Reshma Banoo Qureshi, the 18-year-old acid attack survivor, might be happy with the Bollywood style makeover she got from Blush, a youtube channel on beauty and fashion, and even goes on to say – Aaj main Katrina Kaif se bhi sundar dikhoongi, deep down she knows society as a whole doesn’t value inner beauty the way she does. She only tears up while narrating the horrific story of the “bunch of men who pinned her down to throw acid on her face”. She’s otherwise brimming with optimism. She looks at the mirror and says – I like what has been done for me, the makeup and clothes and adds she wants to look the same for the rest of her life.
Even a minor thing like an acne or pimple on our face bothers us so much that we try every trick in the book to get it fixed. Now think about the victims of acid attacks who face the mirror everyday to find somebody else staring at them. An idenity that has been successfully distorted by a revengeful person whose sole intention behind the horrific act was to teach the victim a lesson. And the pain doesn’t end there. The way society perceives them is even worse. Forget about them being considered for a decent job, a relationship or even a simple conversation with the outside world, is not an everyday thing for them. Their friends often desert them, as one of the acid-attack survivor and activist Laxmi points out in her story that she shared with Hindustan Times.
“I learnt to live with the physical pain but what hurt more was the way the society reacted. My own relatives stopped seeing me, as did my friends. I stayed indoors for eight years and ventured out only in a ghungat.”
Reshma right now is happy with her inner beauty, craving for more beauty makeovers, but probably she’s too young to realise that there are little provisions to make her future secure. Though in a recent judgement, SC has directed all the government and private hospitals in the country to provide first aid and medical treatment to the acid-attack victims, we have a long way to go.