Features Saturday, March 21, 2015 - 05:30
The News Minute | February 16, 2015 | 02:16 pm IST "I don’t have an eyeball. Gazing at me, many people feel blessed or awful. Now I am used to these gazes which make me realise my fate again and again. So now I have started going out without covering my face, those who want to look at me are invited (to do so)", writes Ritu Saini, and acid addict survivor, in a letter addressing her attacker. Read Ritu's story here: I want to ask my attacker why he did this to me: Ritu, an acid attack survivor speaks Ritu's letter, along with letters from several other acid-attack survivors, and even volunteers, to the people who attacked or hurt them, has been compiled into a book by Stop Acid Attacks, an NGO that campaigns against acid attack violence.  Titled A Black Rose: In Protest of Love, the book was released on Valentine's Day- a symbolic day of love. ( Ritu; Image source: Acid Attack Fighter Ritu Facebook Page) It was in 2008 that Rupa's step-mother poured acid on her, snatching away from her more than just her face. Writing to her, Rupa says, "I don’t blame you, I was not your blood, even my father did not protect me, and every time I told him my problem, he told me to compromise." Read Rupa's story here: They stole her face, but her dreams are intact... Sonia, another acid-attack survivor, was scarred for life when her neighbour threw acid on her. "I was quite pretty then, I too had some dreams", she writes in her letter. She goes on to ask her attacker, "Don’t you think what you did to me was wrong? Don’t you realise because of your actions my dreams were shattered? I am living with the wounds you gave me, but they made me stronger". (Rupa; Stop Acid Attacks Facebook Page) Aarti Thakur was all set to get married when her best friend's brother doused her with acid. He said he was in love with her. "I will never let you feel that you have won. I just want to ask did you get me by doing this? A really man can accept NO with dignity. Those who can't have to think before they call themselves men. And you are not a man", she addresses her attacker in her letter. The book, which at present is available only in the digital format, also includes poems from survivors and letters from other people who were hurt in different ways. In a letter in which she addresses her chacha (uncle), Samrina Ashraf says, "I choose to write this letter to you, because there is no one in the world who has made me feel as guilty, dirty and disgusting as you have… you were my favourite chacha in the world… I will never forget what you did to me those two nights at bhaiya's (brother) wedding… You tried to make me believe I was an equal partner in the act…I shifted to another city as I don’t have the strength to tell anyone of what you did to me… I hate you chacha ji". (Stop Acid Attacks Facebook Page) Ayushi Koul, writes to her grandmother, who wanted her father to abandon her just because she was a girl. "You were out of town when I was born and without even taking a glimpse you asked my father to abandon me. Did I do anything wrong grandma? When my father took my sister and me in his arms, you announced 'they are your daughters and not sons'".  The Black Rose Campaign started by SAA is trying to spread the message of 'peaceful disagreement' instead of letting our burning anger and hatred, towards a person, drive us. A Black Rose signifies 'that you are hurt with the actions of the other. A Black Rose is to let the other know that you are suffering. And suffering does not entitle you to take revenge from the one who causes it. Our own actions and thoughts lead us to our suffering, which eventually plays an important part in our own growth as a person', says SAA.  To get a copy of the book, go to http://paltan.in/blackrose Tweet Follow @thenewsminute
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