The Sound of Silence

Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.

From what I’ve tasted of desire

I hold with those who favor fire.

But if it had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate

To say that for destruction ice

Is also great

And would suffice.”- Robert Frost

Humankind has learnt one thing from years of evolution- the importance of keeping quiet. The average human has become so well versed in the Art of Silence, that they have forgotten the necessity of speech. ‘It is a fact, universally acknowledged’ that The Freedom of Speech and expression can only be utilised if the individual finally decides to speak up.

With every dusk and dawn, we are acquainted with the most heinous crimes that can be committed by our fellow ‘brothers and sisters’. But still, the ‘common man’ decides to keep quiet and endure, staring at us, utterly baffled at the state of the world outside of the black and white pages of the National Daily. 

Common Man by RK Laxman
[Photo Courtesy:]

RK Laxman’s ‘Common Man’ has always represented of the woes and worries of the citizens of India, that is, the common man. The illustration lacked the power of speech but unfortunately it seems as if we, the people, were inspired so much by the artwork, that we ourselves decided to keep its memory alive, by never using our voice.

The author might’ve misspoken the last part as, ‘we’, the people of India, definitely know how to use our voices. The slurs, the demeaning comments, and the unwanted opinions are, all proof of such that, selective words flow easily out of mouths, but incidentally, when a 12-year old girl in Uttar Pradesh was walking around, knocking on the doors of strangers, ornated in tattered clothes and fresh blood, not a single soul used their voice.

Not one single soul decided to provide that little girl with at least, a place to stay for the night. Not one soul decided to wash her bloods and soothe her pleas. 

The ability of speech comes with its own set of terms and conditions for those people of Uttar Pradesh. The ability of speech can only be used if the accused is not a figure of influence, a figure of power, or a figure of wealth.

‘We’, the people of India forgot how to use our voices when women were raped and paraded around naked in Manipur. When the houses were being burned and no woman was safe from the clutches of the oppressors, regardless of their age. It did not matter if the girl was 6 or 60. It did not matter if the woman wore a burqa or jeans, they were all assaulted, and not a word could be heard in the country except the screams and cries of the victims. 

But didn’t we all stand together for them?

Yes, we did. We typed away from the safety of our homes. We signed petitions and criticised the political leaders and left no stone unturned to throw religious slurs at one another. But did we actually stepped out of our soft beds and went out of the comfort of our homes to stand beside the Manipuri women?

Ask yourself once again, 

Did we all stand together for them?


Enakshi Ganguly


Priyanka Ghosh

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