No I never met Mita during the five years I studied in Jadavpur University. I never knew that she got married. I never knew how good she was as a student. But still her demise saddened me to such an extent which I cannot express. She was a young, beautiful girl with dreams, probably she dreamt of having a peaceful conjugal life, a family on which she could fall back at times of distress. But something went wrong in the way. She was brutally murdered when the world was maddened by the gala celebration of Durga pujo- the worship of female power.
How funny it is to see that in a city whose biggest festival is all about female prowess, a 24 year old girl is beaten to death, probably strangulated. Mita’s is an incident which came to the forefront and I strongly believe justice will be served. But what about the murders and tortures that take place away from everybody’s knowledge? What happens with the weapons that are tucked away or buried deep within our soul that encourages us to commit such crimes? Where are we to seek for justice for the deaths of all the young women whose only crime was probably that they demanded something that was rightfully theirs or refused to fulfil some baseless claims of the in-laws or in other words the masters?
What is it that gives birth to such hierarchy? It is a very deep rooted problem if we come to think about it. It lies embedded in the way we girls are brought up right from childhood. When you reach the age of about 24-25 your whole family is in a sudden rush to get you married. They seldom pay heed to the fact that age is just a number and no age can be justified as marriageable. Why is it that every girl should grow up dreaming about a perfect wedding day? Why can a girl not dream of a lonely bike ride on a highway? Why is that dream outrageous and why is the dream of wedding acceptable?
The problem lies in the stereotyping above which we fail to often understand. Who gives the husband the right to beat up his wife, who similarly like him is a full grown adult (many a times)? Why would the husband or the in-laws even think of striking the woman who is portrayed as the lifelong partner? And most importantly why does anybody not raise a voice when there is still time? If marriages become such a burden, such a pain for the girl who leaves her own house and people to settle in a completely new atmosphere is there any meaning left to it? Marriages are meant to bring two people together so that they can spend the rest of the life in each other’s company. But are we really able to decipher the meaning of this companionship.
No, I am not campaigning against the concept of marriage, neither am I judging the whole idea. But we need to refresh our thought process. It is high time. No the in-laws are not the masters of the newlywed, no the wife has no obligation to accept all groundless demands put forward by the husband, no you can definitely not kill your wife if she is not behaving to your own accord, the maximum you can do is discuss and talk out your problems.
This message is to the men – be it husbands or boyfriends – do not dare strike the women you claim to love, do not ever take them as your possessions, learn to respect them because that shows your qualities as a person. It is high time that we should all come together and join hands to resist the death of more ‘Mitas’. Her death is not only tragic but also alarming because we as a race is constantly moving away from the civilization as we are forgetting to respect and understand our fellow human beings.