November 30th, 2016
Basanti is almost 50 years old and still committed to constantly learning new skills and gaining as much experience as possible. This beautiful woman is incredibly determined to continue her education through training and workshops, proving her dedication and strong willed nature.
After the death of her husband in 1983, Basanti took care of her children on her own. Once they were married and started their own families, she was alone. Unwilling to be financially dependent, Basanti looked for work doing what she loved – caring for children.
In 2002, she began working for at the house of an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) officer and looking after his four children. She cared for these children like her own, especially the two younger children. She was almost like their mother.
In 2009, the officer suddenly stopped paying her salary. While this was a problem, since she was living with the family for seven years, she still had a place to live and food to eat. Unfortunately, though, the officer began to use this lack of payment to force her into a life of misery. The man began to sexually assault her, demanding that she have sexual relations with him. While she attempted to stop him, he was a very powerful man. Sometimes he even drugged her to have his way.
Every time she tried to leave, he apologised for his behaviour and brought the children in. Unable to see them cry, she always relented. One day in early 2011, she overheard a conversation between the officer and another man, where the officer spoke about wanting to hurt and damage her. The cook also overheard the conversation and recorded it. When Basanti confronted him about the conversation, though, he again told her not to leave, blaming his behaviour on alcohol.
On 29th of April, disaster struck. Basanti was on her morning walk when an unknown man and the officer’s personal driver threw some liquid on her and zoomed past on a bike. Even before she could recover from the shock of the incident, she felt her skin burning, with the acid going down her chin, chest, and thighs. She was rushed immediately to the hospital.
During her three day stay at the hospital, the officer threatened her with further violence, and left behind a guard to ensure she did not speak about the incident or the officer to anyone. She was also forcibly taken back home from the hospital.
A year later, she worked up the courage and decided to leave the house. The officer gave her a cheque of Rs 50 lakh to stop her from going to the authorities. But she was unable to cash it since it was in his name. She also couldn’t contact him as he’d changed his number, cut all contact, and threatened to hurt her if she tried to meet him again.
In June 2012, she reopened the case against him. The police refused to cooperate with her and demanded bribes. Eventually, after a long battle, the IAS officer and his driver were found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm to Basanti. They were also found guilty of forging court documents. For all her trauma, Basanti was given just Rs 3 Lakh from the government.
After all these years, Basanti’s scar are still painful and often sting. Despite all these hardships, she has not given up on her dream to be financially independent. She wants to have opportunities to learn, and gain experience in different fields. This dedicated and determined woman is willing to commit herself as much as possible to achieve her dream of independence.
Make Love Not Scars in association with The Logical Indian, Meer Foundation, Humans Of Bombay and Hyper has launched a campaign #SkillsNotScars to provide jobs to acid attack survivors. You can help Basanti and many like her to get a job, by visiting the website here: http://makelovenotscars.org/skills/
Think Basanti is the right fit for your organisation? Click the link above to get all her information and initiate hiring.