Monday, March 8, 2010

Happy (?) International Women's Day...

It’s International Women’s Day today and there are all big talks about Women Empowerment and Men-Women Equality. Women are given a lot of rights which make them feel powerful enough that they feel they are rubbing shoulders with men. I don’t want to speak much about the scenario of women around the globe. I would like to talk about the condition in my still-a-male-dominated-country, India.

In India, women have been given a lot of liberty. They are granted the right to vote. They have reservations in the parliament. They also have reservations in the local buses in most of the cities. In fact, I would say this is too much of a liberty because men are not allowed to occupy the seats reserved for women whereas women can happily sit on those not reserved for them. How unfair! Most men would agree with me here.

Now let’s flip the coin and see its other side. Before going to the extreme conditions, let’s consider a normal urban family with a daughter. As soon as the daughter starts growing up, parents start bothering about her wedding. In many societies, the education of the girl is also decided keeping in mind her marriage. Like, such a profession is chosen which doesn’t require the girl to dedicate most of her day for her work.

Walk on the roads of any city and you might not even notice what men are wearing, what they are doing. It’s not an abnormal sight to see boys wearing shorts or smoking on the roads. But if a girl is seen smoking or wearing shorts, no eye is going to ignore it. Oh yeah, only women have bodies and smoking is injurious only to women!

There are areas in every city which are not-so-female-friendly after sunset/before sunrise. It is risky for women to even pass through such places probably because a lot of men keep hovering around there. I wonder if any city has a not-so-male-friendly area. Eve-teasing, rapes and murders, blackmailing for sex- I do not even need to discuss these. It’s just so easy to blot a girl’s character whereas barely anybody bothers about the characters of men. Why is only the female’s life a hell when she gets pregnant without getting married? Isn’t a man also involved in making her pregnant?? Why doesn’t the society torture him as much as it tortures the female???

When it is said that a daughter is equivalent to a son, why isn’t a daughter allowed to cremate her parents? If there is no son in the family, then either the son-in-law or a nephew would cremate the parents but a daughter doesn’t have the right to even attend the funeral of her parents.

There are so many villages in the country where female foeticide is still prevalent. And as an initiative to stop female foeticide, when government started paying the parents for delivering baby girls in hospitals, they resorted to the already existent female infanticide. Imagine a new born baby being fed crushed pieces of glass instead of mother’s milk, drowned into a bucket of milk, thrown into a well/river, buried alive in the ground, fed poison, stabbed, cut into pieces and thrown in a dust-bin just because she is a female. It gives me goose-bumps and night-mares.

Killing for dowry, burning a newly-wed who came to her husband’s house with so many dreams to fulfill, harassing her parents to send more money every now and then, blaming her for delivering a baby-girl although it’s the father who actually determines the sex of the child- it still happens in many parts of the country.

Most of the girls aren’t sent to schools in villages despite all the awareness spread about female education. They are made to learn all the house-hold chores instead. At the age of 12-13, these girls are married to men who are about 10 years older than them. And then starts another set of problems like miscarriages, health issues, and young deaths due to horrible diseases. Is it even possible for a girl of 14 years to deliver a baby? What does she even understand? She is a child herself, for Heaven’s sakes.

Is this fair for the females now? But still they carry on their lives, even without complaining in many cases.

A woman is one of the most beautiful creations of God. You can feel her innocence in the form of a daughter. You can feel her care in the form of a sister. You can feel her warmth in the form of a friend. You can feel her passion in the form of a beloved. You can feel her dedication in the form of a wife. You can feel her divinity in the form of a mother. You can feel her blessings in the form of a grandma. Her heart is so tender, yet so strong. She is a Woman!! She deserves love and respect. She deserves the right to live and feel safe.

[Thanking Vipul for sketching the Amazing picture that could capture the essence of this blog-post]

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