We have never met and perhaps never will. Unbeknownst to you, I was just one of those millions of women in India who followed your daughter’s ordeal.
I was one of those who felt your pain – as a woman and more so, as a mother.
But the predominant feeling was one of anger, intense anger.
I was angry with those rapists, with those unknown passers by who didn’t stop to help, with all those men who have no value for a woman’s body and her wishes, who think nothing of throwing acid on a girl’s face...
But most of all, I was angry with the patriarchs in my family who had let their daughters down time and again; by marrying them against their will, for killing their female babies in the womb, for conveniently overlooking the reality of marital rape...
Yesterday, you were quoted as saying that if the juvenile walks you will feel that you have failed your daughter.
I want to tell you Ashaji - you will not and have not failed your daughter.
WE have failed you both.
Those lawmakers who did not bring the amendments to the Juvenile Justice Act up for discussion and debate in the parliament for three years, failed you.
Those putrid politicians who lost no time in turning your nightmare into a gimmick and photo op, failed you.
Those from the media, the purported watchdogs of society, who failed to create the required furore, failed you.
Those of us for whom Nirbhaya never became Jyoti Singh, failed you.
We, Indians, collectively, as a Nation, as a humanity have failed you.
In the last few days I’ve heard you talk to the media and I hear the voice of a mother who is still living the trauma, your pain is palpable. You’re up against the mighty judicial system of this vast country and it is going to be a long battle. But you rage on, despite the hurdles.
That makes you a hero Ashaji. Jyoti is lucky to have been born to you.