New Delhi: The death of
a 23-year-old Delhi woman who had been savagely raped and tortured
cast a long shadow over New Year's Eve celebrations not just in
the national capital but across India with subdued introspection
taking over wild parties in many places.
There were those who partied of course, in homes and in pubs, but
the celebrations were muted. And at the stroke of the midnight
hour, there were not so many crackers heard.
Many of the party-goers were elsewhere - gathering in places like
Munirka and Saket in New Delhi or Park Street in Kolkata to
remember the young physiotherapy who lost the battle for life in a
Singapore hospital Dec 29, 13 days after she was raped in New
It was time to "reclaim the night", said some women who had
collected in the national capital's Munirka area, from where the
woman and her friend had boarded the bus the night of Dec 16 on
their way back from a movie.
"Yes, we will celebrate New Year. But we also mourn for her, and
what she had to go through," said a young woman in Kolkata's Park
There were those who partied of course, ringing in the New Year
with their friends and family. In the many Gurgaon condominiums,
for instance, some took the decision to not light up the buildings
as is customary and others continued with the parties. But
everywhere, discussions on the young woman, unnamed and
unidentified, could be heard.
While many homes decided not to light up their houses, several
clubs, like Delhi's Gymkhana Club and Press Club of India,
cancelled their celebrations. Punjabi rapper Honey Singh's show in
a hotel in Gurgaon, adjoining the national capital, was called off
too as an people protested the sexist and misogynistic lyrics of
There were no New Year parties for the armed forces and for
President Pranab Mukherjee as well as Congress president Sonia
Gandhi who had decided not to celebrate the day in memory of the
Like them, Andhra Pradesh Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan and Chief
Minister N. Kiran Kumar Reddy were staying away from New Year
celebrations and also announced that they would not receive any
New Year greetings in person.
"The usual exchange of greetings with members of the civil society
has been cancelled at Raj Bhavan as homage to the death of the
23-year-old whose life was cut short by a heinous incident at
Delhi," a statement from the Raj Bhavan in Hyderabad said.
Similar announcements came in from Telugu Desam Party (TDP) chief
N. Chandrababu Naidu and union Tourism Minister K. Chiranjeevi,
who participated in a candle light vigil in Hyderabad Monday
Bollywood personalities echoed the sombre mood.
A source close to the Bachchans said: "There's absolutely no
appetite for celebration in the Bachchan parivar. Both Amitji and
Jayaji are extremely upset by what has happened in Delhi. All
plans in the Bachchan family for the New Year have been
Other topnotch celebrities , like the Kapoors--Rishi, Neetu and
Ranbir --and the Roshans , too called off their plans in the light
of the tragedy.
Shabana Azmi, who had planned a New Years eve party at her
farm-house in Lonavala with her husband Javed Akhtar, said
emphatically: "We are doing NOTHING to celebrate the New Year out
of respect for the braveheart who lost her life life on Saturday
after putting up a valiant fight that brought the people of our
country together as one nation demanding safety for India's