India, a land where religion gets far more importance over humanity. A place where one’s caste and creed decides their identity and social circle. A country where women in the form of an idol are worshipped all the time but the same woman in a mortal form struggles to get minimal amount of respect and recognition from the people around her. We Indians spend 9 days of the Navratri as devout people. We worship the 9 different forms of Goddess Durga, the symbol of “Adi Shakti” in Hindu Mythology. We pray for strength, so that we can overcome our difficulties with ease and stand by our ideals, no matter what the odds are.
Looking at an average Indian during Navratri, one would wonder that how is it possible that the women of this country are wronged so much? A country that worships a mere idol of a woman definitely respects the mortal women of this land. Indeed, the women of this land are very lucky. But little do we know that within all of us we have a Mahishasura, a symbol of the evil that urges us to make mistakes and take the wrong decisions. The same man who spent the whole day at a temple returns home and beats up his wife. The old lady who makes a living by selling flowers at the temple is harassed by her drunkard son for her hard-earned money. The little girl who takes care of your shoes outside the place of worship is a victim of repeated sexual abuse and the family who comes every day in their swanky car and donates thousands in the service of Goddess Durga, goes back home and harasses their daughter-in-law for dowry.
Such is the condition of this country and its people. The reason why the woman of this country is so downtrodden is because this country is full of hypocrites who do not really practice what they preach. We celebrate the festival, the death of the demon Mahishasura in the hands of Goddess Durga, the victory of good over evil, but we miss out on the other lesson that one should derive from Navratri.
The importance of woman in society, we refuse to acknowledge the fact that women are a superior race and no matter what their counterparts do, they can never be half the human being that women are. They are at the root of the existence of this universe. Women are the creators, the nurturers and also if and when the need arises, the destroyer of anything evil. Even if we realize the importance of women, we fail to acknowledge them. Indian men refuse to give women their credit due. They are time and again be-lilted at their workplace, in their domestic setup and in social circles just so that they can boost their own ego. Women are left struggling and battling for things that they truly deserve. Almost every day 75% of total working women are discriminated against in their workplace, and so many women are sexually harassed. Many others are verbally abused and there are some who are raped.
As a country which worships women, what have we done? How many women have we been able to protect from such perpetrators of their modesty? How many broken souls of victims have we been able to mend? Very few. Most of these victims have been discriminated against, made fun of, ridiculed and even isolated. This has led to many leading reclusive lives or even worse, committing suicide. Very few of them have been able to take up the mantle of change in their hands and have decided to take up their role as a crusader of justice. On the whole, we as a society have failed the fairer sex miserably. We cannot encourage them or support them let alone protect them. Taking to the streets, creating chaos in the name of support and leading protest marches are not a solution.
Half of Delhi, representing India’s anguish over the Delhi rape case was at the India Gate in the days that followed the ghastly rape of Nirbhaya on 16th December, 2012. They protested both silently and violently but the truth is hardly 25% of the total number of people there were truly affected and shaken by the episode. The other 75% were there just to create a huge fuss and see how the events would follow and within no time was this noble cause completely politicized.
Today the men behind the rape have been punished. But does that mean that our battle has been won? It is far from it. We have come just 25% of the total way that leads to women empowerment. We still have the other 75% to complete.
Even to this day this nation sees dowry deaths, female fetuses are killed even before they see the light of the day, girls are married off early, their education and overall growth is stopped and even when they are educated sufficiently, they are discriminated against in their workplace. Sometimes they are simply murdered in cold blood by their own family members for choosing a partner from a different caste or community. They are accused of spoiling the name of their family. Somehow as per the ‘Indian’ sensibility, murdering someone does not malign the family name but having a say when it comes to selecting one’s own life partner does. And we thought, sexual abuse was the only way of be-lilting and victimizing a woman. If all of this wasn’t enough, recently what the Mumbai Police did by arresting so many couples from hotels on charges of indecent behavior in public and how they mistreated the women either verbally and in some cases even physically, further reflects how much our society really cares about the honor of women.
It is truly believed that a woman helps in shaping the future of a nation as she gives a nation their future generations. So for a better future, we must rectify the present. Women should be respected and they should be given their rightful place in society. Every woman has a Suu Kyi, Margaret Thatcher and Mother Theresa within her that surfaces as and when the need arises. So let us make a promise to ourselves that no matter what happens, whatever the odds might be, whichever situation we might be faced with, India will rise to any atrocity committed on women. We will raise our voice and make sure that change takes place and the women of our country are treated as equals and not as inferiors. We have to make sure that we present a utopian society to our future generations where men and women are treated equally. The day we achieve that, we can proudly call our women empowered and brag about our culture as per which we worship women, not just the idol but also the mortal beings.