12/03/2015 8:07 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:25 AM IST

The Unsung Heroes: The Parents Of India's Daughter

Hindustan Times via Getty Images
NEW DELHI, INDIA - DECEMBER 16: Mother of Nirbhaya gets emotional at a prayer meeting to remember Nirbhaya on the second anniversary of the fatal gang-rape organized by Nirbhaya Jyoti Trust at Rajendra Bhawan on December 16, 2014 in New Delhi, India. On December 16, 2012, a 23-year-old physiotherapy student was brutally gang raped and by six men, including a juvenile, in a moving bus. The incident unleashed a wave of public anger over levels of violence against women in the country. Nirbhaya Jyoti Trust which was established by Nirbhayas parents (Photo by Raj K Raj/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

By now many of you reading this post have already watched the much discussed BBC documentary, India's Daughter, a documentary film about the heinous crime that took place in Delhi on the night of December 16, 2012. The Indian government -- in a true reflection of our society's traditional penchant for hushing up important issues --decided to ban the film, but they underestimated the power of the internet and social media.

Several links floated on different social media channels and like many of you, I watched the film. Enough has been written and said about the documentary already. We are outraged by the criminals, their lawyers, by the judicial system, by the broader issue of how women are looked at in the country.

My piece of writing, after seeing the film, is solely dedicated to the courageous and forthright parents of 'Nirbhaya'.

When they spoke of their girl, the depth of their love and the depth of their grief were palpable. The mother narrates that her first words to her daughter after the incident were that they would stand by her, no matter what. That is rare in the Subcontinent where women are shamed for crimes perpetrated against them - domestic violence, harassment for dowry, sexual assaults and rapes. Shamed by society. Shamed by their own family and loved ones.

A victim becomes a social outcast and is often disowned by her own family, her own parents. But here the parents stood by her, fought for her even after her death and would have still been by her side today if she were alive. They did not feel shamed for what was done to their daughter. Instead they stood strong, spoke for her and fought for the cause.

That speaks a lot for itself. That must have taken a lot of courage. They must have faced a lot of hurdles. But they have also set an example for many parents who fail to shelter their own children in the face of the meaningless norms and boundaries created by the society.

Shame? Who should be shamed? The victim? Or the accused? Is there any other form of crime where we lay the blame on the victim?

Why blame society when even the girl's parents look in the wrong direction in such cases. There is a deep-rooted culture of misogyny in Indian society and universally as well. One that education alone cannot diminish. It will take much more than that.

If education alone could eradicate such attitudes, we would not have heard those remarks from the "educated and qualified" defence lawyers. A change in mindset begins at home, within the family first. In patriarchal society, children grow up observing and knowing that women can be treated with disrespect and that this is acceptable.

For this reason, Nirbhaya's parents are no less than heroes. I was touched by the grieving eyes of a father holding the fond memories of once teaching his child how to walk, giving her wings to reach her dreams and then living the nightmare that overpowered it all. But their daughter was and will always remain their pride. She will always be loved. She will always be defended no matter what. Someone will always be there to fight for her. Someone will not worry about the stereotypes.

I have nothing but utmost respect for them. And I hope and pray that every girl has parents like them. That every daughter is loved and respected at home, even when she has been wronged outside.

This post has also appeared at Piya Mukherjee Kalra's blog - Chatoveracuppa.

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