The Revolution Begins in You!

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By Bibi Yengkokpam

I have been in a domestic lull for the past couple of years, going about my life like a perfunctory duty. In the meanwhile, apart from keeping busy with work and my daughter, I have been shuffling newspapers and books with hardly enough patience to read them through.

It is sickening to read the papers every morning. Accident, murder, rape, and corruption make headlines every day. I mean every single day!

And I would read it every day, seethe with anger, and forget about it as I go about my work.

However, one incident that really shook me was the rape and murder of Nirbhaya. This had me spewing fire and I kept asking myself “what can I do? what really can I do?” I told myself that the least I can do is write about it and voice my protest against it. A couple of days later, this anger too faded, like many other concerns, as I busied myself with chores at home and demands at work. I guess many of us work this routine. We think we are individuals with a conscience but do nothing beyond shaking our head in sympathy. And it`s a shame!

A couple of days back my husband asked me if I have made any resolutions for this new year. I told him I don`t believe in them, but today I make one — a resolution to speak out what I feel needs to be heard.

We all have the urge to do good but end up being onlookers without speaking up for or doing what`s right . The thing is our sympathies do no good. They do not translate into any substantial action. The least we can do is express our solidarity for a cause we believe in and speak up and voice our protest against the wrongs before our eyes.

We are so caught up with our individual lives that most of us can`t go beyond being sympathetic onlookers who feel we are powerless to do anything about the wrongs we see. The truth is we do not “will” ourselves to do anything about it. In our society, there is some sort of collective inertia (of seeing and averting), which gets justified because our neighbors and friends do the same. The fact is there is a huge sense of scattered anger (as well as guilt) that remains powerless because we don`t make an effort to transform it into something greater.

Standing up for what`s right and voicing our protest against injustice is our responsibility as citizens . When you stand up for someone, you are also standing up for yourself. We crib about how rotten our society is, how corrupt our politicians are, and so forth. But we are the society and we vote our politicians to power.

How many rape cases have taken place in the past couple of years? And yet a hundred more goes unreported in the papers. Every day is a nightmare for one woman or the other. How much more brutal can people get? And how long should we watch this and shake our head in disapproval? The recent rape and murder of the 16-year-old girl in Kolkata is one example. After being gang-raped twice (the second time because she reports a complaint to the police), she is burnt to death by her rapists.

I do not specifically speak of women`s rights. I speak of crime and injustice against all humans.

It is time we stood up for what`s right. It is not just the hooligans who we need to sensitize but ourselves. The revolution begins in us.

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