Fearless “Nirbhaya” Nadia
Fearless Nadia was born on 8th January 1908.
She was the first “Nirbhaya” woman of the Indian screen. Nirbhaya (hindi) translated to English means fearless and is the symbolic name given to the Delhi gang rape victim by The Times of India. Like the Jessica Lal case, the Nirbhaya tragedy has galvanized the politically marginalized citizens of Bharat to forge another unified platform.
The two events, separated by more than a century, are connected by a social umbilical cord; that of emancipation of women after ages of being subjugated. The bearer of the screen name Nadia was born as Mary Ann Evans in Perth. With a Scottish army officer as father, she migrated to India and learnt riding and hunting while staying in Peshawar. Later she developed her skills in acrobatics and stunt work while working for Zarko Circus.
Her big break came in 1935 with the film “Hunterwali” (Lady with a whip) where she proved better than her male counterparts in doing action scenes. She swung from chandeliers, jumped off cliff tops, fought atop speeding trains and rode a horse like the wind.
Thus was born a legend who could be a coy and demure blue-eyed angel or a masked crusader fighting for the powerless making evil-doers quake in their pants.
She was a feminist in a conservative time, when this word was not tossed around to secure media footage. She equipped herself to deal with altered states of men’s morality. She paved the way forward with courage and gumption, personifying guts and glory.
With the surging crime wave against women by ethically impotent men, Fearless Nadia is a role model demanding immediate resuscitation. She showed women they could equal men in brute strength, which remains the last bastion of bullies. She was a woman in command and control of her destiny.
Today is her 16th death anniversary. If Nadia could call long distance today, she would probably have one message for the women of India; be fearless, independent and spirited. Never cower before the hollow rantings of anachronistic men.
And seriously, when the occasion demands, do lay a free kick in their balls with the high boots to knock their socks off.