Seema Kushwaha was born on January 10, 1982. She is an Advocate of the Supreme Court of India, who gained popularity in the media and among the Indian public when she chose to be the lawyer and legal counsel for the victim of the 2012 Nirbhaya Delhi gang rape and murder case. All four adult convicts (Pawan Gupta, Akshay, Vinay Sharma and Mukesh Singh) were hanged at Tihar Jail on March 20, 2020, approximately 8 years after the heartbreaking and traumatising event. Here is the story of the woman who was known as the voice of Nirbhaya- Ms Seema Kushwaha.
This Blog Includes:
The Fight for Justice
It was a result of Seems Kushwaha’s hard work and perseverance that Nirbhaya’s culprits were hanged. Through this, an example was set for the entire country what the punishment for such criminal offences should be. Advocate Seema Samriddhi Kushwaha, who represented Nirbhaya’s parents against the criminals and vowed to give justice to the late young girl Nirbhaya, was right in the midst of it all. What she did will not be able to erase the tragic events that occurred with Nirbhaya, nor will it be able to get her back, but it will undoubtedly raise the morale of thousands of young Indian girls and women.
Seema Kushwaha was born in the Etawah district of Uttar Pradesh, in the small village of Ugrapur, Gram Panchayat Bidhipur Block Mahewa Tehsil Chakarnagar. Baladin Kushwaha and Ramkuanri Kushwaha are her parents. Baladin Kushwaha, her father, was the Gram Pradhan of Bidhipur Gram Panchayat. Her family already had six children, and she was the fourth daughter. As she reminisces her childhood, she recalls how in her family, girls weren’t handled or treated equally. She even mentioned in a press interview how she had to fight with her parents and family to go to school and seek education at such a young age.
The Early Life Battles and War Against Patriarchy
Seema Kushwaha was quite stubborn and determined to go to school, which was 1 km away from her village. Girls from the village even had to cross a jungle to get to the school as the roads weren’t developed at that time in the village. But somehow, 6 other girls, along with her, managed until the 8th grade. The girls in her class dropped out after that because the senior school was three kilometres away, and the villagers were against it. However, she was determined and did not give up. She wanted to seek education like other MLA kids, whose education was not halted nor was it a restriction for her brother or other boys in the village then why her.
Seema Kushwaha questioned her own father about stopping her from studying further and not his brother. Kushwaha was the first girl from her village to study beyond eighth grade, thanks to her teacher Jagdish Tripathi. Though her father was concerned for her safety and wellbeing, he quickly realised that he didn’t need to be because if a boy or a man tried to make cheap remarks about her, she would beat him black and blue. Her intolerance to patriarchy began as a result of and during her early life struggles. However, she admits that she was destined to go through all of this to one day fight the most important case of her life to bring justice to Jyoti Singh Pandey, aka Nirbhaya.
Once Seema Kushwaha got the go-ahead to study; further, nothing could stop her now to fly like a flightless bird in the sky and pursue all her dreams and aspirations, which were not big as compared to the dreams of any city girl would be. As a student, Seema took part in everything which may come in her path. She gave speeches and even got chosen as a captain for an NCC team in Lucknow. Whatever she did or milestone she crossed, everyone in her village took the free opportunity to oppose her doings, but she was focused and determined to study even more and earn a degree. She also stole money from her brother and fled to Lucknow, where she won a competition and was featured in a small article about a village girl who led her team to victory in the regional newspaper.
Seema Kushwaha’s family decided to marry her after she completeded her tenth grade, but she went on a three-day hunger strike, and the boy’s family learned about it and did not turn up. It was quite evident that from the very beginning, she was fighting small battles to mark her presence and to make out a point among the society that a girl child is not an object and must be equally treated. In 2005, she graduated from Kanpur University with a bachelor’s degree in law. In 2006, she graduated from Uttar Pradesh Rajarshi Tandon Open University with a Bachelor of Journalism. She then completed her MA in Political Science and began her legal career in 2014 at the Supreme Court of India.
Seema Kushwaha and the Nirbhaya Case
As Nirbhaya’s case became public, Seema Kushwaha, a law student at the time, took part in several demonstrations and protests calling for justice, fair trials, and investigations. In 2014, she was appointed Nirbhaya’s counsel, and she demanded the death penalty for all four adult convicts as soon as possible. Women’s lawyers typically concentrate on civil litigation involving domestic abuse and dowry assault yet, Seema Kushwaha tends to work on criminal cases. Perhaps her rural heritage has helped her in channelling her anger into the courtroom.
Seema Kushwaha began working as a legal advisor for Nirbhaya Jyoti Trust on January 24, 2014, which the victim’s parents created to help women victims find shelter and legal help. For those of you who are unaware, this was Seema Kushwaha’s first case, which she pressed for a Fast track court listing. Nonetheless, the case was postponed due to several reviews and curative motions filed by convicts, as well as the slowness of the judicial system, until eventually, on March 4, 2020, a final death warrant was released by the court, with the execution date set for March 20, 2020, at 5:30 a.m. The four adult convicts were hanged at Tihar Jail on March 20, 2020, at 5:30 a.m. IST.
Seema Kushwaha continues to fight for the voices of those in our Indian communities who are frequently ignored, following up on case delays and speaking up for the victims. She continues to make inroads into this rigid structure, inspiring and motivating others to do the same. She inspires others by demonstrating that to achieve one’s goals, one must work hard and fight for one’s rights in society.
This was a small homage to none other than Seema Kushwaha, known to be the Delhi gang-rape victim’s voice after her sad demise, Nirbhaya. For more such amazing and inspirational reads, stay tuned with Leverage Edu. You can follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.