>

VIJAY VAGHELA

SONGSOPTOK THE WRITERS BLOG | 11/15/2015 |




After all the sound and fury about Valentine’s Day, we shouldn’t be surprised if the next target is the International Women’s Day.  We’ll be told we shouldn’t be celebrating it because it’s not a part of Indian tradition (whatever that is) and that it is a western import. Another argument could be that it’s meaningless - celebrating one day does not change the status of women and so on.

So, why should we celebrate International Women’s Day?  First, because it comes to us with a history of struggle, resistance and protest - all of which have formed the basis of the women’s movement worldwide.

This history represents the struggle of women workers in factories who struck work and demanded their rights.  Such strikes have empowered working people the world over. Today, in the face of globalization and its blatant exploitation of women’s labour, it becomes all the more important to remember the struggle of working women that marks International Women’s Day.

It’s also a day women can claim to be their own.  Time and again, women all over the world have talked about utilizing this day to establish their centrality and importance in society. What if, women all over the world took this day off from their various tasks?  What if they refused to work at homes, offices and factories or to provide sexual services? What if they simply said NO!  Who would draw the water, feed the children, cook and clean? Everything, but everything, would come to a standstill.

If men rise to the occasion to take on these tasks, then, the purpose would be served for it’s not until they do these tasks that men will realize, what doing them means. It is true that like other similar days, weeks and years, this one too may have become just another piece of window-dressing. It’s also true that the concept of International Women’s Day may be one that has not reached far and wide, at least in countries like ours.  But that’s no reason for us to give up.

It’s precisely because activists want to reach out to as wide an audience as possible, that celebrations for International Women’s Day now take place all over - in resettlement colonies, villages, towns and cities.  These celebrations may be on a small scale, but for women they carry a deep and profound meaning.  It’s a day on which they realize that thousands of other women share their thoughts and feelings.  As long as women can define their importance in society and put a claim on this importance on their own, it does not matter if its origin lies elsewhere.

In the last few years, Dalit women have organized and begun to celebrate another day - December 25 as Bharatiya Mahila Day.  They do not reject International Women’s Day, but they’ve added this one to it.

If we can find 363 other similar reasons and occasions for celebrating this day, we can walk with the men and be treated as their equals through the whole year.  Why not then, begin with a search for 363 similar reasons as our theme for the next “Women’s Day” to conquer male chauvinism? The celebration would last a year long, and turn into a lifelong celebration!

*          *          *          *          *          *

[VIJAY VAGHELA]


Comments
0 Comments

No comments:

Blogger Widgets
Powered by Blogger.