Chained. Beaten. Detained.
Declared Mentally Unfit.
This is the story of how Ruksaar escaped unimaginable circumstances and attained financial independence. She is an inspiration and a hero for us all!
Ruksaar faced physical and emotional violence from her family members including her father, her brothers and her mother. She was often locked in her room for extended durations. Because she was in confinement for such extended periods, she almost forgot how to deal with people. In addition to long durations of social isolation, she was also made to consult a male gynaecologist who she was initially uncomfortable with. Her parents wanted her to get treated fast, so that they could get her married right after. Her parents were fixated with the idea of her marriage so much so that they life to their relatives and neighbours about her health just so that they could get rid of her.
But Ruksaar wouldn’t take all of this lying down, and she questioned her restrictions. She also let her parents know that she wouldn’t get married if her condition was lied about. Just this simple statement unleashed a week worth of violence during which she was chained and beaten. What was worse that she couldn’t even ask for help from her neighbours, because her parents had told everyone that Ruksaar’s mentally unfit. One day she was bitten by her own family members, and when she asked if she could see the doctor, they took her all tied up in an auto so that her contact with the outside world could be minimized. What was worse was that her family wanted to make sure that they didn’t get flak from the outside world, so they intended to procure medical certificates that stated that Ruksaar was mentally unfit. And in fact they did manage to procure the same.
Ruksaar tried everything under the sun - she spoke to nurses and attendants at the hospital, to neighbours and relatives, but to no avail. Everyone had bought her family’s story of her being mentally unfit. She then realized that to gain more freedom she had to gain her family’s trust. So for a few days she agreed to all demands that her family made, and finally the restrictions were eased up a bit for her. She was allowed to watch television, and to talk to people outside. Gradually, she started collecting evidence against her family that she could use to prove to the outside world the torture that was being inflicted on her.
Once when was going through the newspaper, she saw a women’s rights NGO - Jagori’s contact number. At the same time, she thought of a plan to escape. She persuaded her mother to take her to the gynae when her father wasn’t around. And when there was no one in the doctor’s chamber except herself and the doctor, she told him everything about her life with the evidence that she had collected. The Doctor then asked her what he should do in this situation - call the National Commission of Women, or Jagori or any other organization. The Doctor then called up Jagori at Ruksaar’s insistence and made her speak to them. Ruksaar asked them to come to the hospital in two days, considering that her parents wouldn’t let the employees at Jagori take her if they came to her house.
The Doctor also helped her out, asking her mother to get her again in two days. Two days later, Jagori got to the hospital but couldn’t locate the Doctor. Ruksaar also reached with her father but couldn’t locate the Doctor at first. Later she found him and went inside his chamber for the consultation while the Doctor asked her father to wait outside. The women who had come from Jagori too entered, and then exchanged their dupattas and smuggled Ruksaar outside. When some time had passed, Ruksaar’s father enquired about Ruksaar’s absence to which the Doctor said that she had gone to the toilet and never returned.
Ruksaar then got referred to Shakti Shalini where she restarted her education at the Kushalta Vikaas Kendra. She never enrolled in a former school because for that she would have to get an ID made, and all ID’s would require her father’s details which she didn’t want to furnish because she disliked the idea of even remembering her father, who had been so cruel to her. Ruksaar was handicapped when it came to social interactions, especially with men because of her experiences. But an important breakthrough moment came when she enrolled herself in theatre classes at Shakti Shalini. She was able to tell her entire story in front of an audience, while constantly interacting with the audience in the form of questions. Expressing herself via theatre opened her personality up, and her social interactions became much better.
After a positive experience with theatre, she turned to notebook making to sustain a living. After learning all the skills, Shakti Shalini gave her a grant of Rs. 5000 to buy a simple notebook making machine, with which she could work. But she insisted that it be a loan and not a grant. She then started making notebooks and selling them, and was able to return the entire amount along with interest in one year!