By Sadhogopal Ram:
Just because I don’t mourn like you,
O’ Untamed World,
You think I have no sorrow and have no grief?
Just because I am a Woman,
Hiding my tears and keeping a smile on my face;
A smile so serene, a smile so quite,
A smile so full of pain, a smile so awfully white,
A smile which is raped
Why, Just because I am a Women?
Here’s the harsh reality. A woman in our “self-centred, orthodox-ion and full of jungle laws”, which we so fondly call “society”, is like a tool. Tool of mass pleasure, of nationwide teasing, of taking the nation on top of the chart by increasing the already uncontrolled population, and if she is married, then she becomes the ultimate tool of household cleansing and a toy carved out of card-box, which then is being used by the members of the family as per their requirements.
About woman, one thinks that one can ‘make use’ of her has one wishes to. And the sad part is that, they actually are also able to do so. Therefore, several hundred thousand women trapped in our “orthodox-ion jungle” are forced to endure atrocities of several kinds, and that too, on a daily-wages like basis.
Now atrocity, as per the definition of dictionaries, is ‘the quality or state of being atrocious’ in other terms ‘an extremely cruel act or a horrid act of injustice.’
Some might say that this basically falls into the physical torture ‘category’ and to prove themselves right they will dig up stats and arguments in favour of it from long dead books and Vedas, [even though women enjoyed equal rights in the Vedic period] though I personally have serious problems with such kind of people and thus, I also possess an extreme form of hatred for these people who also like to call themselves the “follower/builder of real society.”
But that’s not the main issue what this ‘critique’ talks about. The issue here is that there’s no ‘category’ for any crime which is being executed against the women in this “orthodox-ion jungle” of ours and atrocity, too, is not just limited to the definition so profoundly provided by the man-made dictionaries. [read here about atrocities on women in Jharkhand's Dhanbad city]
Now, I will not further argue or write anything what I personally think about it, but will share a real story and let you people decide if what she is forced to endure should be termed as atrocity or just another act of some random violence defined by the books and Vedas.
Sunita is a 22 year old woman (though at this age she should basically be called a girl but as she got married about a year ago and is now on the verge of having her first child, so the ‘tag’ woman suits her best). She lives in a small village in Bihar state.
She was 12, when her mother was killed by their own blood relatives over property issues and she became the object of pity for everyone around her. And losing her mother at such small age, left her devoid of right guidance in her life, but before anything worse could happen, her late mother’s mother (maternal grandmother) came to her rescue and adopted her, because after 4 years of her mother’s death, her father, who was the Mukhiya of the village, was also killed over political issues.
The loss of both her parents made her extremely weak from inside but, she for reasons best known to her, never showed any signs of it nor did she complain about life being unfair to her. Her granny, the one who adopted her, got her enrolled at Saraswati Shishu Mandir, a school part of the school groups run by the RSS, so that she could at least have an education every girl requires for her own betterment in our society.
After she completed her board exams with relatively good results, she was forced by other members of that family to sit at home to which she now belonged, though it was done only by considering the raising rate of rape cases happening around the village and so she didn’t argue with them over the issue, but she continued to study on her own. Gaining whatever knowledge that she could get from used books, she found at the house.
4 years went by; she learned and mastered many tasks which would help her in later part of her life, tasks like – Computing, Stitching, Weaving, and Cooking, embroidering, Painting and many other such things. These things helped her keep herself busy in her rather empty life and so, she often found her lost happiness whenever she indulged herself in them.
But in these 4 years, she had also grown up, signs of girlhood were splattered all over her, and thus, proposals of marriages started coming up. She kept rejecting them one by one (a very rare phenomenon in the life of a women in our society) as she wanted more out of life, she deeply wanted to study in college for higher education but this was not in her hands.
After almost rejecting dozens of marriage proposals for several reasons, she finally agreed to the one which came in the year 2008. The guy was very rich businessmen and was good looking too. She liked him at first sight itself and so decided to break her chain of rejection. The family too, was glad that finally their girl has agreed to settle down and now will have her own family.
After about a week, she got engaged and after a year, in the end of 2009 she got married to Amit. And just like it was supposed to seem, everything indeed seemed perfect at the start. She was showered with all kinds of gifts and was fed her favourite dishes. But, but… the term ‘perfectness’ actually is a myth, and this she found out when she lost her Granny, who passed away peacefully, a month after. Now when she was once again an orphan, with basically on one to ask for her from her maternal-side of the family, Sunita’s mother-in-law started showing her true colours.
But Sunita, at first, did not think otherwise, as she was previously taught by her granny that, after a girl gets married she has to listen to what her mother-in-law says. But when she realised that her keeping silent over no fault of hers will eventually lead to bigger problems, she, being an outspoken girl, started voicing out her displeasures.
Now the main thing:
As of today, she is in her 7 month of pregnancy and her health has also fallen down due to continuous household work that she has to do in absence of a maid, which her mother-in-law refuses to keep. Her part of argument is that –
“If I’ve to hire a maid to do my household work then why did I marry my son to this girl?”
Last I heard about Sunita’s condition, she is burning with fever, her legs are swollen, she has cough and her eye sight has gone extremely weak due to negligence of her current family, yet she is forced to cook for the entire family, feed them one by one in their separate rooms, clean the utensils, wash their clothes, and do other such numerable tasks.
Well, her mother-in-law won’t do it, saying –
“I’ve done enough, and if I continue to do the work, why did I marry my son to this girl?”
As a result, Sunita has gone into the saddest state of her life, not knowing what to do and how to do it, though unlike other women who face similar situations in their own lives, she keeps raising her voice but with time her courage is giving up. The atrocities (yes, there’s no other words which could define this act of treatment) have finally taken a toll over her and she, just like what other women say, says –
“It doesn’t matter now, it’s all part of my life and I’ll have to live with it.”
I, therefore, would not say anything on this issue. You all are the best judge, after all YOU have built this “Jungle” where insensitive animals dwell, and so YOU only will make it a place where, though still animals, but at least the sensible ones will dwell.
Author’s Note: Due to reasons, the names of the persons and places have been changed to keep the real identities secret. I, though, would like to know your views and ways to tackle such menace which has engulfed our “society.”
The writer is a correspondent of Youth Ki Awaaz.