victims of our defeaning silence

Little Falak is still battling for her life, her battered body stubbornly fighting infections and fevers. She is holding on as the sinister series of events that brought her to this scary hospital bed enfolds. She is holding on as best she can so that we hear the silent and desperate cries of little girls like her. She was born in the deadliest place in the world for a girl child. I do not say that; the mighty and credible UN does. When the Fates wrote her destiny they must have conspired to alter it a little. It was time said the Parcae to give a voice to the suffering little girls of India. Falak's life was to be a mission. Is she an Angel of God.

In all likelihood she was battered by her present minder. In her case a 14 year old whose life seems to nothing short of a horror tale. When we first heard baby Falak's story everyone wanted the person who had committed such atrocities punished in the worst way imaginable. I would like you to hold your verdict and hear her story. She was first abused physically by the one who should have loved her, cared for her, helped her take her first step, hugged her when she scraped her knee, made her feel safe and secure: her dad. But he did not. He was in jail for murder and when he did come out on bail all he did was beat her mercilessly with belts and sticks. Her mom who could have tended to her incomprehensible pain was also abused and one day just gave up and died. The young girl was now left to the mercy of her first tormentor who  threw her into the den of sexual predators. She was sexually abused cruelly time and again. The so called boy friend was nothing but her pimp. One day he brought a toddler home and asked this physically, mentally, emotionally abused girl to look after her and vanished without giving her any money.

The young girl must have tried to do her best till the day the child became a handful like all 2 years old. She apparently fell and howled the whole night. It was too much for the young teenager.  For a brief moment she snapped. Memories of belts and sticks on her raw skin, memories of unspeakable pain as her still nubile body was ravaged by wolfish predators flooded her mind as she found herself in a yet unknown position of power. For the first time she held the stick. A rage that must have laid dormant for too many years gushed out. Sanity vanished as she hurt the child without mercy doing for the first time what others had done to her for too long. Before she could take hold of herself the harm was done: Falak was broken beyond repair. I wonder how the girl must have felt when she regained her senses. Let us not forget that she was the one who brought her to the hospital. The question I ask is: do you still feel she should hang?

I don't. The ones that should hang are her father, the so called boy friend, the women who led her to her to the flesh trade, the men who used and abused her, and above all the society that lets this happen over and over again and remains mute, unconcerned.

I had thought of ending this post but before I could do so more news came in. The horror continues relentless, never ending. The search for Falak's biological mother far from bringing some healing has unearthed another tale of abuse. Falak's mom is herself a victim. Forced into prostitution by the one she married, sold to another, her children taken away. The whole sordid tale seems to be a terrifying mix of flesh trade and child trafficking.The mother wants to see her child but this will be only after a DNA test. Maybe little Falak is holding on just for that moment. Last heard: her sister has been traced but no one knows where her brother is. One can only hope he is safe.

Falak made headlines a few  days ago. But today she is only a news item. This is so reflective of the society we have become. True the human bites and battered body were sensational enough to 'hog' headlines for a short span of time. Now if there are more sensational inputs we will hear them too. But what about the real issues? Will they ever be addressed? I was horrified when a police officer in a press briefing refused to qualify Falak's story as proof of child and women trafficking. She was quite content to term it an isolated incident where 'everyone knew everyone' whatever that means! My mind goes back to the Ghaziabad girls and their abuser. Though the sting operation that unearthed their tale went on to receive recognition and accolades, the plight of the girls remains unknown. I wonder what happened to their saintly abuser who is apparently on bail. Everyone lost interest. It just became yesterday's news. Will Falak also become yesterday's news.

All this makes me terribly sad. I had hoped, naively I guess, that Falak's ordeal would be a wake up call. But I guess I forgot that she was born on the wrong side of the fence. The so called civil society would not take up her fight, as they would for one of their won. The outrage, if any, will be short lived. I wonder what makes us move. Every day we hear of some form of child abuse. We just carry on unmoved and dry eyed. Falak's story will remain an individual one. Many will and have offered help. If she lives, Falak will be cared for. But about the other Falaks. Will we fight for better laws to protect our children. Maybe not as our children are not targets. It is time we change our attitude. It is time we start seeing with our heart. Falak's pain can not be in vain.