Now, there is nothing more haunting than the embrace of death, and I find myself pleading for euthanasia. To every fellow citizen of India, I am Parvati, but I have been reduced to a living specter. After being expelled from Satyavati College, my existence feels like a daily demise. I yearn for this ceaseless agony to finally subside. When my eyesight was cruelly taken from me, I thought I would navigate life’s trials. Little did I know that within a community of intellects, a hapless soul like mine would be mercilessly crushed under the weight of despair. I am trembling with fear. It’s as if I’ve been plunged back into the abyss of blindness, as if scalding oil has been poured into my sightless eyes. Oh, God, where is your justice? Have mercy upon us.
I was not born blind; I lost my sight during the tenth grade when I slipped into a coma. Upon regaining consciousness after three agonizing months, I found myself in a hospital room where darkness enveloped me. I inquired of my father, ‘Has the light gone out here?’ He replied, ‘No, my daughter, the light is still there.’ But then I uttered those haunting words, ‘I can’t see anything.’ The doctor was summoned, initially attributing my vision loss to psychological distress. But as the light failed to return, even after exhaustive examinations, the doctors delivered the grim diagnosis of blindness.
A deafening silence loomed before me. Until then, I had only encountered blind individuals as destitute beggars. I feared that my family would either abandon me or worse, end my life. Hailing from an impoverished background, I had become a burden to my loved ones. I harbored dread of my mother, father, and family members conspiring against me. However, I did not succumb to despair; I refused to be cowed by fear.
I had faith in society’s compassion, believing in their innate humanity. Navigating life with closed eyes, guided only by a cane, I journeyed to NIVH Dehradun. There, I met many fellow souls trapped in circumstances like mine. My education commenced through Braille, and while studying in Dehradun, I wrestled with severe psychological challenges. Nevertheless, I persevered, eventually graduating from IP College of Delhi University after completing my 12th grade. I earned my M.A. from Daulat Ram College, followed by an M.Phil and PhD from JNU. I secured a JRF in the general category, and my book was published by Vani Prakashan, featuring a collection of stories and numerous articles in esteemed Hindi publications.
Yet, I was displaced by a typical undergraduate and postgraduate student who had recently passed the NET exam. This, my dear friends, was nothing short of murder — my murder.
You may not comprehend the struggles of the visually impaired. We contend with adversity at every juncture of life. While God had already stripped us of our desires, this incident has exposed society’s disgrace. Allow me to enlighten you: our society lacks sensitivity towards those with disabilities, and there exists a stark contrast between male and female blindness. We, as women, face double jeopardy. Men enjoy privileges within society, but what about women?
My ad-hoc job was my beacon of hope — the promise of permanence. I am not here to cast blame; instead, I implore you all to contemplate the state of our society. Rape and abduction are not relics confined to the Mahabharata; they persist in our contemporary world, as they did with me, with unbridled delight. My job was taken from me, plunging me back into the abyss of blindness. I am once again enveloped by frustration and desolation. I stand at the precipice of life, contemplating the void that lies ahead. Suicide has crossed my mind numerous times, but what I truly seek is euthanasia. I beseech you, please help me in this plea.
Dr. Parvati Kumari (Visually Impaired)
Former Professor Hindi
Ashok Vihar, Delhi University, Delhi