Mysterious death of a young housewife Battered Half syndrome
Whoever coined the term Better Half must be rolling in his grave. The reality is, it would have been that much more apt and would have reflected the reality more accurately if someone had instead coined the term ‘Battered Half’ with specific reference to Manipur. Ironic it is but this is the land which gave the Meira Paibi movement to the world, is the place where a date is set aside as Nupi Lan day, a place where there is a market place run exclusively by womenfolk and is a place which occupies a place in the roll of honour in the Olympics, thanks to its womenfolk and not the menfolk. Thangmeiband, to be more precise Thangmeiband Hijam Dewan Leikai in Imphal has been in the news for all the wrong reasons since April 22 following the death of a housewife under highly questionable circumstances. The Sangai Express is not jumping the gun and would not paint anyone with the ‘murder’ brush, but it sure is disturbing to note that the young housewife was found hung to death under highly questionable circumstances. Given the reality here, it is not surprising to see so many ‘having already’ solved the case and pointing the ‘murder’ finger at the husband and his family. The version given by the mother of the late lady also suggests foul play and already demand that the murderer/s should be given the capital punishment has been raised. The JAC formed in connection with the mysterious death of the housewife has already set April 27 as the deadline to identify and round up all those who allegedly ‘killed’ the young lady and hung her body to pass it off as a case of suicide. Early days yet and with the Manipur Commission for Women having already taken note of the case, one can only wait and see how things proceed, but it sure is disturbing. Dead men tell no tales, and like the pronoun ‘His’ used at the opening line of this commentary, the men here is also neuter gender and could refer to any man or woman. Only Rajkumari ningol Laishram ongbi Bidya alias Devia will know how her life was snuffed out and while speculations and theories are flying thick and fast, with many pointing to the ‘murder’ angle, it is incumbent on the part of everyone to let the investigation go to its logical conclusion and let the Court decide on the punishment of the culprits, if any.
The mysterious death of the young housewife has also set tongues wagging and talks in the neighbourhood are rife of how the young lady was subjected to gross physical assaults. Stories have come out of how neighbours heard the young housewife being battered with some even going to the extent of asserting that she was dragged inside when she had rushed out, ‘ostensibly to escape the brutal beating’ and in many ways this could be the story of countless number of other young and not so young wives here in this land which gave the Meira Paibi movement to the world and sets a date aside as Nupi Lan day every year. The social media is also rife with many expressing concern over the questionable death of the young housewife with many even going to the extent of suggesting that a young mother of a child, which Bidya was, would not have ever entertained the idea of ending her life. A few sensible statuses on Facebook also came up with the suggestion that parents and elders of the natal home of any woman should welcome back their daughters if they opt to return home in the face of any abusive husband justifying it with the line, ‘better to have a divorced daughter than a dead daughter.’ This is certainly food for thought. Time for all fathers and mothers of all daughters to seriously and sincerely look into the merits of this suggestion. A young life has ended and it would be in the fitness of things for all in Manipur to acknowledge that placing women on a pedestal in the public forum and reducing them to punching bags within the four walls of one’s home is the first devil that has to be neutralised if one does not want to see a repeat of the story of Bidya alias Devia. May her soul rest in peace, Amen.