Why is your empathy reserved only for a few?

Updated: Nov 11, 2020

Picture By Arushi Rawat

Why is your empathy reserved only for a few?

Something unexplainable is bottling inside.

Why are we outraged?

What is so different this time?

Why can’t we detach ourselves from it?

I am outraged because it happened.

I am outraged because it happened yet again.

I am outraged because it keeps happening.

I am outraged because she screamed as loud as she could……with her death!

Yet, it did not reach our ears.

They said, don’t go outside in the dark.

We agreed!

They said, don’t go outside alone.

We agreed!

They said, cover-up! What you wear is seeking attention!

We agreed!

They said, don’t look them in the eye, and dare you to talk back to them.

We tried staying quiet and kept our eyes down!

They said, behave yourself within your home. Stay in your limits!

We again kept our eyes down.

But he kept staring with those hungry eyes!

Now, they say my mere existence and my presence is inviting him to act this way.

It is not his fault, I have done something wrong!

I ask, oh forbid me for I ask questions.

Forbid me, I trust

Forbid me, I seek justice,

Forbid me, I seek freedom

The freedom which some of my make counterparts also don’t have

Oh but, I ask!

Why do you have no empathy for me and her?

She screamed and she shouted!

She died, isn't that the loudest scream!

Even then you don’t believe her?

Even then you have empathy with the violators and not with her?

Even then you are ready to give, ‘benefit of the doubt’ to them and not once believe her?

But why are you so outraged, Rev?

I am outraged because,

God sent us as equal people

We humans decided that we are not equal.

This time, even in death

You stole her freedom and dignity!

And her last rites

You stole the last opportunity where her mother who kept her beating heat within her for 9 months, the last opportunity to say her goodbye.

You stole her brother’s last opportunity to pay his respects.

You stole her father’s last opportunity to finally bid her adieu.

Only her ashes remain.

And her family and her village would never be able to find out if it was really her that the authorities burnt that night. Burnt! not cremated!

For the authorities, she was evidence,

She was musibat ka jadd, (source of all troubles)

She was the instigator

The trouble maker

The agitator

The mischief-maker

The one who was fighting to live

and the one who was making a big hue and cry about nothing!

She was fighting!

She was fighting for her for she knew her life is precious and there is a lot left for her to do.

She knew, her family would rather have her alive than dead even though according to everyone, she was a mischief-maker.

But why are you outraged, Rev!

These things happen!

We can’t do anything about it.

I am outraged because today it is her

Tomorrow it can be my friend

One day it can be my daughter

And it can be me.

But today it is her. A random stranger

So many miles away and so distant

yet, I am outraged.

Unlike some of us

My empathy is not reserved for the close ones.

Empathy is also for the stranger whose suffering

can be my suffering one day.

Because one realizes

That one day when you are in her shoes,

You would want a stranger like us to empathize and to stand behind her.

Empathy is more so for that stranger than just for your closed ones.

Note: This rant was penned after the Hathras rape case happened. Various mishaps took place after this event which were politically fueled. It was an example of caste based sexual violence against a Dalit woman.

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