My short internship program with Gender Resource Centre in New Delhi, brought a huge change in how I perceive religion and how it is detrimental to women’s rights as a human being. How brainwashed women are the carrier of patriarchy and how they pull each other, creating a vicious cycle of manipulation and gender crime. They have been committing this crime unconsciously because that is how they have been nurtured all along.
I have been raised by a strong mother and an equally proud father who do not shy away to call himself a strong feminist, but the society that I come from, and the extended family that I belong to has been orthodox and regressive. They have imparted lessons on how a woman needs to be everything but independent and educated. I wouldn’t have been at this place today, if it was not for my mother’s one single dream and that was to give her children the best of education available. So, I have been fortunate and blessed that way, but it is not the case in general where thousands of dreams are crushed everyday.
When it is about Muslim women, first thing that you observe people talking about is her hijab, her modesty, her character and her role towards her husband and family. This has been misinterpreted by various maulanas and maulvis and fed in the name of faith and belief to women of the community for ages, and it has been instilled with sweat and blood so much into the system that anything beyond that – looks evil and punishable to them.
In times when we should be talking about our education, our opportunities, our advances to equal rights and respectable position as women, it is sad to come across instances where front-men of religion are dictating roles for women and their bearings/conduct and believers of such misinterpretations policing women on such grounds.
No, religion is not about obedience, it is not about complying with your husband’s advances against your wish, it is not okay to take violence (verbal/emotional/physical) because you are meant to be. No woman is meant to be subjected to any kind of humiliation or disrespect. A Muslim women is beyond her modesty and how she dresses up. Like everyone else, she has her dreams, ambition, future and a life that she wish to shape herself.
We know it is about patriarchy, it is about creating a power plot where one can suppress another, because power thrives on misery of another. And it is our responsibility to educate and create awareness on how to kill these power plots against development, against equality – which is again only possible by education. Let us all deface those power plots, vandalize self-interests and revolt. Revolt against a feeble voice that occurs in our mind which if not killed, kills our dreams and hopes. Be stubborn about what you want and how you want it – this is called taking control of your own life.
Be ruthless in chasing your dreams if that’s what it takes. While on the way, there will be countless hands dragging you down, calling names/tags and you will be tired, you will feel it is okay to give up and just be engulfed by society’s demand or submit to mediocrity – but then, remind yourselves, if not you then no one can. If not you, then the whole generation after you will give up against something you could not fight. You must be brave, you must be brave for yourself and for everyone who will one day, be inspired by your change, who will learn how resistance is lived and won with resilience and determination.
And to do this, as I always choose to say, fight for your education, let nothing stop you to read through your victory. No religion, no politics, no power plots can tell you what to dream and what roles to comply. And yes, remember, whenever something or someone feeds you patriarchy in a silver spoon, spit it, spit it right there. Do not be the carrier.
P.S. I relate to this picture so much and feel equally blessed because you see women holding their positions loud and brave in every walks of life, around the world. And I have been fortunate and determined to be holding mine.