Free Spirited?

By – Aditi Mittal

‘For those of us who do not live with freedom, the rest of us are to be blamed.’

One fine morning you get up. Everything seems fine to you. You look out of the window. It is a pleasant day. The sun shines with splendour. The trees talk of the misty night that just passed. The city woke up to work as always.

Suddenly you feel a stroke of pain somewhere near the neck. Then again, in the abdomen. Once more, in your back. You rush to the mirror and your heart throbs when you the see the red scar there on the neck, you pull up your shirt and there is one more. You don’t even turn your back to the mirror now because you are sure you have one, there too.

You pace up and go to the window only to realise that the street does have people walking freely but those are not familiar faces. There are women, all around. The one there is wearing a gaudy saree to look attractive. The one next to her has put up a gajra in her hair to smell good. There is another one at the far end of the street who is making some swingy moves to fascinate. But you are not able to make out who are they trying to attract or fascinate or smell good for? Your heart beats even faster now. You can feel your sweaty forehead, palm and feet.

Almost stumbling, you come back to the point from where you got up. The room dosen’t have a functional light. The floor is no more made up of the white marble like the one at your home but of some dirty green tiles not cleaned since a week or two maybe. Everything appears dingy. Outside you hear voices of men arguing over some 2.5 lakhs or so as if striking a business deal. You get suffocated. But why, is there no air in the room? You want to shout. But who is there to hear you? You feel like crying. But is there anyone who can understand your silent tears? You want to run. But who is holding you back?

A sweet sound calls your name then and you wake up. It was your mother’s. You realise that you were dreaming or probably nightmaring. Hush!!! Thank God, I am out of it. Is this not what immediately comes to your mind?

Lets come to facts now. What you just now dreamt of is actually the life of around 91 lakh women and about 3.6 lakh girls like you and me, in India. Does it pain now? I am sure yes, but it is the heart this time.

The Walk Free Foundation comes up with an annual Global Slavery Index assessing the countries of the world on parameters of Modern Slavery which we commonly call human trafficking. According to its 2016 index, India ranks 4th in 167 countries as far as trafficking is concerned in proportionate terms.

18,354,700 is the absolute number of people under modern slavery in India. In these terms, India tops the world’s 167 countries. Every 8 minutes, a child goes missing in India. Women and girls are imported and exported from this land of Goddesses by the ones who are inhumane enough to sell them like something sans life let aside emotions, respect,dignity…

It happens so that throughout the year, women, men and children are gathered from different parts of the country and then finally in the month of November supplied to countries abroad and circulated in the nation itself. The reason being the New Year festivities for some demons-in-human-disguise are incomplete without loss of a tinch of humanity.

The demonetization on November 8, 2016 brought it to a standstill for sure. But a standstill is not forever. The situation has worsened even more. The women stuck up in brothels have to pay them (brothels, pimps) some pre-determined amount to let them stay in there. Some customers are paying in old currency while others pay much less than before with the effect that women have to serve 30-40 clients a day. The younger girls are at higher risk since the clients are now parting with their new and crispy Rs. 2000 notes and so want virgins. How ridiculous is this?

I want to ask you if there is really a need why the whole nation should worry about why a 50-year-old actor isn’t getting married? Or what sabotage is one political party planning for the other when no-one has any intentions of fulfilling their own promises? Or why in the world is the new captain of the team still following what the former captain says? Why???