A Note on Women's Day
“It is the same game. But at every level, women have extra hurdles to cross! ”
It is always safe for women to be accompanied by men, especially when they are out late at night or when they go to unfamiliar places. I personally know many of my friends, guys, who insist on girls dressing up modestly and who make sure that we reach home safe at night. Irony #1 is that, men protect women from men themselves!
Irony#2 Today, when newspapers scream loudly about the glory of international women’s day, at the corner of the very same paper, the whispers about the 3-year-old child kidnapped, raped and abandoned go unheard. Yes, the convict has been caught. Many convicts are being caught, many aren’t. We wait for rapes to happen & then get hold of the convicts. But nothing is being done to prevent rapes, create awareness and encourage mutual co-existence.
I don’t have anything against men. I am a human being who flinches when pain is inflicted on me, someone who fights till the end, when I am coerced into something I am not willing to do. I am a part of a society where rapes are committed by the so-called-protectors and instead of punishing the convict, the victim is harassed, mocked and made to live with the shadows of her past!
There are plenty of single parents these days. They educate their children without the spouse’s support, send them to school, go for work, pick up the kids, take them for piano/music/games lessons, tuition, get back, cook food, the same routine. If the single parent happens to be the woman, she gets an extra ordeal here.
A widow or a divorcee woman, is considered to be the easiest bait because according to our society, she will be loose, available and open to arrangements. She will have to endure, ‘shall I come over tonight’ , ‘you don’t look like you have two kids’ and a filthy look, ‘I feel pity for you’ and a hand on her shoulder. The only reason she clings on to her dear life after enduring all these insults is for her children. It is the same game. But at every level, women have extra hurdles to cross!
I am a simple Indian woman who has always been proud of our myriad cultures and traditions. I have grown up listening to the tales of Lord Vishnu and his consort Goddess Lakshmi, of the divine love between Krishna and the Gopis, of the equality between the two genders in the Ardhanareeshwara – Lord Shiva and his consort Goddess Shakti. While Vishnu incarnated to kill Hiranyakashipu (the demon), Durga was the one to slay Mahishasura. They all taught me that women are as powerful as men.
We have the story of Savitri (Savitri and Satyavan) who went up to Yamaloka (the abode of the god of death) to bring her husband back to life, of Sati who immolated herself unable to bear the way her father insulted her husband, of Kannagi, whose wrath burnt the whole of Madurai because her husband was punished for no fault of his.
These Goddesses are depicted wearing scanty clothes, they are worshiped for their boldness, applauded for standing up for themselves and justified for their wrath. While, we women are considered arrogant and hot headed if we stand up for ourselves. We are sluts if we wear short dresses and impudent if we are outspoken.
We need to dress as per the Indian culture, they say. They need to take a close look at the sculptures in our temples and reconsider their statements, I’d say.
While I grew up believing in these stories that came alive in the holy land of Bharat, I aspired to become a woman strong enough to fight injustice, smart enough to be a guiding light, one with immense power controlled by humility and someone to whom all would look up to. But once I faced the reality of Bharat today, the stories just seemed to be figments of somebody’s imagination. Because, today I fear to walk the streets of Bharat. A few kilometers across the crowded streets of the so called ‘God’s own country’, could make a woman relate at least two instances where she had to avert her eyes in shame – it might be a comment, or just a gaze.
I still believe in the power of Savitri, Kannagi, Durga and those thereafter. But I want every woman to believe in this. To have faith in themselves. I want every woman toiling in the kitchens and backyards to know that their life isn’t really restricted to those four walls. I want every woman who are considered inferior and looked down upon like objects of sexual pleasure to know that being able to endure all the pains itself means that they are the stronger ones. I want all the single woman to know that, they are the power they need. I want the women abandoned by their husbands to know that, they are better off without a man who cannot stick to his decision. And finally, I want every woman who has a loving man in life to know what HE is worth. For, all aren’t blessed with the good fortune. 🙂