India is all set to enter its 71st year after Independence. It is pretty sure that we are going to have an extravagant event. Television channels would now be ready with the old footages of Indian freedom struggles. #HappyIndependenceDay and other sorts of catchy hashtags would surely be trending on twitter on the big day. But the main concern here is the status quo of the women in the country and the issues that the country has to certainly look into for progress in the upcoming years.
A 13 year old girl from Bareilly, Uttar Pradesh was allegedly raped a year back and she gave birth to a child. She was then married to her rapist. Village people who stepped into this issue felt as if they came out with an idea which is no less than rocket science. This is not something new and rape victims have been married off to their rapists earlier.
Woman in this country are treated as a property of the male. It is almost similar to a situation where a man breaks a vase in a shop and forced to buy it just because he broke it. This mindset is not something confined within villagers. Even the laws were incorporated with such ideas. In order to substantiate this statement, consider Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). It states “Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery, and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both. In such case the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor”. The consent of the women is least bothered here. This misogynistic attitude is commonly seen in a country of ours. One cannot keep on saying that these adultery laws are Victorian remnants. These laws should be reframed according to this generation.
There has been more posturing from the government in terms taking care of the women. In a country where 68 per cent women in rural areas cannot afford for sanitary but still the GST council levies 12% tax for sanitary napkins putting the item under the tax slab of luxury items. This shows that women are being punished for being women in our country. Menstruation is not a matter of choice and it is no luxury. Statistics on crime against women paints an alarming picture. According to NCRB data of 2015, 34, 651 rape cases were reported in the country. Rates of female foeticide are also high.
India is progressive in terms of economy but so it should in such issues mentioned in the piece. There is lot more than GDP growth and foreign exchanges. Internal issues seriously need to be focused. Crimes against women are India’s glaring shames and there is a need for a revolutionary change in our values and perspectives about women. Let’s believe that ‘ache din aane wale hain’ and remember that ‘Bharat ki vijay’ only when the women are empowered.