More than seven decades of independence and my coursemate still look for permissions to step out of home — my maid has to ask her husband every year if she can get their daughter in the next grade — my colleague seeks her husband’s permission whenever she wants to wear a dress (say a little revealing clothes in his word) — and my neighbour mostly stay at home because sharif ladkiyaan zyada nahi ghumti!
15th August — whenever I think of this day — a part of me feels like trodden off!
We, women, have got accustomed to this modern feminine patriarchy so much that we seek validations — we seek acknowledgements and acceptance to our deeds — so much that we have almost forgotten that we are no less than men in society. We are creators and not just some sort of labels.
Before the urban feministas lash out on me saying how we have evolved and grown over time — and how we are leading the nation flawlessly; let’s clear that in a population of 1.3 billion people, only approximately 48% are women.
Out of 497 million women, only close to 65% of women are literate. Oh, is that pretty high?
An ActionAid UK report found that ’80 % of women in India had experienced sexual harassment ranging from unwanted comments, being groped or assaulted.’ Now that would be pretty low for you? Ain’t it?
While Wikipedia has tried its best to glorify the improved numbers of the different aspects of conditions of women in India, my question is why we are content with such numbers? Why are we satisfied with small inclinations in numbers and not really fighting for it?
Whenever I think of this, I presume that it’s us, the women, who are somehow responsible for this condition of ours. We have been conditioned to think, behave and act in a certain way for generations, and now the whole act of unlearning is taking a toll on us as well as the society.
Have you been to smaller towns and villages? Or stayed there for long periods? From prioritising their husband’s needs over their own, these women are conditioned to live like this — by giving up on their dreams and their fate. And while me or you are fighting, struggling and working hard to fulfil our desires, these women are not. Well, they cannot. Brutal but honest!
Our generation old customs have trained us to live in a particular way. We have forgotten to celebrate our small achievements and credit our success. In a country where more than half of the male population marry only to get a full time unpaid maid for his family, are we really eligible to say that we are independent? Technically yes, but practically no!
And the irony is while such men love to be ‘retrospective progressive’, these are the ones who find it hard to digest foregoing women in their family or society.
While more women are going to college, fewer are working. In fact they are performing nearly ten times the unpaid care work as men. And while I am typing this leisurely from my room, a lot of girls are slogging off somewhere in the farm, mines, pond, house etc. in the scorching heat.
And by now, I’m assuming a lot of men would already be cursing me for writing this, but it’s high time to accept this fact — that women are suppressed in our nation, brutally. And please, no need to compare it with other nations. While I genuinely support women around the world, I’m more concerned about our bhartiya naari at this point in time.
From gender pay gap to child marriage, acid attack, domestic violence, dowry, foeticide, rape and sexual harassments, trafficking, accusations of witchcraft and what not — we are facing it all, and we need a break!
The women of our country need their independence, and I don’t know how long we will have to wait or fight for it. We are yet to get that 15th August of ours which we can celebrate wholeheartedly without a pinch of dejection in the heart.
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