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Two Decades And Hundreds Of Cases Later, My Voice Defends The Voiceless, Says Lawyer-Activist Abha Singh

  • IWB Post
  •  May 13, 2019

“I was born in a traditional Rajput family during a time when the rules about gender were simple. My brother would be pampered with all the delicacies by my grandmother & I wasn’t given half of it, because I was a girl. I grew up watching the women at home not allowed to eat until the men had eaten,” shared lawyer-activist Abha Singh, who was one of the main people involved behind the verdict that the court gave in Salman Khan’s 2002 hit-and-run case.

Despite coming from a traditional Rajput family, Abha was inspired to do something about the various issues plaguing the country. Recognised as someone fervently involved in upholding women’s rights, Abha has done considerable work in the realm of gender equality and justice.

“My dad was a police officer–every day he’d tell me about women being burnt for dowry, being tortured & harassed. All of it impacted me & I wanted to do something about it. I wanted to help those women find a voice, but how could I? My parents tried to support me, but they too succumbed to society’s pressure. I was married off at 21. I didn’t retaliate because I was being married to someone who’s ideologies matched mine. I remember when my mom asked him what he’d like for dowry, he politely declined.”

“I was born in a traditional Rajput family during a time when the rules about gender were simple. My brother would be pampered with all the delicacies by my grandmother & I wasn’t given half of it, because I was a girl. I grew up watching the women at home not allowed to eat until the men had eaten. My dad was a police officer-everyday he’d tell me about women being burnt for dowry, being tortured & harassed. All of it impacted me & I wanted to do something about it. I wanted to help those women find a voice, but how could I? My parents tried to support me, but they too succumbed to society’s pressure. I was married off at 21. I didn’t retaliate because I was being married to someone who’s ideologies matched mine. I remember when my mom asked him what he’d like for dowry, he politely declined. After marriage Yogesh encouraged me to work-he never asked me to just take care of the house. At the time, he was working with the CBI-he was fearless. He took up cases against huge corporations, because of which he was wrongfully kicked out. But that didn’t stop him-he represented himself in court. He wanted to prove he did nothing wrong & he won the case! That inspired me to become someone who brought about change. It ignited that old fire within me & this time I wasn’t going to let anyone stop me. I was inspired by him so much that at 35, I studied law. I juggled law school & family-so often my kids & I’d study together! My first case was fighting against Salman Khan’s hit & run case. It wasn’t easy, I received so many threats, but I knew I had to fight for justice. It wasn’t a case of negligence-it was homicide. I was one woman against an army of supporters, but that didn’t deter me. I may not have won that case, but it was enough to stir up a wave of awareness. Ever since, I’ve been working on cases where women have been subjected to torture & abuse. I’m determined to make the law a medium to protect women, through which they feel safe. I don’t want anyone else to grow up the way I did-feeling like I wasn’t good enough because I was a girl & I didn’t have a voice. But the tables have turned now; 2 decades & hundreds of cases later-my voice defends the voiceless.”

35.2k Likes, 407 Comments – Humans of Bombay (@officialhumansofbombay) on Instagram: “”I was born in a traditional Rajput family during a time when the rules about gender were simple….”

However, Abha’s life changed after she got married to Y P Singh, who was a 1985 batch officer of the Indian Police Service and now a lawyer, as he encouraged her to work and “never asked her to just take care of the house.”

“At the time, he was working with the CBI–he was fearless. He took up cases against huge corporations, because of which he was wrongfully kicked out. But that didn’t stop him–he represented himself in court. He wanted to prove he did nothing wrong & he won the case! That inspired me to become someone who brought about change. It ignited that old fire within me & this time I wasn’t going to let anyone stop me. I was inspired by him so much that at 35, I studied law. I juggled law school & family–so often my kids & I’d study together!” she shares.

“My first case was fighting against Salman Khan’s hit & run case. It wasn’t easy, I received so many threats, but I knew I had to fight for justice. It wasn’t a case of negligence–it was homicide. I was one woman against an army of supporters, but that didn’t deter me. I may not have won that case, but it was enough to stir up a wave of awareness.”

Ever since, Abha has been working on cases where women have been subjected to torture & abuse. “I’m determined to make the law a medium to protect women, through which they feel safe. I don’t want anyone else to grow up the way I did–feeling like I wasn’t good enough because I was a girl & I didn’t have a voice. But the tables have turned now; 2 decades & hundreds of cases later–my voice defends the voiceless.”

Through her NGO RannSamar, Abha offers free legal assistance advocacy to helpless women and slum dwellers who have been unfairly persecuted by local authorities and builders for land that is rightfully theirs. We salute this wonder woman who stands as an inspiring example of the fact that it’s never too late to do something that one feels for.

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