HEAR WHAT these two girls discovered hanging on that tree are saying? Or that one strangled with a dupatta close to her discipline? Do you hear the laughter of three cousins in one other nook, earlier than it was silenced with poison? Do you hear what their cellphones are saying, their name information data? Or the complete cease to their college years? Do you hear the issues left behind the place they died? Pink slippers, some wrappers of snacks, a number of foreign money notes hidden in garments? Or the issues that marked their life? Mud partitions, a ledge with sundry objects, garments strung on a rope, some posters, a blackened chulha, the buffaloes they had been to take advantage of?
From deep inside the bottom, do you’re feeling their silent screams now rustling by way of the fields, previous mud lanes, open drains, unfriendly doorways, and bursting into their house, burrowing into the hearts of their moms, making an attempt to prise some lips, some eyes open? Do you hear them anguished as their quick lives are rearranged — with each bucket of water thrown on a blood stain, each name report erased, each witness silenced?
Do you discover what’s rising as an alternative — the “good” girls, who stopped learning as they wished to assist at house; the “good” girls, who beloved cooking, embroidering, babysitting; the “good” girls, who knew of a world completely different from this (from TV, from the boys of their home, the kinfolk who came over from city), however who by no means aspired for a similar; the “good” girls who by no means complained.
For, “dangerous” girls leave everyone very, very uncomfortable. Within the arts, they’re the “wronged” ones entitled to hunt their justice, or pushed by misplaced love. They’re both Kaushalya or Kaikeyi. The scrumptious promise of a uncommon movie like Ishqiya, the place Vidya Balan seduced (and, gasp, went additional than that) two pals, one a lot older, was squandered by its finale.
For, laden with the burden of “good”, their needs whittled into “form”, girls are usually not allowed to be “dangerous” in small, on a regular basis, informal methods — searching for pals over household, lovers over husbands, telephones over cooking, and sure, informal intercourse within the fields over the cows munching close by.
By routinely classifying each lady who meets a brutal finish as an “harmless” led astray, are we aligning with the “protectors” rewriting her story? In each shadow of her life led within the public eye, lies the story of her braveness. In each discount of that into black and white, lies our cowardice.
In Manoj and Babli: A Hate Story, based mostly on the primary honour killing in India to lead to conviction for a household, it was Babli, extra daring and exquisite than her small Haryana village may bear, who took the primary lead with Manoj. Within the newest horror story to return out of Uttar Pradesh, a 17-year-old has informed the police that she and her cousins (now lifeless) met up with the accused on their very own. And no, he didn’t assault them. In that Katra Sadatganj case of the cousins discovered hanging, spurring a spree to construct bathrooms — for that was the agreed rationalization for why the girls had been alone out at night time — the investigation has veered round to friendship between the girls and the accused.
Within the e book The Good Girls, on the Katra Sadatganj deaths, an elder sister of one of many two girls discovered hanging — sitting beside her soundless mom — speaks little besides to mumble, “Dil ke armaan dil mein hee reh jaate hain (One’s needs die as needs).”
However, the girls try. Someplace, one other one has picked up an unattended cellphone, discovered a quiet nook, and dialled a quantity.
This text first appeared within the print version on February 28, 2021 beneath the title ‘She Stated: The nice, the dangerous and the ugly’. Nationwide Editor Shalini Langer curates the fortnightly ‘She Stated’ column