Empower the women, develop the nation
India is a land of diverse cultures, ethnicities, beliefs, norms and ethics. Our country is well known for its policy of neutrality and peace-making and is one of the idealised countries. But perhaps we are missing out to consider the position of women in our society where they struggle from taking birth to survive, living on their own basis to getting married and giving birth to a child as per their own choice and struggle again for the rights of her female child. This is the vicious cycle which continues in our society.
But let us look at the hypocrisy our society possesses. In one place we worship female deities like Lakshmi Ma asking for her blessings and on the other hand killing the living goddesses of our own houses. Were Mother Mary and other Hindu goddesses treated in the same way as we treat females of our society? It is a harsh reality that in one place males are bending before the female goddesses to worship them and in other places, they don’t even ever think of bending before their female counterparts. It sounds bitter, right? But this is the true reality of our patriarchal society where women have to bend before men, cover themselves in a veil and have to behave in so-called “manners” to fit according to the norms of society.
While thinking one fine day this curious question popped into my mind, why “kanyas”, the unmarried women are worshipped in one part of the country and others are beaten and cruelly sold in the markets for prostitution. I could find any possible answer. It lies only with the inner conscience of the people who do such atrocities on girls.
Women are killed even before they are born. Almost everywhere women are suppressed and they are treated in a hostile manner. Be it in an underdeveloped and poor area, where women are abused and cases of domestic violence are observed or are it in corporate and developed areas, where women are not given equal pay scale or equal and deserving positions as compared to their male colleagues. The same behaviour is observed in the matters of the house where women are not given equal respect as their male counterpart or even in the political arena where repositioning held by women are considered doubtful. Who should be blamed for such a position for women in society? Is it our history that should be blamed or our own norms or the higher self-portrait of males in our society who does not want females to rise up?
Haryana is the state with the lowest sex ratio of 877 girls per thousand boys. But some women of the state have smashed the glass ceiling and have created wonders. From Sushma Swaraj to Sakshi Malik to Saina Nehwal to the Phogat sisters. We have some leading examples of females from this state. This clearly shows that though the social structure of the state is rigid and conservative for women if they are provided with opportunities, they can create miracles.
Are the examples of Rani Abbakka who fought against the Portuguese for over four decades or Rani Lakshmi Bai who fought against the vast British armies or Rani Durgavati who arrived on the battlefield to fight against the army of Asaf Khan to save her kingdom, are not sufficient enough to prove the valour and to make them receive the same position as of men in this society?
Women are not only brave but sacrificing as well. Maybe we have to rewind the history and remember Hadi Rani who beheaded herself for the sake of a kingdom. We have examples of caring women like Mother Teresa who dedicated her life to the people. Let us not forget Anandi Gopal Joshi – the first female doctor, Lata Mangeshkar – the voice of the Millennium, Sarla Thakral – the first Indian woman to fly an aircraft and there are many more examples. These are some established names but every female is a great warrior. Women are the symbol of life and the maker of unconditional love. A woman is a synthesis of softness and power.
There are many provisions in a constitution to safeguard the interests of women like Article 14 – which does not discriminate between males and females and Article 15 – which empowers the government to make special provisions for women. There are some legal actions like the Hindu Marriage Act,1955 which provides women with equal rights to divorce and remarry and Hindu Succession Act,1956 which provides the right for women to claim their parent’s property. But are these acts really successful in their execution or are they just mere legislations? The answer is clear enough.
Though child marriages are banned a large number of children are married each year on the day of Akha Teej, in the name of culture. So is this the way laws in our country are made and executed.
All these instances are sufficient enough to show that the position of women in our society is very meek and there is a need to improve it for the betterment of women and the future generations. There are loopholes in every society, culture and country but there’s a way forward to it as well this problem is not specific to our country but is there across all the countries. Surely, we are moving towards a better world where the government is empowering women and there are various NGOs which are working for women. There are Self-Help Groups which help women to establish themselves independently in economic and financial matters. Women these days are being accepted in their own way, the way they look, the way they dress and present themselves before the world rather than mending their way of life . These changes are seen in many places but a still large group of society is left untouched and there is a long way to go to bridge the gap between males and females. But we have come a long way – the better government policies, consciousness among people, acceptance of girl children and support for the upliftment of women in societies. Education is a great tool for bringing a change in society and it could be a way to make women independent and support them. Government policies like free education up to the age of 14 and mid-day meals are some practical initiatives taken for the improved position of women in society.
At the base level, the most important thing required is the revolution demands of people regarding the perspective for each female and more acceptance to do today’s realities of changing world and adopting liberal behaviour towards the females.