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Open letter from 'Dented & Painted' Woman to Mr Abhijit Mukherjee

While my braveheart sister battling for life finally gave up today putting an end to 13 days long fight, this is not the end. This is just the beginning of a new era. I won’t let her sacrifice go in vain. The nation would soon witness an upsurge far more immense and diverse. Too large to be quelled by water cannons and tear gas shells. We won’t let the movement die, lest we lose another Damini.

Dear Mr Mukherjee

A politician hardly known to the country suddenly dominates the headlines, courtesy a sexist comment. Mr Abhijit Mukherjee, don't make faces!!! I am not talking about you; this has been a thumb rule for politicians to gain limelight. Be it congress general secretary Digvijay Singh, former Haryana CM Om Prakash Chautala, Andhra congress chief S Bosta. They have all used this gimmick to hijack media and rise up the political ladder. What you did was no different, But you forgot that things have changed and we would not let this go. Dada, being sexist is not sexy anymore.

"Those who are coming in the name of students in the rallies, sundori, sundori mahila (beautiful women), highly dented and painted", you said the other day. Mr Mukherjee, in case you aren't well informed, the recent mass protests at India Gate was not to postpone the DU examination but was against the gang-rape in Delhi and sundori mahila like me could participate in this peaceful protest even though I am not a student. You ought to realize that my dent and paint is neither at your cost nor at your father's cost. Infact your salary as MP and your father's salary as President comes from the tax I pay. While I have every right to object to your dent and paint, you precisely have no right.

While your comments have irked most across party lines, I am thankful to you for helping my cause. Your statement that 'I go to disco and then come to protest' would help me clarify the purpose of the protest. I want the freedom to go to disco at my will, and this is why I am protesting. I don't want someone to scan me on my way, I don't want someone to pass lewd comments as I walk out of disco, I don’t want you to define my limits-this is precisely why I am here. So Abhijit, you are right that I go to disco and yet protest. But I still can't figure out for what is making you so uncomfortable- the protest or the disco. I know, it’s not just you, but a whole bunch of misogynist politicians and many men otherwise, who have suddenly become very uncomfortable with the recent upsurge. You are not comfortable with female autonomy. You are not comfortable with women emancipation and this is precisely what we want.

While my braveheart sister battling for life finally gave up today putting an end to 13 days long fight, this is not the end. This is just the beginning of a new era. I won’t let her sacrifice go in vain. I have heard that she was airlifted to Singapore for reasons other than medical and I sincerely hope that this is not true. For if she was moved for political reasons, the nation would soon witness an upsurge far more immense and diverse. Too large to be quelled by water cannons and tear gas shells. We won’t let the movement die, lest we lose another Damini. Now that she is dead, is it a rarest of rare crimes?

I could have dropped a letter directly to you. But I have purposefully kept this letter open so that I don't have to write individually to all the sexist leaders. I am glad that you have taken back your statement and apologized. But you have done no less damage to women dignity than Digvijay who lately said that Arvind Kejriwal was similar to Rakhi Sawant, both try to expose but have no substance. You are one with Om Prakash Chautala who opined that parents used to marry their girl early in Mughal era to save them from atrocities. You are no better than Congress chief in Andhra Pradesh who unscrupulously opines "Just because India achieved freedom at midnight does not mean that women can venture out after dark. They should ensure that they do not board buses with few passengers" and terms the gruesome gang rape in Delhi as minor incident. So you ought not feel guilty (as if you would ever feel), it’s not your fault, it’s not just you.  The fault lies in the men psyche, fault lies in the society which tells not to get raped.
 
Finally I can connect the dots. Because our politicians are propellers of male chauvinism, so there is lack of political will. No wonder, the peaceful protest in New Delhi is met with utmost insensitivity followed by tear gas shells and water cannons. The ping pong match being played by Sheila Dikshit and Sushil Shinde testifies the political indifference and as a result a 23 year old battling for her life had to record her statement twice.  While I have mentioned few sexist comments by our representatives, there are dozen others including Mulayam Singh who have shamed the nation in past. I always advocated sex education in schools as an antidote to rape cases, but I have gradually realized that rot begins at top. I sincerely feel that our MPs need sex education urgently. More than that, they need to understand that politics is not all about votes.

When Shinde and Manmohan say to the nation that they have 3 daughters and hence they can understand the pain, it feels good that our leaders are sensitive or rather eloquent enough to appear sensitive. But you can't feel our pain, you simply can't. Let your daughter out to market without the brigade of gunned army, then you can claim to realize our pain. Only if you let your daughter and wife go to public place that you would understand that we evade rape perpetually till we are raped!!! Manmohan ji, yahan kuch bhi theek nhi hai.

The message that I want to bring back home is that being sexist is not sexy anymore and being sexy is no crime. The faceless mass protest across the country depicts that people have lost faith in political entities and have taken things into their stride. The writing on the wall is clear - If our leaders don't change, we will change leaders.

I can go on and on. You may blame it to the accumulated frustration of last 25 years. But I don't want to spoil the festivity of New Year. Hope you have a great year ahead. If the world doesn't end in 2012, few things must... 

 Yours truly,
Sundori Mahila

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