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SULAGNA DUTTA

SONGSOPTOK THE WRITERS BLOG | 3/10/2015 |




Happy Woman’s Day: Empowering her this year

Happy woman’s Day- it was a text message I typed on the mobile and kept             pondering             for      a while. 8th March: I was about to send the message to the women who was an inseparable part of my life who was the cause of my being – My Mother. When I was a baby I was heartily welcomed in this world. I was suckled with milk of care and warmth of love, I was a blessed being. When I was a toddler, I was reared up with attention and caution. I used to fall down often and bruise my knee or elbow. The woman who would break into tears with my each cry was the one whom I called mother. When I was a child I was sent to the school. I left the hands of my mother went inside the yellow building – which soon devoured me. I met another woman like my mother – she was my teacher. When I was growing I learnt about the world, I saw more women, I saw goodness, I saw humility. I saw acceptance, I saw sacrifice – from more women whomever I came across. Now I am a woman too, and I received text messages wishing me ‘Happy Woman’s Day’.

But the reiterating question that arises in my mind is ‘why is this special day celebrated?’ any specialty is an unusual matter of fact. Then are women something unusual of her kind? Are we not capable enough to handle our pros and cons? Or we are special for being treated the unfair sex? If that is so, then this day is a disgrace for women who are the subjects, who are being celebrated for their womanhood. Why do we celebrate woman’s day? Why there is no Man’s Day celebrated? UN is treating Women with special care and attending to the various issues which are posing hindrances for their straight progress. Is it not inequality from the part of the women and the UN who are not giving attention to the better half of the civilization?

Its 2015 now, the world is “empowering women, empowering humanity: picture it”. But I saw a picture which took me back a thousand year before. I saw girls are getting married in their teens, uneducated, afraid and backward, humanity is mired. Female foeticides, female infanticides are still practiced rampant in hidden backyards which reports a magnificent number (some 10 million foeticides in last two decades). The elderly ladies abuse the newly widowed daughter-in-law for being pregnant by her dead husband. Or a rape victim never recovers in spite of sending her in rehabilitation centre. Also every 5th girl gets beaten up for not giving a lump of dowry in the rural and urban India. In every step a girl faces challenges of rape, molestation, torture, exploitation, verbal abuse, sexual harassment. Picture hasn’t changed yet. Census 2011 says for every 1000 males, only 943 females available, where will the rest 57 males go? Epics are truest for our kind – Draupadi’s still have five husbands, who beat her every night, rape her legally and sell her away for few more lakhs. Gang rapes are mounting; the instinctive animals are rocking back and forth wrapping the white dhotis and kurta. Silence speaks for the female folk who are crying day and night in villages, or in cities, in houses and in the streets. When shall we get power to live a life of Human being?

UN celebrates “empowerment of women” this year. If that is so, then let us jot down, what are the current achievements to celebrate the womanhood. I found more number of rape cases in the dailies, describing the brutality in a cliché but looking through the other glass. Rape is no more a crime of which the women are afraid of; they speak of rape easily, breaking taboo of Indian conservatism. Rules against sexual harassments are pasted on walls warning the animals in the crowd in a tamed way. Girls are getting education and proving her equality in every aspect of work, every sphere of challenge and every sectors of the industry – 64.9% of the females in India are educated now; But what are the rest of them doing – tilling the land, throwing the seeds, making chapattis and suckling babies? They must be doing so, they are our sisters too – whom we need to send letters of love and literacy, gifts of peace and power – they are the left out lot of the crew.

When showcasing the empowerment of women we equal voting rights, we see special provisions of law, we see Kalpana Chawla in space, Indira Gandhi in governance, Kiran Bedi in Police, Bachendri Pal on the Mount Everest and Bula Chaudhuri crossing the English channel. We have walked a long road; But this walk could not have been possible without those free thinking men who saved us from the pyre of sati, gave books in our hand, removed ‘pardah’ and showed us light of the world – the brighter world, and loved and cared, and reared us up to be better human beings – for those men ,we are women now : empowered and dignified in the Twenty first century.

Now we go to schools in school bus, wear mini-skirts, jeans and tops; we use mobile phones. We go to universities in other countries for higher education. Among us we find Indra Nooyi (CFO, Pepsico – the second largest food and beverage giant), Naina Lal Kidwai (Group General Manager and country head of HSBC India), Kiran Shaw (Chairman and Managing  Director of Biocon Limited), Chandra Kochar (MD and CEO of ICICI Bank), Indu Jain (Former Chairperson of Times Group) who believe in short cuts, but are at the same time confident, ambitious and challenging. They have an enormous fire within -  they are our role models.

India is among the fastest growing economies of the world -  and Indian women are called ‘Rani of Jhansi’, or ‘Chennamma the Brave’. In spite of mountainous upheavals, social discrimination was practicing its course since Gargi and Maitree have gone from the ancient early vedic Samitis – the Hindu Dharmasastra or the Manusmriti was condemning women for her character and reduced her to a state of a matter of Desire. But, her strength, of the Goddess Durga has killed the demon of Orthodox Brahminical Patriarchy, religious superiority and broken off the ‘shades of grey’ which was distributing her existence – we are now the generation of Modernism ; ‘the greatest discovery of any generation is that the human being can alter his life by altering his attitude’ (by Willam James).

The democracy ‘India is measuring her progress – we have achieved a lot, women are almost equal to men, whatever percent is yet to be achieved, ‘there need to be revolutionary change in the perception of both men and women. But it is the women who must come out in large number and engage themselves in the developmental process with unwavering zeal and discrimination, then nothing can deter them from being empowered’.

[ SULAGNA DUTTA]


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