RAPE. This is the only thing I am reading about these days. And as if the whole incident was not gut wrenching enough, anyone who thinks he or she is an authority on Bharatiya Sanskruti, is going on a rampage giving advice to the fairer sex. From wearing Burkhas to chanting mantras to migrating to rural areas, everything (only condition is that it has to be outright outrageous) has been suggested to girls to avoid being raped, molested and murdered, with incomprehensible and unimaginable brutality (in a few cases). Candle light vigils, protest marches and other acts of defiance notwithstanding, I really wonder how much will it help. I totally support these acts of solidarity, but will it ever be able to transform the draconian laws and the stereotypical male mindset? In one of the columns in a leading English daily by a luminary on social affairs a couple of days back a very valid point was raised.
The column said that unless and until women are looked at as individual entities, detached from all the relations (daughter, sister, mother, niece, aunt ) and umpteen others, the change will not come about. The tradition of perceiving women as a thing of possession is nothing new for our Indus valley civilization. Women were never traditionally touted or supposed to be the bread winners or at par with men. Manusmriti relegated fairer sex to sit pretty and give birth kids and take care of the household. There never was equality between the two sexes. Having said this, it is also a gruesome truth that women themselves, to some extent bring about the downfall of other women. Dowry deaths, biased would be mothers aborting their daughters in the womb and so many other instances can be quoted where women have turned against their fellow beings. Ofcourse this is the very tip of the iceberg and there is a whole lot more to this vast issue pervading socio-political-historical references and contexts.
I really wonder sometimes, where we as a nation and society are moving towards. Are we going back in time? Where women were not supposed to go out and work and not voice their opinion and be fully clad? And most importantly, fear the male species with their eyes cast down? No mobile phones, banning jeans and venturing out after sunset, what does this really mean? I am appalled at the current scenario we are living in. There are such blaring contrasts. On one hand, we are using 3G, tabs, iPads, Audi cars, Porsches, the best of gadgets. On the flip side, when it comes to gender equality and doing away with the some of the irrelevant age old, suppressive and ridiculous traditions, we come to a naught. A standstill. Shobhaa De raised a fabulous point. Why should girls have a pepper spray in their pocket? Why can’t the guys be more mature? Why can’t women sensitize their sons about other women and tell them to respect them for what they are? Why do women have to pamper and cuddle their sons? Why are girls in a lot of cases made secondary? A girl who has done MS from USA, when it comes to marriage is still asked if she can cook or likes to wear a saaree. Why can’t a girl wear short skirts and still be a great daughter in law and take care of her household. She can! For heaven’s sake! All the vamps in the saas bahu serials wear saarees!
All these questions are flooding my mind and have made me an insomniac. When will this change? I simply am clueless as to from where do these things about women come from. Durga devis and Parvatis are you listening? We would rather be treated with respect, equality and basic humanity, than being garlanded and kept in a sanctum sanctorum and being worshipped.