Navratri celebrates female energy and the conquest of good over evil.
Appropriately, this year’s nine nights marking Goddess Durga’s battles against the buffalo demon Mahishasuran arrived in concert with the power of India’s #MeToo movement.
Accusations of sexual assault and harassment by men against women first took aim at prominent figures in the Indian film industry. The movement then outed powerful men in India’s media world.
Soon enough, India’s voice of #MeToo had called out individuals in corporate and political circles as well, culminating (for now) in the resignation of State Minister for External Affairs MJ Akbar (also a former prominent media editor). His departure from government came on the eve of Dussehra, ten days—and nine nights—after courageous individuals energized India’s #MeToo movement by going public with their stories.
None of this is to make political commentary* or to cast assertions of guilt on the accused.
Rather the point is to reflect on the obvious destructive power that sexual assault and harassment have over the victims. And to encourage the remedy that exists after that destruction has been done.
Power exists in unity. Power exists in voice. An incredible power resides in the courage to say no to repression.
I did not like the outcome of recent events involving the U.S. Supreme Court. I had lost hope, for a time, in the power of courage and truth and resilience.
This Navratri, #MeToo India has restored my faith.
*Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of my employer.