The monumental arch in the heart of Lutyens’ Delhi exudes memories of martyrdom and liberation. It is where the Republic parades its military virility for maximum visual impact, and it is where a wintry sunset becomes the flaneur’s perfect backdrop, and it is the site from where the street fighter dares authority and demands action, if not mercy. It is the vantage point from where you can also see the edifices of India’s political as well as constitutional power in their majestic indifference.
This winter at India Gate, the cry that pierced the December fog carried the rage of a generation against a regime with a frozen conscience, and the fists of fury that soared above the multitude that braved the barricades declared the loss of faith in a ruling Establishment whose only defence was triangulations. They defied tear gas, perhaps the only chemical weapon governments everywhere deploy against their own citizens; they suffered the baton; and they refused to be calmed by the platitudes of the politician. It was the snapshot of a new liberation movement in a country without justice, and in its vanguard was the Indian abandoned by hope but powered by anger.
The latest ignition was a young woman brutalised on the mean streets of Delhi. The agitators at India Gate knew their struggle would never match the ordeal underwent by her- too dehumanising to be spoken. She was one of them, another young Indian, twenty-first century India’s greatest demographic asset, dreaming a secure future in the Capital of possibilities, till she boarded a bus that turned out to be a horror chamber. And-face it-her tormentors too shared the same demographic profile, only the ghettos that constituted their address separated them from the newgeneration conscience-keepers. The justice seekers, their action too spontaneous to be capitalised by any civil rights revolutionary, were disowning an India that was incompatible with their aspirations, their attitudes, and their ideas of freedom. In that India, a lone woman cannot walk on the street; the weakest and the vulnerable are permanent victims of violence; your identity, whether it is ethnic or gender, is your destiny; and life is the only cheapest item in the market. They are outsiders in a state de-legitimised by its own immorality.
(Source- This Article was originally posted in India Today Magazine)