Bharat’s Confession

“Sangeeta, we need to talk.”

“What’s wrong, Bharat?” She studied him closely. He looked extremely upset. And it looked like he had been crying but why? “Has something happened to your parents or Chandan or Aesha?”

“No. They are all fine. It’s something else.”

She touched his arm. “Tell me what it is.”

“I saw it on the News this morning.”

“Saw what on the News?”

“The story of the 22 year old woman who committed suicide.”

“Why did she commit suicide?”

“She did it because the police refused to register her complaint for three days.”

“What was her complaint?”

“She was gang raped by three men.”

What? Where did this happen?”

“In Madhya Pradesh.”

“Wait a minute. This sounds familiar. Was she that Dalit woman who was gang raped when she was on her way home from the Singrauli railway station?”

“Yes. That’s where her father works as a janitor. She went there to take him his lunch because he had forgotten it. He blames himself for what happened. When she told her family about the rape, they went immediately to the police station but their complaint wasn’t registered. Three days later, they found her dead in her room.”

“Why are you so upset about it? She was just a Dalit woman–you know, an untouchable.”

He jerked his arm away, his expression one of anger and disgust as he looked at her. “So, I have no business being upset over what happened to her because she was a Dalit woman?”

“I’m sorry for what happened to her but what does it matter to you?”

“It matters a great deal, Sangeeta.”

“But why?”

“I was in love with her.”

Sangeeta stared at him in horror. “You were in love with her?”

“Yes, I was going to ask her to marry me the next time I visited Madhya Pradesh.”

“But how could you want to marry her when you and I were promised to each other when we were children?”

“We aren’t children any more. I care about you but I don’t want to marry you.”

Tears welled up in her eyes. “I can’t believe what I’m hearing. How could you who are of a higher caste want to marry an untouchable?”

“The caste system was abolished in 1950.”

“Our families and many other people still observe it. Your family would never have approved of your marriage to her.”

“I wouldn’t have cared. I loved her and I wanted to spend the rest of my life. And now that isn’t going to happen because of those monsters who probably have cowardly connections in the police force. I hope they all get what’s coming to them one way or the other.”

“How could you do this to me, Bharat?”

“I’m sorry, Sangeeta. I didn’t mean to hurt you.” He dragged his fingers through his hair. “I have to go now. Are you going to be okay?”

“What do you care? You broke my heart and now you’re just going to desert me.”

“I’m not deserting you. I have a flight to catch.”

“Where are you going?”

“Madhya Pradesh to be with her family and for the funeral.”

“She’s dead, Bharat and I’m alive. Why can’t you marry me? I love you. I can make you happy.”

“I don’t love you, Sangeeta.”

“That can change.”

“I’m sorry, but it won’t. Maybe I should take you home.”

“No! I don’t want your charity. I can manage on my own. Go to your funeral. Just go!”

He shook his head regretfully before turning and walking away.

Sangeeta stood there for several minutes and then she darted inside of one of the restaurants and into the washroom, which thankfully was empty and leaning against the window, she broke down.

This story is fiction but it was inspired by the true story of a Dalit woman who was gang raped, reported it and committed suicide when the police failed to register her complaint for three days. She is survived by her husband. A 19 year old Dalit girl was gang raped, brutalized. She died from her injuries, sparking protests in Delhi and around Uttar Pradesh. There have been other incidents of gang rape and sexual violence of Dalit women and it seems as if nothing is being done about it. It is time that the government of India protect their rights and charge anyone who is still practicing the caste system which was abolished in 1950.

It has been noted that India’s 200 million Dalits have long faced discrimination and attacks against them have increased during the coronavirus pandemic. Several sources report that the police often refuse to register crimes committed against Dalits. 

If you or someone you know is impacted by sexual assault, family or domestic violence, call 1 800 RESPECT on 1 800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au. In an emergency, call 000. You can also visit Dalit Solidarity, a charity which is dedicated to helping India’s Dalits.

Posted for October 2020 Writing Prompts – #23 – Cowardly connections

Sources: Ref World; The New Indian Express; IDiva; NDTV; Hindustan Times; SBS News; Britannica; Thought Co.

9 comments

  1. Sangeeta seems so arrogant and insensitive. Did she think being of the “upper caste” will protect her from the horror happening in her country?
    Wow.
    Where injustice thrives it’s because of people who think like Sangeeta.
    In Nigeria, indecent dressing, walking at night, walking in deserted places, going to a guys house — where the decoys to excuse rape.
    Until little girls where getting raped during the lockdown. Then rape apologists were forced to see the results of what they had allowed to fester for decades.
    I just shook my head in deep sadness.
    So we had to wait until little boys and girls were raped in their own parents’ homes or while running errands within the neighbourhood before we admit that rape is wrong without adding any buts or howevers?
    What a mess.
    Thank you for this story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re spot on about Sangeeta. The men who raped these girls are usually from the upper castes. They think they are better than the Dalits and yet they are raping the women. The victim is usually blamed for what happens to them and the government/police don’t do anything to protect them and are lax/negligent in registering these crimes. It’s ridiculous to say that a woman asked to be raped because of the way she’s dressed or she was walking at night or in a deserted place or at a guy’s home. Instead of blaming the victim, find the perpetrators and throw them in jail. Rape is a crime and should be treated as such. It’s an act of violence and should never be treated lightly. It’s time for these governments to do something. They are supposed to protect all citizens. Yet, it seems like they protect the rapists. I still can’t fathom how some families could consent to their daughters marrying their rapists instead of sending them to jail where they belong. And in some cultures family honor takes precedence over the woman’s rights. Until governments and policies change, these heinous and outrageous crimes will continue.

      You’re welcome. I will continue to tell the stories which need to be told.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Well, some of those who rape are in positions of power/authority. And I say *some* sceptically, because it seems power play and abuse is what is going on here.
        After all, many of them know, once they call a few people they will not be required to pay for their crimes. It’s a pathetic situation where I blame parents mostly who will pervert justice to “protect” their children.

        I had my parents tell me if I broke the law, I was on my own.
        And it seems a common trend in my tribe, because it’s not uncommon for parents to actually arrest their own children for theft and pay the police for his upkeep money in prison.
        I guess their rational was if you don’t want to learn how to be responsible from me, then I might as well let the correctional systems do their work.
        Usually, when the parent finally concedes to have the child released from jail, that child will be so sober, he would be ready to be a missionary or perform some wonderful service to humanity.
        But how many parents have the “balls” to do whatever it takes for their children to turn out right and stay right?

        Liked by 1 person

      • You’re right. Most of the perpetrators are in positions of power/authority. In some cultures, girls are unwanted, neglected, devalued. Boys are given preferential treatment. I have heard of baby girls being abandoned, killed because of their gender. Until there is equality for women, these horrendous things will continue to happen to them. And their parents need to protect them instead of catering to the societal norms and abuses of the system which is supposed to protect ALL citizens. I’m sorry to hear of your own experience with your parents.

        Like

  2. Ironic how a group of people will be tagged ‘untouchable’, yet, they will be rough handled and brutalised by beasts in human form.
    Untouchable indeed.
    If they are ‘untouchable’ why are they been ‘touched’ at all?

    Liked by 1 person

    • My sentiment exactly. It’s like the times during slavery. Blacks were considered inferior and animals yet, the slavers didn’t have a problem raping the women. And these crimes are usually perpetrated by those who think they are better than those whom they victimize.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.