[This is a guest post by Chandni Ghatak]
Dear Justice Ginsburg,
I read earlier today that as per Jewish belief, a person who dies on Rosh Hashanah which starts today is considered a ‘Tzaddik’ – a person of great righteousness. That no longer remains a mythical belief today.
Ruth Bader Ginsburg. To many, you have immortalized what it means to be a trailblazer. With your powerful dissents, your own glorious career which has shaped much of the jurisprudence surrounding gender-discrimination world over, you have undoubtedly built a legacy which shall remain unmatched.
To myself and women everywhere, you have symbolized what it means to be fearless. You have through your own life struggles showed us that with sheer grit and determination, the sky is truly the limit and gender can be a hurdle only if we allow it to be. The reason I think you were able to make a difference in this fight for gender equality is because you did not view your gender as an impediment to begin with. You taught women to feel a little less burdened by their gender – you instead taught us to embrace it and use our voice, our unique female voice to convince those who needed convincing of the egalitarian world you envisaged.
While there can never be a dearth of accounts which regale your laurels in the court room and your time on the bench of the US Supreme Court, I hope there never also is a day when people forget the human being that you were.
You never led an easy life, with your biggest role model – your mother gone by the age of 17, you gathered the strength to carry on and embark on a journey that would serve as a story of inspiration for years to come. You demonstrated courage in the face of utmost humiliation when you were continuously subjected to various episodes of sexism at your time in law school. Yet, you carried on. You showed us that you can fall in love, marry, and have children and yet not lose yourself in the process. You built a lifelong partnership with your husband Marty and in doing so you perhaps unknowingly showed women everywhere that marriage need not curtail a woman from doing the work she wished to pursue.
In many ways, you have set the tone for what it means to be an equal in a man’s world. You remained unapologetically honest and fair, even when it meant disagreeing with your esteemed colleagues on the Bench. Yet through all that toughness, you proved to be a loyal friend of one of your toughest critics on that same Bench. I hope through your tireless efforts as a lawyer and judge who spearheaded the gender justice movement, you have never once doubted the role model you are to people and legal systems everywhere. In times when your health failed you, you continued to respond to your call of duty which was to serve the Apex Court. This you did till the very end which testifies to your indomitable spirit.
In a time when the world is struggling to cope, when political systems are reeking of autocracy and chaos, when women are continued to be oppressed and witch hunts are abound, you managed to create waves and ignite a spark in the minds of younger generation to overcome all this and more. I sincerely hope this revolution goes on and does not end with you.
You once famously remarked – “I would like to be remembered as someone who used whatever talent she had to do her work to the very best of her ability.” I want you to know you will be remembered for so much more.
Editor’s Comment – This post is in honour of Hon’ble Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who passed away earlier today, due to metastatic pancreatic cancer . Justice Ginsburg was a prominent feminist and a liberal judge. She was also the oldest Justice on the US Supreme Court and the second woman to ever adorn the Bench. Her fight for gender justice and equality, both as a lawyer and a Judge are an inspiration to many.
She had once famously remarked, ‘I ask no favor for my sex; all I ask of our brethren is that they take their feet off our necks.’
Know more about this superwoman Judge by watching the following movies/documentaries: