To be a woman in India is to be a superhero, a creature from some other world that can multi-task, who is the torch-bearer of tradition, a fighter against odds, a survivor with a bruised soul.
The minute a girl is born there are hundreds of responsibilities,’duties’ and expectations from her. She has many roles that take precedence before herself- she is a trophy wife, a demure daughter, a doting & giving mother and a punching bag for the society’s frustrated idiots!
She will happily take a back seat to see the men in her life shine. She puts her father, brother & husband in front of her own self and lives a subordinate life to them. Something of an assistant, a facilitator. She fasts for her husband and even gets beaten up by him, all with a pursed smile. She sacrifices for her son, even gets dominated by him, with nothing but love and pride in her eyes.
Ask hundreds & thousands of women who have sacrificed their golden years for the well-being of their family, they will have no clue what they’re passionate about or what their talents are. An ambitious woman?! Might as well call her a slut.
Women’s rights revolution has all but skimmed the surface in the Indian psyche. It’s still a niche urban privilege for women to have their way. And the cruel irony of all this is that it’s not just a battle of men vs women, it’s women turning against their own kind!
Last week, Diwali time, a police inspector ‘friend’of my father stopped by the shop to “wish us a happy new year” and collect his “Diwali gifts”. During his leisurely chat where he shared his insights on how the world has changed, he mentioned that so many women often come over to the police station and complain that their husbands beat them up mercilessly, but when asked if they want the police to take action and put them behind bars they flatly refuse because they would have nowhere to go. He attributed this ‘noble’ behavior of women as the reason why marriages used to last in the past. He believes that the ‘undue’ freedom given to women has caused a rise in divorces in our country.
A strong-headed woman in India breaks families, puts her parents’ reputation at stake, never gets a good match for marriage and lives a life isolated from the society. If you are raped, it’s probably your fault, if acid is thrown on you, you must have done something to provoke it, if your husband leaves you, there’s something wrong with you.
At the risk of sounding extremely negative and sadistic, I have written this blogpost because it’s a grave reality around me.
What can we do to change it? Stop tolerating so much? Educate ourselves? Have a voice and a mind of our own? Pay the price to see the change.
The day she realizes that her confidence is right inside her, that she is fine on her own and that she is her own strength, the Indian woman will move into a new life of hope and choice. A hope to have a dream and a choice to fulfill it.