The auditorium in the women's college was over crowded with many students standing on the aisles on both sides. They were listening with rapt attention as the guest speaker Mr.Gangaram mesmerized the audience with his powerful and persuasive speech on the imperative need for quick empowerment of women. Known for his pro women stand, the young audience hung on to his words as he thundered that women comprising more than half the population were still a deprived lot, backward in political, economic and social spheres. Illiteracy,poor health, female feticide and discrimination haunted them like a shadow. He bemoaned that even after independence of the country they were subject to all kinds of violence both mental and physical with no security. He pleaded for a society where they can walk freely with their heads held high equal to men in every respect. When he concluded with a warning to the governments and the society that where the women were in tears gods did not reside in such places, there was a standing ovation. The girls thronged him after the meeting for his autograph. There were shouts “Long live champion of women”,”Gangaram Zindabad”,”Hail defender of women rights” and such like.
Gangaram was a successful man of many parts. A lawyer by profession, he joined politics early in his career. Given the gift of the gab he had the knack of drawing huge crowds for his political meetings with his oratorical skill. A clever man he could impress the leaders and rose within a short time to high position in the hierarchy. He saw no virtue in sticking to one political party and seamlessly gravitated to whichever was the ruling dispensation ensuring he held power continuously. With huge wealth made over a few years by means that cannot be called entirely fair, he knew what businesses brought more money. He opened several educational institutions not forgetting women colleges, marriage halls, hospitals, destitute homes for young women and women hostels..He had several other businesses like hotels and resorts. He had earned a name over a period as a liberal, an educationist and fighter for women rights.His establishments had a preponderance of women employees.
It was 8pm by the time function ended. As he walked towards his big Merc followed by the principal, teachers and girl students praising him for his great speech, he was a happy man. When the car moved a little distance, his faithful driver turned to him and asked “home?”
“No, it is too early. I am in a good mood now. Take me to the destitute home for women. I haven’t visited it for more than a fortnight. I wish to see whether things are all right there and spend some time with inmates to ask whether they had any specific needs.”
As the big car entered the compound of the home in the outskirts of the city, the hapless young women who were chatting happily in the long porch stood up in fear wondering who could be the victim for that night to the lust of their benefactor.