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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Destiny's daughters

'Pitro rakshati kaumare
bhartro rakshati yauvane
putro rakshati vardhakye
na sthree swathanthram arhati'

This is probably a rough version of a quote from Manu smriti which literally means

A woman in her childhood is protected by her father, in her youth protected by her husband and in old age protected by her son and hence a woman never deserves freedom.

I am not sure what the intention of the original quote was , but this (mis)interpretation, especially the last line seems to have been the foundation stone for the ill treatment of women.

She might have come out of man's rib or might have been worshipped as Goddess, but the position of women is still very deplorable in our society. There is not even a single country in this world where women are not ill treated. Even in the greatest of the nations or the most advanced and liberal minded societies, there are so many instances where a woman is treated like dust on the road.

The role of woman is often taken for granted. How many guys even bother to realise how much of efforts their wives/mothers/sisters put in cleaning the house, cooking, managing kids, getting groceries, managing household expenses etc etc. But alas! in our male dominated society we dont have place for super woman, we only have super man to save the world.Juggling between her multiple roles in office and at home, yet carving an identity for herself, taking care of everyone in the family - after all women are born multi taskers - how easy to say that!So if your wife does not bring you morning tea as she was doing 10 other tasks , you have every right to shout at her-How ridiculous an argument.

The situation of women even after 60 years of independence is really nothing we can be proud of.I remember having a chat with one of my male friends on that domestic violence bill that Renuka Chaudary introduced. Guys were arguing that the bill had loopholes that would even trap people who are really innocent and have not indulged in domestic violence.Yes there might be women who take advantage of this kind of laws, but just how many of them.Most of the women are not even aware of their rights nor the bill or anything outside their own house. Do you think these women who suffered abuse will ever come out in open.When they dont open their ghoonghat in front of their own spouses, how will they come out.

Look at the rates of female literacy, in states like Bihar it is as low as 34%.That too literacy just means ability to read and write. What about having a mind of one's own. How about reacting to the inequalities or protesting against mental and physical abuse.Now if you think in educated modern society the gender equallity is better, things are far from good. Women who are well educated, know the rules or have finacial stability also never come out in the open against atrocities they have to suffer for fear of social stigma. In our society there are even educated men who consider their wives as ' pair ki jhooti'.I have always believed in India , education for most just remains getting degrees and getting a job; but education is supposed to be the overall development of a person and that definitely includes inculcating good values and the ability to discriminate between good and bad. But sadly so we have conveniently left the values part, so we have even engineers and doctors torturing their wives for dowry.Dowry system, like Sati -should have been abolished, but its there very much - a system which degrades a woman to a commodity in the marriage market.As they say the biggest enemy of a woman is woman herself. So we have no respite from dowry deaths in the hands of in laws or from the constant mental abuse if a girl child is born.It is taboo to get a girl child in many parts of the country still. Look at the dwindling female numbers in Punjab which has got the highest female infanticide rates.

Why a womans life is not valued at all. A woman is always supposed to adjust. Have marital problems , adjust. Have professional problems, adjust. How much of adjustment will she do in her life. Is she not an individual. Does she not have her own ideas, aspirations and beliefs. Does she not have emotions and a mind and heart.How much can she bear, isn't there a limit to her patience also.whatever goes wrong especially in a marriage the general tendency is to pin point a woman - ' Its all her fault you know.' ' He is not like that. She must have said something to provoke'. Cant a man go wrong anytime.I strongly believe adjsutment is not a one sided term, both parties should compromise something for any relationship to work out. Its unfair to expect woman to sacrifice everything after marriage and adjust to the husband's choice. She is also somebody's daughter, somebody's sister and above that another fellow human being - respect her individuality.

Today on one hand there are successful women like a Kiran Bedi or Sunita Williams , but on the other hand, we have those nameless faceless women who are victims of male dominance and domestic violence and the very derogatory eve teasing.I am not blaming all guys, some are really encouraging, understanding and supportive, but there are some who still dont give woman her due. Its time we changed our attitude towards woman and help them grow in a society where gender equality and women's empowerment is not there just on paper, but in the thoughts and actions of each individual.

Note - I am not a feminist. I dont believe in feminism, but I believe that women should be respected and appreciated and given their rightful place in the society.


  • line from the Manusmriti justifying the mistreatment of Indian women? Too simplistic. Check out this link

    Ultimately womens emancipation in India will be dependent on how society treats women. Token laws like the Domestic Violence Bill, or reservation for women in legislatures wont solve the real problem.

    By Blogger Sachin R K, at 5:53 AM  

  • Sachin,

    No I am not telling that line caused the ill treatment. I was just telling how the thing is misinterpreted by society to suit their needs.

    Yes you got it right.It all depends on how society treats women, exactly the point I have made.

    Thanks for the comments


    By Blogger Chitra Shenoy, at 9:51 AM  

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