I had planned to start this write up differently but before starting to type, I took off all the bangles in my wrist leaving one in each hand. Ironic, isn’t it? A girl during a visit to her in-laws (for Holi) decides to sit and write something to mark Women’s Day and takes off the bangles hindering her typing speed; leaving one in each hand for the sake of sanskaar. Now, this tells so much about the situation I live in. It highlights the positive sides:
A. How my in-laws are super supportive of my career and lifestyle choices (I can write an entire book about it). The mere fact that I am writing this article sitting comfortably in my room (while my Mum-in-Law is busy finishing household chores) on my brother-in-law’s laptop – says it all. Yes, I am blessed.
B. I am definitely in a happy place otherwise as a writer it becomes difficult to function if you are not at peace. And I am writing this piece, hence proved!
And, it pisses me off because:
A. My husband does not even bother to wear our engagement ring while I have to don a plethora of so-called suhaag ki nishaniyan!
B. My husband does not have a dress code for sasural while I do. (Imagine travelling in Rajdhani wearing a saree in the Side Upper berth -b4/64) – Read with rolling eyes! Gender Equality, You listening?
Anyway, this is something microscopic as the flag bearers of important societal issues may say. Let us talk about big things – major issues – phrases like: equal pay, gender equality, women education, women security and what not! We make vlogs, videos, advertisements, films, documentaries, pamphlets, brochures, hoardings; and write features, stories, even books on this issue. And rightly so. I think these campaigns, whatever the medium be, have definitely impacted the mindset of the society. The question today is, has ‘women’s day’ become a mere commercial event en-cashed to generate TRP, readership and hits? Or do we really care? What ground-level changes have we brought? I am not talking about literacy rate or female voting percentage. Of course, since independence, we have come a long way. But, independence happened almost 70 years ago. When I pick up the newspaper to find out about yet another brutal case of rape in a new city every day, I ask myself – where are we going? A 5-year-old or a 55-year-old, no woman is safe in this country. We need to revise our methods and upgrade our pedagogy.
I think the digital medium, as young it may be, has played a significant role in spreading awareness and creating platforms where stories that matter are shared, talked about and analysed. When did we ever come across a photo story that talks about complexion bias in a ‘brown country’? When did we read about lesbian women and bisexual people before? When did we as readers, as part of the community, ever have a platform like YKA to speak what we feel like? These are modern and advanced forums, which must definitely help better the situation. With the government’s Digital India scheme, the Jio revolution and the potential of going viral – scope of this medium is a new ray of hope.
I have said this before (in my books, blogs, interviews – everywhere), and I will say this again. The only thing that can cure the problem of women security and gender bias is the overall cleansing of the mentalities of people. They need moral education, civic sense and a broader mind. I had written the poem below for my first book, 4 years back and it makes me sad that it is still relevant.
“Another 5 year old raped by neighbour”
“Rape victim dies of tremor”
These are regular headlines
Biggest shame of today’s time
A tight slap on the face of our nation
Where women are regarded with devotion
India, The country of Goddesses
Is in a pathetic mess
Cases of rape and sexual assault, domestic violence and brutal acts
Are no more NEWS, but everyday facts
Followed by revolts and protests
But is this the solution? Let me assess
No is the answer according to me
Being a girl I personally feel
The anger, the revolts and the fight
Are to an extent, well justified
To bring about an ACTUAL CHANGE
Every man must be trained
With moral values and education
Of treating women as Homo sapiens
Pieces of glass and iron rods, are inserted her body!
Is this where we are going? Shouldn’t this be dealt with priority?
Nieher the government, nor the police – no one can stop this calamity
Until and unless, we as citizens take charge and check our morality
The law and other authorities can take action to punish
It is us with whose efforts this disgrace can completely vanish
The ongoing scenario is no more a political issue
It is completely societal, about what the society can do
Neither the rapists nor the officials are outsiders or aliens
These people are also a part of our society, few out of the millions
Moral up gradation is the call of time, to save our society
It is time for us to act; mankind is in a state of pity
He has to wake up, he has forgotten, that he is not meant
To do what he is doing, from other animals, he is different
He is a father who cares unconditionally to protect his innocent daughter
He is a brother, an iron man, a support to his sister
He is a husband who loves his wife and is a provider
Of trust, comfort, respect and care
He is not a predator!!
Moral up-gradation is the call of time, to save our society
It is time for us to act; mankind is in a state of pity…
Mankind is in a state of pity!!
This #WomensDay I pray to God that things start changing – on the smaller and the bigger front. No issue is too petty to be bothersome or too huge to be resolved. From lifestyle choices to right to a dignified life – everything matters. She deserves a fair chance. Let her be. Love her, support her, educate her, respect her, worship her, rely on her – just let her be.