This is an artistic response to the documentary, India's Daughter. More importantly it is an experience of being one myself.
I watched the documentary with just as much curiosity as skepticism. Curious of the rendition, skeptical because it didn't take long for someone to come out with a half-baked documentary about a gruesome act of barbarism and disrespect. Bottom line, THAT is not India's daughter.
India's Daughter is growing up in a Patriarchal society, that is shrouded in the fog of cultural dogma. Within this culture is the daughter whose sole purpose in life is marriage. Educated just enough that she doesn't challenge the men, but can say she is educated. Fair-skinned, with the perfect balance of homemaker and ego-booster. She has just enough of a leash, and sometimes that leash turns into a noose.
There is also the daughter who is safe from the rapists and bullies, because she is from an affluent family. Her family has cars, drivers, maids-in-tow. She can wear what she wants and go where she wants, but never alone. This daughter is surrounded by security guards, surveillance cameras and dogs. For protection. We have to keep our daughters safe.
We cannot forget our sixteen year old daughter, whose father drinks his way through life because alcohol helps him cope with his debts, the biggest one of which is the dowry he just paid to send his daughter off into a worse situation. And she goes, because what other choice does she have? She is now someone else's property, and if she's lucky her husband won't beat her or throw away his money on alcohol. They have many children and live on the brink of total collapse.
Do any of these women have freedom? Are there enough men out there that will stand up for them, respect them? Is there safety for any of them in their homeland? All of these women and many more that fall between the cracks, are India's daughter.
There is no doubt that poverty and lack of education is a disadvantage to any society. Despite that, women all over India are speaking up, leaving their homes and making their own paths, standing up for themselves, helping each other out. That is her strength. Another woman. Whether it is someone on TV or her neighbour, seeing the possibility of making a choice is making her strong. She is having to trudge through the fog, go against the grain and wade through the weight of accumulated cultural muck. Sometimes her parents are by her side, other times it's men or women who also see that lending a hand is the best way to embrace our times, looking ahead to a future of equality.
Indeed, there are men even within this dogma who are by a woman's side. The problem is the man who cannot stand to see this happen. The men who question a woman's right to freedom, the men whose mother's have given them an unfair advantage, the men who believe all women should be serving them. It is a mindset, and it has nothing to do with poverty. Wealthy men in India with small hearts and an abstraction of power are equally to blame.
There are more goddesses that are worshiped in India than there are gods. If India's daughter can come out of this and smell the breath of freedom, then she is indeed a goddess. Right now, she's only half way there and that too in darkness. She has every right to reveal herself how she wants, when she wants and with whomever she wants. THAT is India's daughter!