The last couple of weeks has been really hard on women. First incest rapes in Bangalore and Delhi. Then molestation in Guwahati and in the middle of all this some shocking diktats from a Khap Panchayat in UP where they have banned women from going out and use cell phones.
Women in India are subjected to atrocities even before they are born. Infant girls are killed in their mother’s womb itself. Sometimes she is killed after her birth. Even if she manages to survive female infanticide and female foeticide she is still in danger of being abandoned by her parents.
Now even if she has managed to survive all this what happens next? The ordeal of being born a girl just continues. A boy will be provided education and his needs will be taken care of. But a girl is told from childhood that her only job is to do ‘rasoyi’ (kitchen work) at home. She is denied an education and all her rights.
Now she survives her childhood too and grows into a teenager. That is when all sorts of restrictions come out. She can’t go out at night. She can’t go to parties or pubs. She can’t drink. She can’t wear her favourite clothes. She can’t go out alone. She can’t do this she can’t do that. Her life is virtually controlled by others.
Now from a teenager she graduates into a working woman. Well even today many families have reservations about women going out to work. Many well educated women after marriage continue to be housewives when they have all the abilities to go out earn for themselves and stand on their own feet. Even if she is allowed to go out to work there too many restrictions are put on her. She can’t work late hours. She should come home before a particular time. She can’t do certain jobs. Even in working organizations she is harassed by her colleagues. She is told that she is incompetent. She is overlooked for promotions even if she deserves it. She is made to work harder and double prove herself just for others to accept that she is good enough for the job.
Then comes the part of marriage. The boy can have girlfriends but the girl can’t have boyfriends. If a couple is in love, decides to get married and if the families do not accept them then the blame is put on the girl. Then even in the case of an arrange marriage the girl’s family has to please the boy by giving into their dowry demands. Then after marriage she should leave her home, come and stay with her husband and in laws. Then she has to suffer the atrocities in the hands of her in laws in the name of dowry. She has to suffer domestic violence by her husband. She can’t go back to her parents because they won’t accept her and will force her to return. She is blamed if she can’t give birth. She is blamed if she gives birth to a girl child. If she becomes a widower she is stigmatized and kept out of various functions in the society.
Women of all ages are harassed, molested and raped by men. But the culprit is always the victim. She asked for it, she is of loose character, she is a prostitute these are the comments others make She is blamed for what the men did to her.
This is just the life an urban woman leads in India. If you go to rural and village areas the life of a woman is extremely difficult. In villages a male dominated Khap Panchayat runs the show. The diktats of Khap Panchayats are like that of medieval times. Women can’t go out without covering their head. Love marriages are banned. Women have to do a certain set of jobs.
But I have a question for all the men out there. Do you know how you came into this world? From your mother’s womb, a woman’s womb. A woman had to carry you for nine months so that you can come into this beautiful world. Then why are trying to suppress and degrade women rather than respecting her for what she has done to you?