Today's Kunti by CamelliaSuman


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									Todays kunti

I was at the office today, not that busy, the way I usually remain, when the very
thought of how a girl is exploited even when she is on a public transport just
swarmed back in my conscious mind again. I tried to divert my mind a bit, trying
to get rid of these troubling thoughts when suddenly the newspaper lying on my
desk caught my attraction. There was a story regarding the suicide of a girl who
was raped by her neighbour.
Reading that news, I was shocked, probably not as much as I should have been, as
such news have these days become quite common with 2-3 pages of a newspaper
dedicated to cover crime reports from the city with murders and rapes hogging
most of the spaces. And it reminded me of an incident which acquainted me with
the word “rape” for the very first time. I was very young and in the junior section
of school. Our Principal announced during the assembly that the next day would
be a holiday as a student of our senior section had died. Neither did he tell us the
cause of her death, nor was I inclined to know as I was overjoyed by getting a
holiday quite unexpectedly (I think all the kids of that age are quite immune to the
sorrows of the world and love nothing better than a day where they would get to
play at their own leisure). But I did keep a solemn appearance as I went up to our
class from the assembly grounds. It was then when I overheard some senior boys
discussing, in whispers, something important amongst themselves. I could hear
them in bits and pieces, which were strewn with repeated usage of the terms “rape”
and “suicide”, which till then, was totally Greek to me. I went home and asked
my mom the meaning of these words. She gave me a look (the kind of look you
get from your mom when you do something bad), and told me these were “bad”
words and not to discuss them with anyone.
As time flew by, my scope of “knowledge” regarding the world around me grew
wider and I came to know the proper meaning and relevance of these words. And
gradually, when I was in high school, I came to know about the whole incident
regarding that girl’s suicide, as it was a very hot topic for gossip in our school for
The girl was a student of the 9th standard, and she took tuitions from a teacher
of our school. She was having some problems with her studies when the teacher
“kindly” offered her help and arranged an extra class to solve her problems. When
the girl visited that teacher’s home for the extra class, he took advantage of her
innocence, ignorance and trust and raped her repetitively. The teacher (I don’t
know whether it is right to call him that after what he did) also threatened her with
dire consequences, if she reported the incident to anyone and he would make her
fail in class. She (as not matured enough, and because of very high peer pressure)
was afraid of her failing in exams. Neither did she know what her parents’ reactions
would be in this matter and was afraid to tell them anything. She couldn’t tell
anything to her friends or anyone else; neither could she accept the fact. That night
when everyone was asleep she hanged herself.
The next day her parents saw her lifeless body hanging, and people said there was
a hint of painful smile on her face. Her parents came to know everything from the
suicide note of hers but it was too late as she was already gone. They did file a case
against the teacher. What happened next is unknown to the gossip mongers yet.
I did feel very sorry for the girl. I was very angry at the teacher also. But I was unable to do anything about it
just like everyone else, and soon the incident faded from my mind and vanished into obscurity.
I really don’t know why after so many years this incident popped back, out of nowhere in my mind. But I did
marvel at one small detail, the girl’s smile. Why was she smiling? Was it intended for this ignorant and infected
society? Or was she smiling at her own fate, her own doom? That remains unanswered till date.
Was it because the girl from my school, failing to decipher what to do next - whether tell her parents or keep
mum for the next of her life and get pricked by her inner conscience - lost the will to live any longer? Or was she
afraid of this ignorant, selfish society, which has never lost an opportunity to out-cast and ridicule a rape victim
(whether the perpetrators have been punished or not)? Was it just the fear of failure in class, she being unable
to understand what was more valuable; or did peer pressure lend a hand to silence her? Wasn’t it the failure of
her parents who could not give her a strong enough ground so that she could open up to them irrespective of
the level of blunder? Is she the only victim of such cruelty? There are so many questions and so few answers!
Parents and teachers are “la crème de la société”. They are the pillars on which this society and civilization
rests on, and we learn our lessons in humanity from them. How can a teacher desire for his student? Why
should a child think that her parents won’t believe her? Again, we are faced by more obvious questions. In
fact this society has offered us nothing but questions, and never have we striven for the answers. Generations
have passed but the questions have remained the same. Doesn’t this incident bring us face to face to the story
of ”Ahalya”? Being the most beautiful woman on this planet, she was desired by God Indra, even the king of
the gods. He had sex with her in the guise of her husband, which technically can be termed as rape (as sexual
intercourse happened with a wrong intent or deceitfully), even if the woman had agreed for the copulation,
ignorant of the disguise. Though she was atoned by God Rama, for this girl there was no atonement. Don’t
we see the example of Medusa who was raped by the Poseidon in the temple of Athena, where she was the
priestess, a ravishingly beautiful maiden; and Goddess Athena, enraged by this fact transformed Medusa’s
beautiful hair to serpents and made her face so terrible to behold that the mere sight of it would turn onlookers
to stone? Aren’t we taught that our teachers are our God? Haven’t we read in the Vedas that “MatrudevoBhava,
PitrudevoBhava, AcharyadevoBhava”? Where are the answers, I wonder…

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