Meet Jyoti & Rinkle - One is dead but will live forever; the other is alive, but among the living dead
- Jyoti Pandey will live forever;Rinkle Kumari is among the living dead."January 8, 2012Tragic stories of Jyoti Pandey and Rinkle KumariTarek FatahIn the 1857 Great Indian Mutiny, the name of one man, Mangal Pandey, rallied an entire nation. It is said he was the “sepoy” who fired the shot that triggered an armed uprising against the British.Across India, the rallying cry of the mutineers was “Mangal Pandey ko yaad karo”—“remember Mangal Pandey’s sacrifice.”Today, 156 years later, another “Pandey”is the source of a rallying cry — this time it’s a woman by the name of Jyoti Singh Pandey. She is the 23-year-old medical student who was gang raped and murdered in New Delhi.Like Mangal Pandey of 1857, Jyoti Pandey has become forever immortalized, etched in our memories for eternity, despite efforts by many who wanted to let her die in anonymity. Fortunately her father, Badri Singh, has been brave enough to ensure his daughter’s name is known.While her rape and death are a stain on India, the reaction of millions of Indians who poured into the streets, symbolizes its resilience as a flourishing democracy.Across the border in Pakistan, the gang rape of Jyoti Pandey was met with shock and dismay, but also plenty of gloating. Some laughed and mocked at India, giving themselves a chance to hide their own shame at the ill-treatment of girls and women in Islamic societies.Just when Jyoti was gang raped, Muslim men with some political clout had allegedly raped two Hindu girls in Pakistan, aged six and 14. Jyoti’s rape triggered an uprising, the two in Pakistan barely caused a ripple.No arrestsAccording to the International Tribune Express, a member of parliament belonging to the ruling Pakistan’s Peoples Party was accused of the rape of the 14-year old girl, but no arrests were made. The Tribune reported: “The victim, her father and the rest of her family staged a sit-in outside (the MP’s) house ... threatened to set themselves on fire.”Not only were the police unmoved, the urban elites of the country merely shrugged their shoulders.In the case of the six-year-old Hindu girl, it was reported by NDTV “she was playing near her home” in Pakistan’s Sind province, when “the owner of a gambling den allegedly kidnapped and raped her on December 3. Some unconfirmed reports said the girl was gang raped.”This was not the first time a Hindu female in Pakistan has been raped without any consequences. In May last year a Hindu woman, Rinkle Kumari, was allegedly raped, kidnapped, and then forcibly converted to Islam. Unlike in India, most Pakistanis seemed to be quite happy with the outcome — one more Muslim.Sick form of patriotismA few brave Pakistani feminists and NGOs have expressed outrage, but they are seen largely as pro-West. As women get raped in Pakistan, a sick form of patriotism prevents the ordinary Pakistani from speaking out like his Indian counterparts.It is believed that as many as 20 to 25 girls from the Hindu community are abducted every month, converted forcibly to Islam and then “married” off to older Muslim men.If in India, Sonia Gandhi and the ruling Congress party had tried to clumsily downplay the tragedy of Jyoti Pandey, one only has to remember how Pakistan’s former President Pervez Musharraf reacted to the gang-rape of Mukhtaran Mai in 2002.Instead of honouring her, Musharraf placed restrictions on her movement and then told the Washington Post (comments he denied making), rape was becoming a “money-making concern” in Pakistan.While Jyoti Pandey has all of India to rely on, the Hindu girls of Pakistan have no one. Jyoti will live forever; Rinkle Kumari is among the living dead.