The night of 15th May 2008 will haunt the nation forever. 14-year-old Aarushi Talwar was found dead at her residence in Noida and the verdict announced her own parents as guilty. The incident was just more than a murder and the media left no stone unturned to sensationalize it.
There were stories about her character, about her parents and about her affair with her servant whose body was found on the terrace two days later. It all did not seem to end and when the CBI took charge of the case, they announced her own parents as guilty of the double murder and hiding the evidence. A judgment that divided the entire country and destroyed the Talwar family forever.
However, the verdict from Allahabad HC says a different story now. Rajesh Talwar and Nupur Talwar have been acquitted by the court and their appeal to question the CBI Special Court judgment has been allowed. This could be a major step towards justice but what about all the years that they lost, what about their daughter that’s gone and her killer is still out there.
I write this as Aarushi’s best friend, as her classmate, as a student of the school she went to, as a girl who was in her dance class, as a girl who lived in Noida with her, and simply as a 14-year-old of that time.
Aarushi had come to my house a day before her death. Excited, jumping, bubbly, but she had a bad cold. We were working on a school project together. She was extremely excited about the weekend, and her birthday party. She was going to have a sleepover. I spoke to her on the phone the evening before the fateful night. Everything seemed normal.
The next morning, on 16th May, Aarushi was no more.
I had just turned 14 then, a sheltered adolescent, and now, I am 21, away at college, living by myself in a different city. From then to now, these have been some of my feelings, thoughts and opinions – having seen up close the role of the media, the police, the CBI and the law.
The night of the murder has been almost written, rewritten, twisted and confused so much that eventually you just believe one version for the sake of convenience. But how were the stories written without a shred of evidence and without questioning logic or legitimacy?
There was never any compulsion for me to believe in the culpability of the Talwars or in their innocence. They were not my relatives, not even family friends. Aarushi, though, was my best friend, my class mate, my dance class partner – I had known her from the age of five, she was the first friend I had made in school. But I believed in their innocence because I knew what I knew.
But I also know that murders are not solved by one’s belief – you need hard evidence, you need proof, but that didn’t seem to be the case here.
I remember staring at the screens, and hearing screaming headlines about the adulterous affair between Aarushi and Hemraj, the wife swapping theories, the loose morals of the parents, and wondering if I was having a bad dream. All this was absolutely untrue and ridiculous. It was so surreal and absurd. There was, of course, no proof or evidence to any of this, still none to this date. But no one cared, they flashed those headlines the next morning after my 14 year old classmate was murdered regardless.
I have often wondered about this over the years. Would my life, how I carried myself, my hobbies, my friends, also be analyzed the same way? Would my family life also have been scrutinized like that? Would my diary, too, have been read and misunderstood, would my texts and emails have been misconstrued, would a fight with my parents over something petty have been seen as a possible motive for murder? How difficult then, would my parents’ fight for justice have been? It’s terrifying to think of it.
If and when the innocence of the Talwars gets proven, what we did to them as a country, as a society will also be out. We ruined them. The Talwars lost their reason to live – Aarushi – but we as a people killed them, stripping them of their dignity forever.
The whole basis of the conviction is that Aarushi was having an affair with Hemraj. However, there was no evidence to this sweeping claim. The issue of understanding Aarushi, her lifestyle, her relationship with her parents is key to the context to the case. How could the police, CBI and the judiciary correctly judge anything without understanding the context of their lives?
This was a family of doctors, a liberal family. Not a rich family, but a middle-class hardworking family who had done well enough for themselves to be content.
The Talwars were very gentle and tolerant people. And Aarushi was a really happy girl. She was the simple, kind, peaceful and content one among all of us. I can vouch for this, because I was perpetually in my teenage funk, fighting with my mother, crying about boys, fighting with people at school.
Aarushi was the one who everyone wanted to be friends with; she was pretty, fun, kind, friendly, popular, smart and had a very positive and peaceful aura to her; she had really nice parents, she had it all. The theory of honour killing, which is the basis for suspecting the parents, makes absolutely no sense, and also has never had any evidence to back it with. But it’s such a strong allegation, that it makes imaginations run wild.
There are so many families whom this horrifying case has haunted; and so many children who were teenagers then, who have grown up with this sordid story. I urge those who ever had any interest in the case, to read the book and dispel their doubts, and join in, asking important questions and demanding answers.
You can read the entire blog here.
Fiza’s blog is an eye-opener of how we blindly follow what we are fed and not once do we think about how our statements can ruin someone’s life forever and who are we in the first place, to sit in the comfort of our rooms, watching television, deciding someone’s life and passing comments on their character?
It’s time we become more rational, it’s time we question the media about what they show us and the least we can do is not believe every word that is fed to us.
What do you think about Fiza’s blog and her opinion about the Talwars? Let us know in the comment section!
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