There is no bigger pain than that of losing a child.
Time may go by and people may think that parents have healed. But the truth is no matter how much time has gone by their arms will still ache, their soul will still grieve and their heart would still be broken.
But, that pain becomes unbearable if you know that your baby, whom you have protected for more than twenty years from every small injury has been brutally raped. And that the soul of the whole country has been jostled and repulsed.
It just took one horrible night of 16th December 2012, that turned a faceless, voiceless mother, Asha Devi into Nirbhaya’s mother – The mother of the fearless one!
Though as a society, we hail the courage of Nirbhaya on multiple occasions, we forget to recognize the courage and strength that her mother showed to seek justice for her daughter.
Being barely literate, this mom may have belonged to a small village in Uttar Pradesh. But, she decided to leave no stone unturned in the fight for justice.
But the struggle wasn’t easy at all. Recalling how she earned the courage and toughened herself to seek justice for her daughters, she shared with TOI,
“I never imagined my child would be taken away from me like this […] Right after the incident when my mouth would be dry, when I felt I had no voice, the media came to talk to me.
I opened my mouth and the words just tumbled out. Now, it is no longer so difficult. I speak my mind no matter who is on the stage.”
Though it is proclaimed that the whole country was standing with Nirbhaya, in reality, our shameless society left Asha and her family to fight alone. While sharing how no one stood by them, Asha shared with DD News:
“We used to be in the hospital for most of the time. I had my kids at home. At times, I couldn’t even cook for my kids and they used to be left hungry.
Nobody even brought one meal for my children.”
In the same interview, which was recorded 5 years after the Nirbhaya incident, Asha expressed her deepest emotions:
“Since that day we’ve been encoutering that pain and grief. Not even a single day has passed when we didn’t find a mention of this incident around us. Daily we suffered and till today it brings restlessness to us.
Every evening I used to ask my self, “What’s next?”
But every next morning, I used to convince myself to get up and fight.”
The way Asha Devi fought for her daughter’s justice, you couldn’t help but wonder how someone can get so much of strength to fight.
“The source of my strength was sufferings of Jyoti. I saw her dying each day. That pain gave me the courage to stand up.
I asked myself how could I sit quietly after going through so much of anguish.”
She had this to say to people who wanted them to hide what happened to her daughter:
“We didn’t feel like hiding it. And for the simple reason because it was not our fault. It was not Jyoti’s fault. We tried to give the country a good citizen by educating our daughter.
Had we hidden the incident, we wouldn’t be able to keep ourselves alive after going through so much of trauma. Why should we hide it. The ones committed such henious crime should hide. So, we fought, and have reached where we stand today.”
Though they were supported by a heroic officer like Chaaya Sharma in their journey of justice. But, it wasn’t easy at all! Eyes filled with tears, Asha shared,
“I just saw my child suffer. She was the one going through the pain. I just saw her suffer.
At times, I used to think, it is fortunate she isn’t here to see the court proceedings. The proceedings are like a tragedy getting repeated again and again.
For a rape victim, it is very painful to go through it.
Till my last breath, I will keep fighting these crimes and will give my best to bring justice to such victims”
Asha inspires all the strong women to come out of their shell and fight back against injustice.
Though Nirbhaya couldn’t witness the changes and awakening that her mothers’ fight brought, we feel wherever she is, she must be feeling thankful and proud of her mother “ASHA DEVI” – who got JUSTICE for her daughter!