by the Editor: Siddharth Sehgal
There is a phrase in Hindi, ये दिन भी देखना था, it is something we use in a hopeless situation in a resigned sense, it literally means that ‘we had to see this day’. A few days ago there was a controversy where photos of Muslim women from various spheres, almost all of them critical of the current regime, were morphed and uploaded in an app called ‘bulli bai’, a derogatory slur used for Muslim women, for auction. The phrase that I mentioned previously is all that I can think of in this situation.
What is glorious about auctioning a woman online? Should we remain silent if a woman, an Indian woman at that, had to endure such indignity? Because there was no action when a similar app came to light a few months ago, this time after much criticism government thought to go after the culprits but the deafening silence from the government and BJP quarters is atrociously shocking. No woman, regardless of whether she is Hindu, Muslim, or Yazidi should endure such harassment. When we hear stories of kidnapping, rape, and forced conversions of minority women in countries like Pakistan and Bangladesh, does it bring glory to these societies? Did the people who created this app though that they are righting one wrong with the other? This poison of religious hatred is not good for any society, it doomed our neighbors and it will doom us too if we continue on this path. Though the people behind this app were few self-radicalized individuals this poison goes deeper.
We live in a society where there is more outrage on PM stuck in traffic for twenty-five minutes than women being auctioned on an app. I am not saying that people in our country were not appalled by this app but we all, as a society, should condemn it. From my own experience with HRTC of the Himachal government, I was shocked by the cold response of the state BJP and central government, despite my emails to numerous government officials and ministers I never had any resolution or response on my concern of women safety in HRTC buses.
This is the reality of the ‘Sab Changa Si’ attitude that I have seen and experienced in this country. The dignity or modesty of a woman is not something that can be traded online. Let’s not auction our shame in front of the world.