Women - the 'Indian' way
India has a reputation of respecting women, including treating her as a Goddess. The birth of a girl, so goes a popular Hindu saying,is akin to the arrival of Goddess Lakshmi - the harbinger of wealth. Also many would argue that in today's day and age of technology and global power, India, especially Indian women, have advanced leaps and bounds. Then why is it that the statistics and figures tell a different story? Some of the most advanced states of India, record the highest number of crimes against women. Also it is alarming to know that violence against women is on the rise, in the same country where politicians and bureaucrats claim a 'shining' India on one hand, while the women folk are still under extreme darkness. They say rapists should be severely punished but also blame the victims for wearing provocative clothes. In such hypocrisy and double standards, many a times the victim feels cheated and helpless. A recent survey done by a leading foundation, placed India among the worst place for women in the top 19 economies of the world. The survey which polled 370 gender specialists, found women in India at risk of life even before they were born, because of the nation's obsession for a male child. Dowry deaths and brutal honour killings are still common in some parts of India. The family ( mostly patriarchal) under extreme societal pressure decides to brutally murder their own daughters if she chooses to marry a boy outside her community/ caste, in the name of preserving and maintaining family's name. Yes we do have a female head of Government, and women holding challenging positions in various fields, but scratch a little deeper, and out comes the harsh truth. A recent incident which fits perfectly in this scenario, left us all shocked to say the least. In one of our states of India, where women were thought to be relatively safer compared to other states, a teenage girl, was publicly stripped, molested, and pulled by her hair by a mob of men,all this done in the full view of authorities who had the responsibility of protecting her. The incident did leave the country shocked and appropriate arrests were also made. But was it enough? Don't we need a radical shift in our psyche regarding freedom enjoyed by women. The liberty of leading one's life in their own way should not depend on the gender of the human. It is disheartening to know that such kind of 'indoctrination' of inequality starts very early on in our lives. At home, it is sometimes the mother, who submit themselves to patriarchy, just to survive in her own household. And the practice is followed on by her son, who expects the same from his wife. This cycle of patriarchy needs to break to give rise to equality.The government promises to do more but it is time, the womenfolk stood up for their beliefs and dignity. As rightly told by judge Katju " laws alone can only play 20 % of the role in empowering women in our country". 80% of the role will be played by education, by changing the mindset, the mentality of (some) men who are still to a large extent feudal-minded which means they regard women as inferior." Hope that day comes soon when equality is not only taught, but also practised by one and all.