In memorial to Jyoti Singh Pandey

// Published March 4, 2015 by Swati

India’s Daughter, a documentary on the gang rape and death of Jyoti Singh Pandey was banned and subsequently released by BBC UK today. I hadn’t heard of it, but I heard of the ban. And then I spent the subsequent hour losing faith in humanity as I listened to the misogynists in the documentary.

It’s saddening, troubling, that a culture that treats women, girls, kids, pre-schoolers, toddlers, infants, babies, and a fetus in such a way. The parents spoke on their friends surprise when the parents celebrated the birth of a daughter by doling out sweets. “You are celebrating as if it is a boy!”, the friends remarked.

These views are not uncommon. They are so accepted into the society, that when I had a girl, my maternal grandmother said, “Ah, it would have been better with a boy. Then the pressure is off.” My mother remarks that my family is incomplete because I don’t have a boy. Every pregnancy, she remarks on how my child is going to be a boy this time. As innocent as it is (she is a mother of two girls!), it’s also really ridiculous.

I don’t know what it will take to change India’s culture. I don’t know how many more Jyoti Singh Pandey’s have to happen. It surprises me that a religion which actually has Goddesses can treat women in such a way. One of the defense lawyer has actually been quoted saying that a woman’s testimony cannot be trusted because a women only lies. It surprises me that in a world where women bear the next generation are treated with such disrespect.

Part of me feels guilty for bringing my girls into a world that holds such horrible views; I have signed up for my girls for so much suffering, and a constant battle. But the other part of me makes me proud, that I am raising warriors. Warriors who are going to be fighting for what centuries of women have been fighting for.

I am thankful for the existence of Jyoti. I am thankful that she fought till her last breath. I am thankful for the way her parents raised her. She makes me proud to be a woman, and most of all, to be a human.