Hyderabad, June 28: Her silence can’t be more eloquent. Jilted by her childhood sweetheart, a young woman has stopped talking.
Nirmala, a 22-year-old woman in Andhra Pradesh’s Karimnagar district, has not uttered a word since Thursday. Her aim: shame the man who she says has betrayed her.
Nirmala, who sits in silence at her home in Ngunur village, 10 km from Karimnagar town, told this correspondent by writing on a piece of paper that she wants to set an example. Her silent crusade, she says, was for all jilted lovers so that they can fight independently to achieve their goal and express the injustice done to them.
“People will not pardon us if we raise a hue and cry as they feel that the chances of a good dowry for their sons are spoiled and come to offer money,” she says.
Nirmala says she had gone around for about three years with Anil Kumar, a childhood friend who lived across the street. But when it came to marriage, Kumar backed out.
Asked if Kumar had changed his mind because of dowry, she said he always claimed to be a democrat and that he was against dowry. “I only know that his uncles have pressurised him against our marriage,” she says.
District police officers say Nirmala’s silent protest has not been triggered by a sudden rejection. District superintendent Praveen Kumar says Nirmala had filed a complaint in January following which Kumar was arrested for cheating her. He was in jail for almost a week.
The case was settled by the village panchayat, which offered a compensation of Rs 30,000. Nirmala refused to take the money.
“The boy admits to be friendly with Nirmala but says he never assured marriage,” says a police officer.
Nirmala’s protest has left her family bewildered. But she is determined to see the end of it. “Our affair for nearly three years is well-known. How can I get married to anyone else,” she says.
Local politicians and women’s groups have also joined the fight, causing embarrassment to both the families.
Kumar, however, says he has already undergone severe mental strain because of Nirmala. “If I am compelled to marry her, I will rather commit suicide,” he says. Asked what had gone wrong to make him hate Nirmala or run away from her, his only reply is: “Ask her.”
Asked what would happen to Nirmala, her father, a big farmer in the village, said: “We will soon decide what to do with her; either get her married off or send her to a boarding institution.”