Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
Congratulations on your first successful address to the Parliament. I must say I was impressed. When I initially saw that the clip was 50 odd minutes long, I’ll admit I was hesitant. The plan was to forward through the rhetoric and be done in 10 to 15 minutes, but you managed to hold my attention and imagination (though I can’t say the same for your colleague sitting two rows behind yourself) for most of those 50 minutes, which is more than most of my Professors could ever manage, as you waxed eloquent about your plans for our country. And what a picture you painted!
I’m used to seeing a chaotic and disruptive Lok Sabha. It was a pleasant surprise to watch our representatives listen. I congratulate you on having managed to capture their attention as well. It is indeed a feat worthy of praise. I liked that you focused on your plans for the country rather complain about the mess that you have to clean up. I was greatly impressed with the humour and wit you showed as you rebutted your opposition. Frankly, your conduct as Prime Minister was a subject that was on my mind having watched your rallies during the elections, in fact, there was even a Blogpost in the works, but a big thank you from lazy me for having carried yourself with so much composure and grace, very much befitting a Prime Minister, yesterday and ever since you assumed office.
Your critics have been many ever since you announced your contention for the coveted post of Prime Minister and it seems that there are even more now that you have assumed office. I can only imagine what a daunting task you face of running the country. Critics only add to the existing pressure but indeed as you said, keep us from becoming complacent and arrogant. While you endeavour to revitalise our country, as much as I wish you all success in your endeavours, since your successes will mean success for the country, I shall endeavour to praise you for your successes and criticise your weaknesses.
While many have criticised your direct and hands-on approach as dictatorial, I find it a refreshing change. Time and tide wait for no man and you seem to have adopted this policy. Immediacy and alacrity are the need of the hour in today’s rapidly changing world. Just keeping abreast of the information is no longer enough and you seem to recognise that. In a country such as ours, where people wear their hearts on their sleeves and their tempers on the tips of their noses, things escalate quickly and easily. In most cases, just the smell of smoke is enough to start a fire. Fuel arrives much later only to help in spreading the fire and water, well, there are so many disputes on who can take how much that it seems a foreign concept.
One such wild fire which seems to engulf the entire country is right now is violence against women. In your 50 minute speech in Parliament and other speeches and public forums, you spoke maybe four sentences about this issue. The content of which was limited to requesting the MPs to refrain from commenting on the psychology behind rapes and saying that the harshest of punishments should be given to those who violate the dignity of our mothers and sisters. Your lack of response to this issue begs the question, if this issue and our safety is at all a priority for the new government?
I agree a 100% with you that making comments about the psychology of rapists brings nothing. But only discussion and debate will create awareness about the situation. Also, saying the harshest punishment will be doled out to the prepetrators is not enough, nor is it new. We have had enough people “talk” about it. A person of your stature and position and especially with the influence you wield could be critical in stemming this violence.
Since Mahabharat seems to be the trending epic of the moment, let me put it this way, are we going to sit, heads bowed in shame, like the Pandavas while our women are assaulted like Draupadi? Are we going to just let our women pray to the gods like Draupadi was left to pray to Krishna while their bodies, rights and dignities are violated? Should they await justice in the form of their violators’ blood after we avenge them in a bloody battle?
It is a pity that even our Prime Minister identifies us as just mothers, sisters and daughters. There are among us, Mr. Prime Minister, those without fathers, brothers and husbands. And what of those who are violated by these very people? Do they require no protection and consideration? Are women only defined in relation to men? Do they not exist beyond these relationships? Are we the same as furniture or utensils? Objects meant to be used or possessed and then thrown aside? Are they not individuals?
Your party’s policy of empowering women is indeed a great one. Now that you form the government, you have the power to implement it across the country. You, with your influence, your way with words and the ability to paint a picture have more influence than most of your opponents dare or want to admit. Even the simplest of your statements could go a long way in ensuring the safety of our women. There is a need for awareness and education at the basest of levels. A need to stress on the equality of men and women, on the individuality of women, on the rights of women and the consequences of violating these rights. Your voice could lend the strength that the women in our country require. The question is will you remain silent too?
Not just a daughter