DAMANI -- shine on

December 16. An ordinary day. Wheels turned, horns blared and people lived yet another day. Celebrations for the upcoming Christmas day was being planned and of course the Mayans prophecy in December 2012 as end of the world was a lively debated topic.

In Delhi a young medical student and her friend watched the 'Life of Pi', window shopped in a mall and decided to head home. At the bus stop they waited. It was night time. Finally a bus pulled in. And, then the world came to a horrendous halt. A young woman's life was brutally ripped apart by 6 dastardly rapists and then thrown out on the road. Minutes agonizingly ticked by. Damini as she was later called by candle vigil holders, activists, newspapers and world over, suffered her ordeal and later in Singapore drew her last breath.

Actors, writers, poets expressed their anguish, penning lines in Damini's name. The call for justice was echoed around the world. The incident impacted strongly. Male students are still showing solidarity and making their voices heard on the pitiable plight of Indian women who live their lives in the ominous shadow of misogyny and harassment. Rapes are reported every 25 minutes in Delhi, every 1.3 minutes on an average in India. Of course, this figure does not include the unreported ones which are way too many.

Well known film celebrities, social workers, news reporters and authors have analyzed the topic underpinning the social and economic causes. Some brave young male students recently wore skirts to demonstrate their support for the Indian women protesting against the rampant rape culture. In New York the Indian community expressed support for reform. World over individuals are raising awareness on the issue of women empowerment and hoping for transformation to occur via new laws in the Indian society.

Preet Singh, a young independent artist (New Delhi) who is an underrated lyricist, music composer and a vocalist protested by doing what he knows best: released a music single 'daMANi...A Tribute. Intro lines of this song are penned by Sanjay Grover and the verses by Preet. Through music he created a powerful but needed message that behind every man's success is a woman. But behind a woman and especially an Indian woman, such as Damani, there are men thirsting for her downfall. And, brutal one at that.

Preet deliberately uses the word Damani instead of Damini. The word 'man' juxtaposed between 'da' and 'ini' eloquently underlines the stifling role of the man in a society like India's. Specifically the misogynistic Indian man who becomes an obstruction in a woman's way of life, freedom and success.

Will this song enable the harbinger of change that is required in the Indian society? Time will tell. But, if everyone reflects and becomes a channel to fight for the women who have been raped or brutalized in any form, then there's light.

On December 16, the young woman whose name was Jyoti meaning 'light' faded away. Initiatives, action, strength -- call it different ways but turning inward and becoming a strong source in enabling change will ensure that Jyoti's last moments are not forgotten.


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