This article has been published at HuffingtonPost India titled “An Independence Day for Women”
I am one of those fortunate few who was born to loving and educated parents who did not find it a burden to raise two daughters when everybody around them was hoping they would plan another pregnancy to beget a male child; who sent their girls for higher education and made them engineers; who let their daughters choose their life-partners irrespective of religion or community; who taught them to stand up against any injustice; who did not believe in paying dowry for ensuring their daughter’s safety and respect….
But for the majority of women, the time stands still…. Honour-killings still happen, female-feticides still snuff out the innocent life, education is still denied, wife’s consent to sex is still disregarded, courts refuse to discuss marital rape issues, people in power still blame women for the crimes against them, forgetting that a nun or the five-year-olds do not behave in a way to entice or lure the rapists, lawyers defend the molesters to dodge punishments….
My daughter is growing up in today’s world. Soon she will be old enough, refusing to be chaperoned at all times… She would want to see the world and explore all opportunities before settling down in a career or selecting her partner. Even if I as a parent grant her all the liberty, will the so-called moral guardians of the society let her be?
After 68 years of Independence, shouldn’t women be free of the tyrannical male and his rules? What does it really mean for us, the women, on this 69th Independence Day of our country?
I believe true independence would be when all women have FREEDOM from:
- Being aborted…when birth of a girl child is also considered a blessing and brings equal joy to parents…when people stop wishing for birth of their ‘heir’ …that would be freedom.
- Being judged for clothes they wear…all girls in skirts or shorts are not ‘asking for it’. They are not immoral. If men looked in the eye when speaking to a woman and not stare at her chest or bare legs….that would be freedom!
- Being attacked or punished for thwarting advances of a lusting perverted man… women are not sex toys…when a girl or a woman steps out of her home without the fear of being attacked by acid, being raped or beaten for refusing sex….that would be freedom!
- Being killed for falling in love…. When caste, religion, language, community are no longer hindrances in choosing a life partner…when no woman is prescribed death for marrying outside community… that would mean liberation for women.
- Being banned from religious places for having periods. Puberty is a gift from the Gods to women to nurture future life…it is neither their shame, nor punishment and definitely not anything impure.
- Being denied higher education. When every little girl can dream to become a teacher, a pilot, doctor, engineer…when people stop assigning kitchen and four walls of a house as the only domain of women…when women can opine about financial and other matters at every home… that would bring freedom.
- Being punished for Dowry… When ‘Arranged Marriages’ will do away with dowry…when all that a marriage ceremony would mean blessings and love only…when the mother-in-law, being a woman herself, will stand by her daughter-in-law at every step in her new beginnings…when brides won’t be burned or forced to commit suicides…that day would be a free day.
When women will not be the birds with clipped wings, but kites soaring in sky with gay abandon into the winds of change….that would truly be the INDEPENDENCE DAY!!