India experienced a significant absence of human rights that doesn’t separate communities by race, colour, caste, sex, language, political choices or any other social norms until 1947 that marked the end of British Era. While the struggle has been real for the entire society, there was a more intense effort that had to go into the liberation of women. Before we attained independence, both men and women fought for our rights and some brought about a change in the situation of women in our country. This led to a rise in feminist movements.
One of the early abhorrent Indian practices was Sati, a ritual that forced widows to sacrifice themselves at the funeral pyre of their husbands. Raja Ram Mohan Roy fought to abolish this system and created Brahmo Samaj that sought to break the shackles of the caste system and fight against Sati. He also advocated for property rights for women and fought the tradition of child marriage.
As we know, Savitribai Phule is often called the mother of Indian feminism. She was a formidable activist, educationalist and a great feminist. She has done a lot for women’s education in India, including constructing the first school for women. Along with her husband she dedicated herself to the cause of women empowerment. As a social activist she worked not only for gender-related issues but also against caste discrimination. Her work in the field of women’s education paved the way for generations of women to seek knowledge and economic independence that teaching brings.
Although it originated in the west, feminism has been manifested by the whole world. Nowadays, the idea or the outlook of this topic becomes quite different as the feminists give more attention to arguing with other so-called feminists. More important aspects like women’s education, health care, rape culture, domestic violence and many other issues are overlooked. In my opinion, feminism is not only equality in social, economic and political issues but also equality among all the women. A feminist must have faith and respect for all other feminists.
To be continued…