With the recent deaths of Anuradha Bali and Geetika Sharma, one is bound to look into the cases of women who flew really close to power and who could have had it all, but lost it for some cruel twist of fate.
We have been brought up with so many stories of how that average girl with a mediocre and troubling life met a prince, who fell in love with her; they got married and lived happily ever after. George Orwell once said that happy endings depend on where you choose to stop the story.Only,, these stories certainly did not end with love; they had themes of ambition, chance, dominance, trickery, desertion, dejection and that final twist of fate that snapped their lives short abruptly. These women met their modern day princes, the unofficial royalty of their places, having absolute control over their kingdoms, but these women ended up on the wrong end of their power.
They ended up feeling controlled, monitored, neglected, exploited and suffocated under the constant attention and the reigns of these men.
Let us explore some of these stories in detail and analyse what turned the tables against them
Geetika Sharma- Gopal Goyal Kanda case
Gopal Goyal Kanda is the son of lawyer Murli Dhar, who owned a Footwear shop in Sirsa. A highly ambitious man, he joined his family business after school, but became a successful businessperson and politician despite experiencing several highs and lows in life. He has been an electrician, shoe shop owner, real estate broker, industrialist, car dealer, owner of MDLR airlines, and finally a minister in the Haryana government handling Home, Urban Bodies and Industry and Commerce portfolios.
Kanda had named the airlines, which was based in Gurgaon, after his father (Murli Dhar) and his son (Lakh Ram).
Geetika Sharma was an airhostess with Kanda’s airline, which started in 2007 and soon became defunct in 2009. That is when Kanda decided to enter active politics as an independent candidate.
Inquiries have established that Kanda had been giving favours and preference to Geetika ever since she joined the job; she was given undeserved promotions and perks for no obvious reasons. But when she left the company in 2010 to join Emirates, although initially MDLR gave her a no-objection certificate, it later reversed its stance, claiming she got her first job on the basis of forged documents and demanding her to be expelled. Kanda and his aide Aruna Chaddha had been pressurizing Geetika to return and even offered to sponsor her MBA course.
Kanda even went to her home often to persuade and coerce her to rejoin the firm. When she refused, he offered her another job as a director in his firm in Gurgaon.
Crumbling under the pressure, she committed suicide in her Ashok Nagar home in north Delhi on August 5, 2012. She was found hanging from the ceiling early Sunday morning. In her suicide note, she cited Kanda and Chaddha responsible for her death. She felt used, cheated and tricked, calling them “liars and crooks”. She said that they tried to sabotage her family members and tarnish her reputation to meet their ends.
The call records show that Kanda used to call Geetika almost 15 times a day and had called her close to 450 times in the last thirty days.
Now, Kanda and Chaddha are facing charges on the abetment to suicide, criminal intimidation and acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention. Although Chaddha has been arrested, Kanda is still absconding. He resigned from his ministerial post the following day.
The police was in no hurry to search Kanda’s house immediately after the breaking out of the suicide. Political power and corrupt machineryhas him running free. Power and blackmail are two effective tools in the hands of Kanda, reflecting the unfortunate situation in the country where it takes ages to deliver justice to those who need it the most while the rich and powerful easily slither away from their wrongdoings.
The sudden and mysterious death of the beautiful and ambitious Anuradha Bali aka Fiza Mohammad exposed an escalating phenomenon of modern life- loneliness. With less tolerance and compromise in relationships, greater weightage and attention to career than relationships and decline in the social taboo tag attached to divorce, many today are finding themselves leading lonely lives.
The death of Fiza and the delay in the discovery of her death are products of this very phenomenon.
Fiza was found dead by her uncle Satpal in her house in Mohali on august 6, 2012. Her body was highly decomposed; it was maggot-infested and had turned blackish-blue with body fluids. The cause of deathcould not be ascertained even afterher heart had been sent for examination. There were no internal or external injury marks on her body.
Since there was no suicide note discovered from the spot, the angle of murder is not overlooked. The door of her house was not locked from inside. Also, the police found a liquor bottle, cigarettes and some food items in the room, all of which are sent for examination. Results are being awaited expectantly, so as to find some clue to the cause of her death.
Fiza Mohammad was originally Anuradha Bali who hailed from Ambala and studied law from Punjab University. She became the Appointed Assistant Advocate General with the Haryana government in March 2005, after B.S. Hooda became the chief minister.
It is then that she met former Chief Minister Bhajan Lal’s son, Chander Mohan Bishnoi, who was the deputy chief minister at the time. ChanderMohan, who was already married to Seema Bishnoi, converted to Islam along with Anuradha when they eloped on December 2, 2008 in Meerut, but they only announced their marriage to the world on January 11, 2009 at Fiza’s home in Mohali.
Meanwhile, both Fiza and Chand Mohammad (Chander Mohan’s muslim name) had been sacked by the Hooda government. The former minister had also been disowned by his family for practicing bigamy.
Chand disappeared for a second time in 3 months on 29 January 2009, but he was alone this time. While Fiza alleged he was kidnapped and pointed a finger at Kuldeep Bishnoi, her husband’s younger brother, Chandwas found outside his brother’s house in Panchkula where he told television channels that he was missing his first wife Seema and their children and could not stay away from them. Thus deserting her, he put a bitter end to their fairytale romance. Things started getting sour between them in full public view. Soon, she lodged a complaint against him on February 1st for rape, cheating, intimidation and hurting religious sentiments, but the Punjab police gave him a clean chit. He trashed her complaints as “nothing more than toilet paper”.
On March 14, 2009, Chander Mohan called her up from London and uttered “talaq” three times. He also sent her a text divorcing her.
Back in the news, but this time alone, and for unfortunate reasons, Fiza became very depressed and tried ending her life on June 29, 2009.She was saved by her friends and almost 33 sleeping pills were recovered from her room.
Meanwhile ChandMohammad converted back to Hinduism and was readmitted to the Bishnoi community through a ceremony on 28 July, 2009 in presence of religious leaders.
Fiza, jobless and alone, went back to living with her mother in Mohali and campaigned against Bhajan Lal and Chander Mohan’s brother Kuldeep Bishnoi during run-up to assembly polls in October 2009.
What followedwere desperate attempts to live in the media glare and to regain stability in her lonely life. She joined the reality show “Iss jungle se MujheBachao” and was eliminated in the sixth week. Emotional instability followed. She picked up fights with neighbours and got arrested thrice in criminal cases filed by them. In one case, she even got a head injury. She was rude and unsocial to anyone who contacted her and often rebuked children as well.
This is the story of a woman coming from a middle-class background, who got introduced to power and fame and became hooked to it. It is theill-fated ending for a woman who could have had it all. It was almost as if a happy life was snatched away from her, right when she was about to bite the bait. Loneliness was her sole company. She had all the traits to become independent and fight back; she was in fact, preparing to enter politics and was in talks with BahujanSamajParty leadership.
But it all was cut short for her by her untimely death.
Power is the worst form of addiction: it has immense lure, it attracts people like bait and then, once trapped, they are so consumed in it that they do not know how to live any other way.
In India, the powerful portray a formidable and unbreakable picture. That is the reason no common person ever wants to enter politics. Even if they do, it’s a tough exam to crack. It’s the reason no one wants to rub shoulders with the unofficial royalty of their areas. And this is precisely why those who are in power never want to live life anything other than king size.
India has always been a country of disparities- there were the wealthy kings and nobility, and then there were the masses, sunken in poverty. Thus there have always been ambitious people among the masses who rise above the rest to the ranks of the rich and the powerful. They at times have to fight their way to fame or sometimes, they simply get lucky.
But the heights you reach also determine how low you can sink. Sometimes people get a glimpse of fame; thereafter they cannot find life fulfilling without the attention of the world. Anuradha Bali a.k.a Fiza worked hard to become the assistant advocate general of Haryana, but then ambition also took her to a world from which she could not separate herself. She could not get over the fact that her beautiful, complete, content world had been shattered by a classic story of betrayal, and she had no shoulder to cry on, no one to wipe her tears or to take her hand from the dark into the light.
Those with power bought their way back to normalcy. It was she who had her future and happiness at stake with a man who was answerable to a whole state.
But it is not true that only those who play with fire wander too close and find themselves burnt; Geetika Sharma was happy with her job and her life, until she became too lucky.She ended up getting all the perks a job could offer from her control freak boss, who, as it turned out wasn’t willing to let her go. Desperate to free herself from these shackles, she ended her life.
Butthat didn’t help matters if the larger picture is considered.
Despite clearly stating Kanda and his aide in her suicide note, Kanda has not been arrested. He is still walking the streets like a free man because he knows that the authorities will bow down to his power.
In India,those who have power have absolute power. They have the land, the money, the business, and the government’s resources, at their disposal. They know everything can be bought at a price, the leverage they get confirm our belief in this.
But it is simply not a matter of separation of powers or cleaning the system, which, by the way is absolutely shouting for attention.
It is a more protracted and deep-rooted problem: patriarchy.
For centuries, women have been under the control of men; now, their choice to be independent and make their own decisionscannot be tolerated by men;neither overtly nor covertly. They enjoy the power they have over women, financially and socially and cannot stand the equation being disturbed.
To meet this end, they resort to any means, rational or irrational, legitimate or illegitimate, blackmail, coercion or even murder.
The solution to these problems lies as deep as the problem itself: the societal conditioning that women are meant to be tamed has to change.
Women should be as free as men in whichever field they choose; they shoudn’t have to command respect.They should be respected by men and not be seen as sexual objects or a creature that should be controlled.
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