Delhi Gang rape victim Jyoti Singh Pandey’s father Badri Singh Pandey said that revealing his daughter’s name will inspire and give courage to women who have survived these attacks. Though she was known by names like Damini, Amanat, and Nirbhaya, the brave dad Badri, 53, told The Sunday People, “We want the world to know her real name.“My daughter didn’t do anything wrong, she died while protecting herself.I am proud of her. Revealing her name will give courage to other women who have survived these attacks. They will find strength from my daughter.”
Badri and his family stay in the ancestral village of Billia in North Uttar Pradesh. They have gone back to this ancestral home, following the barbaric attack on their daughter. Jyoti Singh’s mother, Asha, 46, is too much in shock to speak. Badri said, “At first I wanted to see the men responsible face to face but I don’t want to any more. I just want to hear that the courts have punished them and they will be hanged. Death for all six of them. These men are beasts. They should be made an example of and that society will not allow such things to happen.”
Going back to the fateful day, Badri says that he came to know about the news when he had just returned home after 10:30 PM on December 16, after completing his duty at the Delhi Airport, where he works as a loader. Asha, was awaiting the return of their daughter, a medical school graduate, who had not returned after promising her to be back after watching Life of Pi at a suburban mall. Badri said: “We started calling her mobile and her friend’s mobile but there was no answer.Then at 11.15pm we got a call from the hospital in Delhi telling me my daughter had been in an accident.”
Badri asked a friend to take him on a motorbike. He said: “When I first saw her she was in the bed with her eyes closed. I put my hand on her forehead and called her name. She slowly opened her eyes and started crying and said she was in pain. I held my tears. I told her not to worry, have strength and everything will be all right.”
Badri had no idea what had happened to his daughter till a policeman explained. Jyoti and her friend Avaindra Pandey, 28, had boarded a bus to get home, but had been subjected to assault and rape for 2 and half hours by six people in the bus. Both were severely hit by iron rods and Jyoti was severely raped, her intestines ripped off before they were stripped and thrown on a road which actually lead to the aiport where Badri works. He said: “I immediately called my wife and sons and told them to come to the hospital. But I couldn’t tell them about the rape.”
Jyoti was slipping in and out of consciousness for the first ten days and the family and the rest of the country lived in hope that she may survive though chances were bleak. Badri said: “Doctors did their best to save her. She spoke a few times but mostly through gestures. She had a feeding pipe in her mouth making it difficult for her to speak.But she did write on some paper that she wanted to live, she wanted to survive and stay with us. But it was fate that had the last say in the end.” Finally, Jyoti Singh Pandey passed away on December 29 in Singapore’s Mount Elizabeth Hospital where she was taken away for treatment.
Badri said that his daughter gave the police two statements and it was too heart-wrenching him for to listen. He said, “My wife was with her through the statements but she cried so much after hearing it all. She then then told me what happened. I don’t have the words to describe the incident. All I can say is they’re not human, not even animals. They’re not of this world.”
In tears, Badri added, “It was just gruesome and I hope no one ever goes through what she had to endure.She cried a lot, she was in a lot of pain. And as soon as she saw her mother and brothers she cried again.“But after that she was a courageous girl, even trying to console us and give us hope that everything will be all right.”
Badri said: “I told her everything would be OK and we’ll soon be back home. She was excited when we talked about going home and she smiled.I put my hand on her forehead, she asked me if I’d had any dinner and then she gestured for me to go to sleep. I held her hand and kissed it. I told her to take rest and not to worry and she closed her eyes.”
Jyoti Singh Pandey inspired millions of people and thousands took to streets demanding to the six accused and changes in the anti-rape law. On December 29, the brave girl succumbed to heart attack.
Badri said: “I so desperately wanted her to survive, even though she would have to live with a memory of that attack and get through her trauma. We’re so devastated that she’s gone. There’s a huge void in our lives. She was the centre of our universe. Our lives revolved around her.Her absence is so painful, a future without her is unimaginable.”
Badri said Jyoti’s friend Awindra was not her boyfriend – just a very brave friend who tried to save her. He added, : “There was no question of her marrying because we belong to different castes. She never expressed a desire to marry. She was concentrating on her studies and wanted a job first.” Badri said that Jyoti often stated that Awindra had tried his best to save her. She kept telling her mother he tried his best to help but they kept beating him with a rod.”
Badri said, “My daughter wanted to be a doctor. I told her I can’t afford to pay for her to do such subjects but she was determined. She wanted to be a doctor and earn lots of money and go overseas a lot.”
When Badri first moved to Delhi in 1983 he earned just 150 Rupees or $3 a month. Today, he earns Rs. 5700 ($114) per month. Over the years, he had saved some money by selling some land to pay for his daughter’s studies. Badri said, “It’s hard living in Delhi on my wages, very hard. But Jyoti always said she would change all of that. She wanted to change our lives once she got a job.”
Jyoti had completed her four-year course in physiotherapy at college outside Delhi. She was doing an internship when she was subjected to this gruesome attack. Her brothers Gaurav Singh, 20, and Saurav Singh, 15 cannot believe that their elder sister is gone. Gaurav said: “Life is going to be so difficult without her. Without her guidance I don’t know what to do or how to go about life again.”
Badri and his family said that they were touched by the way the nation stood by them. Badri said, : “The people of India have given us strength to cope up with our loss. I feel she’s not just my daughter but also India’s daughter. I used to read about rape incidents in the newspapers but never digested it much. We’re so thankful to the people who came out to protest against the barbarity.”
Badri now hopes mothers and fathers will teach their sons to respect women. He said, “ The police cannot handle this on their own. But parents need to keep an eye on their children too.” He showed photos of his beautiful daughter smiling to The Sunday People. In most pictures, she is seen wearing western clothes with long, shiny black hair, flowing –never tied up. Badri asked not to make picture of Jyoti Singh Pandey public. Indian Law prohibits giving the name of the rape victim unless she authorizes it or if she is dead, the family consents to it.
Jyoti Singh Pandey – Family Pictures