A poster hung on the wall carrying the image of a single flame, with a caption ‘In Loving Memory of Nirbhaya—The Braveheart’. (Photo Credit: IANS)
An embedded glass cabinet in the living room of Nirbhaya’s parents’ house in Dwarka area in New Delhi contains a collection of academic excellence trophies, portraits of her grandparents and a blue coffee mug that the 23-year-old young woman held dear in her life before it was tragically cut short in December 2012. The mug now occupies a place of pride on the top shelf sitting next to the trophies she won in school, points her uncle Pawan Kumar Singh.
The horrific gang rape and murder of the physiotherapy intern had sent shockwaves across the country and triggered nationwide protests and a global public outcry. The four men convicted in the case were hanged in the darkness of pre-dawn on Friday, ending a terrifying chapter in India’s long history of sexual assault that had seared the nation’s soul.
“These trophies she won in schools remind us of her even when she is gone. She excelled in studies in school and would come in top bracket of her class year after year. And, that blue coffee mug was her favourite, she used it often,” Singh told PTI.
The cabinet also has various citations presented to her mother or father by various entities. On Friday, when the TV channels were presenting news on the hanging of the four convicts, the screen of the television reflected on a citation that read ‘Woman of the Year’ presented by a noted TV network.
In a way life came full circle for Asha Devi who fought relentlessly to get justice for her daughter. A framed poster hung on the wall carrying the image of a single flame, with a caption ‘In Loving Memory of Nirbhaya—The Braveheart’. Sunita Singh, 48, said, “My niece was a very simple girl”.
“She liked studying and was very committed about it. She did not have much hobbies, but, she was spiritual. Today, if she can hear us, we want to tell her that we finally got justice,” she added.
Mukesh Singh (32), Pawan Gupta (25), Vinay Sharma (26) and Akshay Kumar Singh (31) were executed at 5.30 am for the savage assault in an empty moving bus on the woman who came to be known the world over as Nirbhaya, the fearless one.