The idea of empowering women and uplifting the gender in totality has swept the headlines in the past few decades across the globe. Agencies prevailing in the United States have emphasized in their reports that the issue of inequality needs to be made a priority for the world development and it is pretty evident from the current scenario that expecting women to ‘wait for their opportunity’ is not a practical solution; it’s rather amusing if you ask me.
Difference of breaks into the big world of prospects and hardcore discrimination against the female gender has, unfortunately, been an age-old issue as it is and across the globe. Thus, the struggle of women as individuals and a holistic gender is a global phenomenon. What exists for the men is desired by the women because of a simple reason: because they’re humans and have a voice that, whether any of the people like it or not, needs to be heard.
They have demanded equal opportunities and representation in the fields that they interact with every day: employment, education, marriage, political scenarios, inheritance and material. Recent events of opposing ‘triple talaq’ has inequality in religious aspect as well. Women are not demanding anything erratic that’s stirring the world! They’re just asking for the same strategies that the men have been applying on their gender for millenniums straight. These reforms are as basic as equal pay and recognition for the same task. Their quest for striving towards a world of equal opportunities has led to the formation of many associations with similar vision and launching of whole movements of feminism since the era of 14th century.
The status of women has changed drastically over the years, undoubtedly. But there is gruesome visage that this glorious misogynist and patriarchal society is hiding. A topic nobody wishes to associate with, yet is settled in everyone’s heart as a fear-inducing thought: acid attacks.
A 15-year-old girl was left to die on the street after she refused to marry an impotent man who wanted to possess her life by marrying her. No, he wasn’t unable to make babies, but I wish he isn’t because I wouldn’t want even my worst enemy to have 50 percent of his body made up of filth. Her name for Laxmi Agarwal. She was a pretty and innocent being, pure in her thoughts who couldn’t consider the ill in this world but when the 32-year-old Gaddu decided to make her suffer by throwing acid on her to reduce her existence to disgust, her true beauty surfaced as she boldly survived through the horrendous process of recovering this attack. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and that is exactly how she came out of that hurricane.
Her bold and inspiring story, amongst the other survivors, was mentioned by the newspapers such as Hindustan Times. She has also Her story, among others, was told in a series on acid attack victims by Hindustan Times. She has also encouraged and supported similar attacks by gathering a total of 27,000 signatures for a petition to reduce the acid sales, and taking her and thousands of other voices to the Supreme Court of India. Her initiation through that petition led to the formation of strict rules and some of the major reforms in the constitution regarding this issue. She is currently the director of Chhanv Foundation, a NGO dedicated to help the survivors of acid attacks in India.
Laxmi has thrown light on a topic that people usually refrain from talking. We need to take strict steps if you want a gender as big as 50% of the total population to survive in a society where having vagina and breasts puts your life at risk.
What exactly was her fault? She refused a spineless pimp for marriage.
How could she have been saved? She couldn’t have been.
Will killing Gaddu do any good to better her situation? Perhaps, skinning that man alive might make her feel better on the inside but we have to maintain the protocol of a civilized society even if there are rogues amongst us.
She has been an inspiration to those who have fallen victim to similar suffers and I would pray with all my heart and soul that no one may need an inspiration like her in the future. She is a Shero and my salute goes to her for just being who she is. She is so busy being this strong and enigmatic woman that we know that she has no idea how utterly unprecedented she is.
When Gaddu decided to take the step of throwing acid on Laxmi’s face, he saw her as a commodity that he shall either possess or destroy. Do you realize how pathetic that sounds? Some worthless pests of the universe may claim that it was her fault (for being beautiful? For having mammary glands? For having a reproductive system? I don’t know) that she got attacked. Well doesn’t that mean that any man who is even staring at you is vulnerable to being beaten to death because he too is existing like Laxmi was? Why is that absurd now? I don’t think people understand what people like Laxmi have to go through. Let’s put things into perspective for why she is one of the true Sheroes;
Read the excerpt from Wikipedia on Acid attacks,
“The medical effects of acid attacks are extensive. As a majority of acid attacks are aimed at the face, several articles thoroughly reviewed the medical implications for these victims. The severity of the damage depends on the concentration of the acid and the time before the acid is thoroughly washed off with water or neutralized with a neutralizing agent. The acid can rapidly eat away skin, the layer of fat beneath the skin, and in some cases even the underlying bone. Eyelids and lips may be completely destroyed, the nose and ears severely damaged. Though not exhaustive, their findings included:
- The skull is partly destroyed/deformed and hair lost.
- Ear cartilage is usually partly or totally destroyed; deafness may occur.
- Eyelids may be burned off or deformed, leaving the eyes extremely dry and prone to blindness. Acid directly in the eye also damages sight, sometimes causing blindness in both eyes.
- The nose can become shrunken and deformed; the nostrils may close off completely due to destroyed cartilage.
- The mouth becomes shrunken and narrow, and it may lose its full range of motion. Sometimes, the lips may be partly or totally destroyed, exposing the teeth. Eating and speaking can become difficult.
- Scars can run down from the chin to the neck area, shrinking the chin and extremely limiting range of motion in the neck.
- Inhalation of acid vapors usually creates respiratory problems, exacerbated restricted airway pathways (the esophagus and nostrils) in acid patients.
- In addition to these above-mentioned medical effects, acid attack victims face the possibility of septicemia, renal failure, skin depigmentation, and even death.”
I have no idea how she did it and I wouldn’t even want to know what she must have gone through to become who she is today, all I know is that the fact that there are people like her and there are stories like hers are being written frequently in the pages of history is enough of an argument to make this society realize where it is going wrong.
This isn’t limited to Laxmi, not to India or Asia and definitely not to this one post on India Fashion Blogger. If you think her struggles can be summarized in a one thousand worded article, you are what’s wrong with this society. Is it okay to make half of the world’s population believe their existence is a hamartia? No. It’s not. It’s not okay to make women feel unjust and unsafe under a sky they have to share with the people who make her feel that way.
In the end, I’d like to quote a beautiful song that I heard years ago but has stuck with me through thick and thin, inspiring me:
“Ab tak dheeraj manga tha
Prabhu ab dheeraj mat dena
Sehte jaaye, sehte jaaye,
Aisa bal bhi math dena
Uthkar karne hain kuch kaam
Raghupati raghav raja ram,”