Thursday, 18 June 2009

Barbecue Nation?

My friend informed me that the wife of one of her working staff doused herself with five litres of kerosene and set herself ablaze three days ago. Yesterday she sucumbed to her burns and passed away. The story that is doing the rounds to explain this incident is that this lady was visited in her dreams by an evil spirit who "instructed" her to do this to herself! Further more, rumor goes that two other women have also been similarly "possesed" and immolated themselves under this influence. So once again we sell our souls to the devil as we attempt to camoflauge our obvious crimes in the guise of old superstitions and witchcraft, and hope that ignorance and fear will keep the truth supressed forever, and life will go on unquestioned for the guilty.

That no one heard this poor lady as she became a human bonfire only feet away from supposedly sleeping family members, was because she allegedly did not scream whilst burning! How strange considering we bring the roof down normally from minor injuries whose pain we cannot bear, making a song and dance till we get the attention we seek; and something as torturous as being burnt alive can be endured in silence. This defies simple logic. But then when communities band together to uphold khandan ki izzat, and neighbourhoods become silent accomplices to acts of horror instead of witnesses who will testify, we make a farce out of justice and honour.

Too poor to be considered significant, too ordinary a story to merit media attention,this lady will fade away from the memory of most even perhaps before the rituals for her are hastily performed to keep face and uphold the charade. One more discussion on a television channel may frame this lady unknowingly through the similar story of tragedy she shares with another such victim, and sms opinion polls will flaunt verdicts on the ghosts of such voiceless people. Then somewhere else yet again, another such occurrence will happen once more, and who will really cares about it, except to listen to it as yet another tragic story, and then instantly put it out of our mind because we only want happy thoughts!

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