Tiger, burning bright

8th January 2013 0 By Nandini


I woke with a start from a fitful sleep last night. I was trying to rest after I had given an interview on Netherlands Radio 1.

She is the tiger burning bright is what came to my mind in a flash. 

Last Sunday, I saw ‘The Life of Pi’. It’s layered with meaning, but for the purposes of this post, the film is about a young man, Pi, who tells the story of how he was shipwrecked and found himself on a boat with the tiger from his father’s zoo. He’s relating his journey on the Pacific to an ‘author’ who has an insight and says, ‘ you are the tiger in the story’. To which Pi gives a slight smile which could be yes; it could be no.

The tiger burning bright in my story is a young woman we have recently come to know. The one in Delhi who went to see ‘The life of Pi’ a couple a weeks ago. The one in a gruesome, unimaginably cruel true story; the one who was raped, battered, brutalized and basically ripped apart for two and a half hours in a running bus.

The tiger lived to tell the tale of what happened to her. Jyoti, (it means light), is who came to me in my sleep last night. She battled not only the six men who abused tortured and ripped her apart but she battled for her life after that. As her body failed, she said to her mother, ‘I want to live’. Her body died but the tiger in her lived.

I am one of millions of women and men whose sleep has been disturbed and whose waking days have taken on another flavour in the last two weeks since the tiger told her tale. The media in India and abroad have not stopped reporting about it and the wave of protest and demands for change being voiced on the streets of India and via social media have reached far and wide.

In the Netherlands I know of at least three initiatives. Nina Subramani, documentary maker, acitivist and mother has started a Facebook book page yesterday. She calls it Crime against Women and Children in India. In one day, you can see the number of rapes known and posted on this site. This is the link to the page:


This is what she has to say to me: ‘ The important thing is to start talking about it. Because the rupee is weak, I think a lot of people who visit India from abroad and who have better-off friends there see a very different India – one where everyone wears international hi-fi brands, drives swanky cars and eats at 5 stars. Its important to emphasize that this group is a minority – a teeny minority of our population’. 


She has a point because Eva, the interviewer last night said she didn’t realize India is such an unsafe place for women.

Another initiative is a condolence book placed in the Embassy of India last Wednesday and Thursday.



A third initiative is a protest outside the Indian Embassy in Den Haag planned on Saturday 12 Jan. with the aim to hand in a letter. It is an initiative of Garima Kaul. The link to that is here:


Landelijke India Werkgroep has posted a link to an article in the International Business times about sexual assaults on untouchable women: http://www.ibtimes.com/delhi-gang-rape-protests-what-about-sex-crimes-against-untouchable-women-992666


The GOPIO women’s council also has a page on FB – http://www.facebook.com/pages/Gopio-Women-Council/295151430537889?ref=hl

And the link to the radio 1 interview is here. The bit on the rape case is at minute 31.41. It’s in Dutch.



Let’s keep the tiger burning bright.

Remember, her name means ‘light’.