Saturday, May 26, 2007

“A Tribute to Koushambi Layek”?!

26th May, 2007

The murder of the young TCS engineer from Dumka, Ms. Koushambi Layek, is by now known to almost all who access the net in India. But going through certain sites and reading some people’s reactions about the incident has convinced me that a lot of people around really don’t know how exactly a close friend or family member of a such a victim feels after such a devastating incident.

I think we should get our facts right first, which evidently, loads of people don’t bother to do.
a) Koushambi met Manish on a train.
b) They used Orkut only as a means of keeping in touch, as do so many others for whom the internet is much more convenient than land phones / cellular devices / letters.
c) Though Koushambi developed a relationship with Manish, she did so without knowing that he was married.
d) Once she did get to know that, she tried to break off with him, but Manish threatened her and coerced her into continuing.
e) Distraught over the way things were going, Koushambi took her family into confidence, and they too tried to talk Manish out of the thing, but to no avail.

Why Koushambi had gone to that hotel in Mumbai with Manish was a question that was shrouded in mystery for long, but reading the above, I think it appears more likely that the reason was to try and talk a way out of the relationship.

Manish has now concurred with the above, and has also confessed to killing her in her sleep, by shooting her through a pillow.

From the numerous sites that are trying to sensationalize the news unnecessarily I grasped a few things:
a) some people have absolutely no clue about what they are talking about, and why
b) some people are really muddled (or addled) in their brains, and talk absolute crap
c) some people are just talking because they don’t know how and when to keep shut
d) some people are simply using the gruesome incident as their trump card to cheap publicity, and this is the worst of all.

For example, thousands of visitors have been sending their condolence messages through Koushambi’s Orkut profile. The regular “R. I. P.” and “God bless your poor soul” type of messages apart, there are plenty of visitors who are simply making fun of the ill-fated girl and her untimely death. Do take a look at this:
hello!! how r u.... hpe u r fine .... howzz u knw who is sleepin next to uu.... pls get me his adress,,,, reply is must”

Does the guy have any humanity left in him?

And then there is this strange character who writes:
u shudn have had a relationship with a married man who has kids.. doesn speak of ur innocence.. doesn matter if ur dead or alive.. u have commited a sin too..his child will suffer more than u two…”

And to which another strange character replies:
Maheshwar. u are true. How many girls will spend a night in a hotel room who is not married to her. She too is not all that innocent. And also had multiple affairs. Its murkier. I dont have sympathy for Manish but i am sure there must be a very strong reason behind taking such a drastic step.
also they both first met in a train (face to face). Orkut just happened to be a mode of staying in touch. Dunno why Orkut is so much in news when it ws not responsible for their meeting each other.”

Those were just a few out of hundreds of such comments on her scrapbook.

Let us for a moment assume that Koushambi was indeed a girl with loose morals (though I personally don’t subscribe to that view – as per the official reports, she did not know that the guy was married when she got into the relationship, and when she finally got to know of it she tried to break off. Doesn’t show much of loose morals, does it?) Let’s assume that she was indeed sleeping around with a man married to someone else. Does that mean that if a client murders a prostitute, or a man murders his mistress, it is no crime? Does that mean that a prostitute / concubine does not have the right to live?

It appears from such comments that we have lost all humane touch in us. We’ve forgotten that what matters is that a person lost her life, and whatever be her actions, she did not deserve to die. A man has no right whatsoever to murder his concubine/prostitute too. And Koushambi was, by his own admissions, Manish’s girlfriend – not a prostitute, not a mistress, not a concubine.

Koushambi is not known to me personally. But I feel for her. And her family and close friends. I remember being in a helpless situation years ago, when a friend of mine was raped, and my roommates went on to say very emphatically that the poor girl must have had some relations / set up with the rapist! I could not do much to stop them, apart from telling them that they were sick perverts.

I know how it feels when the character of a poor victim of circumstances is mercilessly assassinated, for no fault of hers. I know how it feels to hear things like that about a victim, who’s close to you. But evidently, a large sect of the human race does not realize that.

And so they go on to assassinate the character of the girl, sensationalize it and use it for their own selfish ends. Like this woman who’s the owner of a community on Orkut which supposedly pays tribute to Koushambi and seeks to keep the news of her merciless murder alive in the minds of the public till the killer is dealt with. By her own admission, she does it all for publicity:

“I even created a community for the deceased TCS staffer Koushambi Layek. I know that is wrong, but i wan to be famous.:)”

And then there are these weird people, who don’t have any clue what they are talking about. They just don’t know what to say and how, and when to keep their mouths shut. Murders, rapes, premarital and extramarital affairs, intoxicants… they blame it on “westernization”, whatever it is! Can somebody please tell such dunderheads that even our epics, like Ramayana, Mahabharata, etc. talk about these “vices”? Or was there “too much westernization” even at the time when these were written? Honestly, I didn’t know whether to laugh or be exasperated when I read this:

are we western-ising too much... i may seem totally dweebish but is having relationships wid the opposite sex b4 marriage even in our culture...the culture that’s been going strong for 3K years is getting westernised.....though im not against westernisation.....the vices of westernisation may bring us down....drinks, cigarettes, drugs an all...and its already taking a expectin, if any, negative replies for this...but is worth talking about”

If there is any small consolation, then the above was very aptly and smartly replied to by another Orkut user:

simi (voice:
@ sunil!!!!!!!the very fact dat u r talking in english.. isnt dat westernization???? wat on earth is dis concept of westernization and dat europe or the US teaches us to booze, have premarital sex and all the stuff that we 'culturally rich' indians don’t do?????? my maid's husband comes and beats her up and has an affair with another woman..... is he westernized, or has he watched too many hollywood movies?? mr sunil, grow up!!!!! its completely and totally a person's mentality to do whatever he / she does!!! premarital sex, extramarital sex, cocaine, ganja. murder, rape...blah blah blah blah!! it does not matter if he comes from texas or taiwan!! what is so difficult in understanding that????”

Koushambi is dead. Manish cold-bloodedly murdered her, that too in her sleep, only because she refused to continue the relationship with him any longer. He shot her mercilessly, first in the neck through a pillow, to muffle the sound of the gunshot, and then again through her temple. And here we are, publicizing and sensationalizing the news unnecessarily, and causing even more distress to the poor girl’s soul by assassinating her character.

What have we come to? Where have our humanity, our morals disappeared? And why on earth are we even for a moment trying to justify Manish’s heinous crime? He not only lied to the poor girl and lured her into a relationship, he also murdered her when she found out about the truth and tried to call it off… and we are trying to support that? On what grounds?

The answer definitely eludes me…


RG said...

Excellent article; thanks for clarifying so many things. My prayers go out both to Koushambi and her killer; I bet he is in a lot of trouble and is deeply regretting his actions.