While I am writing this today, four convicts of Nirbhaya have been sent to hell. Yes, I am not being polite while talking about those who died because they never deserved it. India is a country where more than half of the population worship various Goddesses. Still, a crime against women is increasing rapidly and is a matter of concern for our two-faced society. In her debut short story, Priyanka Banerjee has portrayed it beautifully.
The story is about women who were abused sexually. The opening scene portrays a deaf and dumb girl trying to fix the television. A woman (Kajol) doing her daily rituals. Soon she finally able to receive the signal, a news reporter is presenting a report on alleged crime of rape. A case which has shaken the nation. The doorbell rings and it initiates an argument among all ladies inside the room. This home is a shelter to all those women who have faced sexual abuse in life. One is a medical student, a career-oriented woman, a modern girl, a woman in burkha, three aged women, a roadside beggar and Kajol herself. All these ladies represent different strata of society.
The argument is about accommodating the one who is ringing the bell. They indulge in a conversation where they decide who should stay and who should go. This is a revelation of their stories. One was abused and set ablaze. One was raped by her family member. One was gang-raped. One was raped because of her appearance and one was raped by a colleague. All of them were threatened by some of the other weapons. These revelations depict their pain and agony. They were left alone and harassed by society even after becoming victims to a heinous crime. And here they were forced into a sisterhood. The doorbell continues to ring and finally, they have agreed to let the girl in. What shook them all was merely a 6-year-old girl! She was the youngest victim of the brutality.
In India where the conviction rate for the rapist is as low as 32% such crimes against women are increasing rapidly. It is the right time to educate our sons to respect every woman. It is the right time to raise voice against every monster who thinks he will be spared after violating a woman. Devi is a tribute to the story of every woman who has faced this dark side of society. Devi is a story of Developing India where women are given equal rights but not equal safety.
Every character in this short story is an Emotion. Their eyes speak more than dialogues. Chills run through your spine when you see that little girl entering the room full of sexually abused ladies. It is a horrible reality which all of them have lived and seeing that girl somewhere all of them are shattered again.
Devi, in short, is a heart-wrenching story of women in India. It is a portrayal of fear, agony, disgust and pain of every woman who had lived this brutal reality!