In Jo's Blog

Three days ago, I posted here about my fight to become Moy Moy’s legal guardian. As a foreigner, I am, it appears, ineligible under Indian law, in spite of being Moy Moy’s mother and her fiercest champion.

My story was widely shared – on facebook, Twitter and the online news magazine: The Wire. Many, many people commented, forwarded and expressed their solidarity, outrage and support. You would almost think had been the wronged party.

But in fact, it isn’t me. The one who has been wronged is Moy Moy.

Blindfolded man and white-haired dancing womanYesterday, my colleague Rizwan Ali came into my office for one of his famous “two minute” conversations.

Let’s be clear. Nothing ever takes two minutes with Rizwan. He has an original approach to everything. He looks at issues from a perspective no one else has thought of and for me at least, he challenges, pushes and reminds. It never takes just two minutes to consider the questions he proposes.

That day he asked me: “Why, actually, do you want to be Moy Moy’s guardian?”

“Well,” I stuttered. “Because she might need medical care and I wouldn’t be allowed to authorize it. Or I might want to take her to America and I wouldn’t be allowed to apply for her visa.”

Isn’t that enough?

Rizwan didn’t think so.

“What about Moy Moy?” he asked. “What does she want?”

“The fact is,” he said, “It’s Moy Moy’s rights we are considering here. This is about her, not about you.”

OMG. Why did I not see that myself?

Rizwan is so correct.

Much as I appreciate it, friends, any outrage on my behalf is misdirected. I don’t ask for such rights where my other two children are concerned. They are also grownups, over the age of 18. They know what they want and what they need and I just assume they will figure out how to get it.  For Moy Moy, unfortunately, I keep getting in the way.

To such an extent, in fact, that it is soon no longer about Moy Moy but suddenly, amazingly, about ME. It’s about me being bypassed and unappreciated and deprived of my parental rights.

Pretty girl in a yellow sweaterBut it’s not. NOT. This is not about me at all. Like Rizwan said: this is about Moy Moy. The National Trust Act was written not to give parents guardianship rights but to give adults like Moy Moy the freedom to access their rights.

Put in that perspective, as a citizen of India, Moy Moy has the right to be with her family. She has the right to travel, the right to get whatever medical care she requires, the right to save money, to own property, to inherit.

Put in that perspective, the whole argument suddenly grows stronger and more persuasive. Because now it’s based on logic, common sense and the Constitution. Suddenly, the way forward is clear.

Moy Moy is a citizen of India. Her rights are protected by the Constitution and, because of her disability, further safeguarded by the National Trust Act.

Her best interests will be served by having her parents as her guardians and after them, her brother and sister.

Their nationalities are irrelevant. This is about Moy Moy. She is an Indian citizen.

Got it, Sunshine?



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