling that even America which is called the most unsafe country for women seems now safer for women than India. One incident is not enough , but this needs to be told. My daughter who boarded the wrong bus at Los Angeles on her way back to her guest house was helped by so many people there .It was nearly 11 at night. Unthinkable in Delhi or Guwahati these days. It was a shivering experience. The boulevard was silent and lonely and she walked nearly a kilometer all alone. She saw some African men and women and Spanish there on the otherewise lonely road but all of them helped my daughter to catch the right bus. She had worn diamond ear ring and gold chain that night.One couple from Bangladesh saw her plight and came with a car to help her reach the hotel. She was simply moved and told them that the University of California authority is sending the car for her from the guest house. It was a shuddering experience for her to catch the same number of bus by different companies going to different directions at Los Angeles and Colorado. But still she was happy to see America more safe for women than Guwahati , nay India. One incident does not prove everything, I argued. I too felt that we were not able to give half the sky to women. We have still to go a long way for ensuring women rights.
People have an eerie feeling now about Guwahati , the city of we love where people live very close to the hills and idyllic scenario.During the 1980s when Prafulla Mohanta and Phookan had let loose all chaos on the Guwahati streets. But no such incidents like this one which made us feel that California is better than Assam so far as the promise of giving half the sky to women is concerned.
Women are still the strong voices in Indian politics. Women still dominate. The UPA Chairperson Mrs.Sonia Gandhi has the last laugh over the Presidential election in India. The only hurdle in the UPA win was Mamata’s dissenting voice. At last she takes the most painful decision of her political life. She supportedwhom she had shunned for the last eight months. No word exchanged. Who will talk first- like that romantic song in which and Madhuri asked each other in the romantic song of Sankhabela : Who came first close to the other – you or me? ( Ke protham kache eshechi….tumi na ami?) . Pranab Mukherjee’s pleasure is Didi’s pain. But for the interest of the state, people and democracy Mamata had to take the decision. She was left with no alternative but to support Pranab whom the CPI(M) also supported. Who came closer first? Or better say ,’Who talked first?’ Pranab or Mamata. Yes , of course Pranab who wrote a letter to her seeking support as sister. This is good gesture in politics. The elder brother has come closer first to the wounded younger sister. All is now well for Sonia because everything at last has ended well. Women voice is still going strong. Without Mamata’s support , Pranab could win. But still it is one who wears the shoes knows where it pinches. The chartered plane was sent for and she attended the President’s oath taking ceremony. Women should be given half the sky at least or there should be no space left for us in life.