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WHAT’S YOUR STATUS: SINGLE, MARRIED OR HARASSED ?

  • JWB Post
  •  February 19, 2014

A society is judged by the status it grants to its women. So, what is the status of Indian women in today’s society?

Women have played the most important role in forming the society because woman herself is the Centrifugal force of society. She is the center point on which the most elementary unit of society – the Family rests.  India has witnessed great women from Sita to Radha from Laxmi bai to Razia Sultana from Sarojani Naidu to Indira Gandhi, Kalpana Chawla and so many more. The paper will end and ink will dry, but the list of great Indian women will not exhaust. But today India is witnessing an increase in crimes against women.

When we asked about the state of women in today’s society to some delegates, we came across an array:

1. According to Dr. Sita Sharma professor in Kanodia College, Jaipur –

“From which incident I should start viewing status of women in Indian society – From Cheerharan of Draupadi in court to Nirbhaya of Delhi case – all we witness is mental twisting. Whom should we talk about as when we think of various levels and roles of today’s women, we tend to get confused that which woman of the society we should discuss about –

    • A female laborer who works from morning to evening, feeds her kids and gets beaten by her drunk husband
    • Or the ultra-luxurious lady who is forced to stand with a smile on her face with her husband in night party bearing the pain of loneliness and rejection.
    • Or The woman on footpath who is forced to bear the burden of giving birth to result of men’s enjoyment every year and upbringing it too.
    • Or of the lady who is forced to kill her girl in the womb in obligation of society’s demand of a Son.
    • Or of the educated married lady who takes care of her family but is forced to hear that “someone’s daughter in law is educated as well as earning and adding to the family income and our educated daughter in law is sitting at home and doing nothing”.
    • Or of the lady who leaves her job to satisfy her husband’s ego.
    • Or the victim of sexual violence by her own husband and is quietly suffering.
    • And so on.”

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This is true – half of our women population is suffering. And it’s not about today’s society, sadly the story begins from early historic times.

2. According to Dr. Narendra Sharma “Kusum” an eminent writer:

“In our country women were given utmost respect from the Vedic ages but when Manu in his “Manusmriti” brought down women to a secondary stage. Women have been suffering ever since. Women were closed in the four walls of their houses and were mostly deprived of education and other rights. Like any society, women are also divided in three categories Elite, Middle class and Lower class. The elite enjoy the freedom, status and luxuries and are most talked about in every way possible, lower class is engulfed in poverty and making the ends meet along with bearing domestic violence. The middle class women find themselves in a whirlpool of foreign culture in the name of modernity. This whirlpool of misunderstood Foreign Culture sometimes brings middle class women on verge of overlooking importance of rich Indian values in name of freedom, ego and career problems which are causing break down of homes. Media is also responsible for commercializing and sensationalizing women. The problems of both middle and lower class have not changed much and more awakening is needed to be spread in these classes. Indian women are moving forward but at a very slow pace. In my opinion a modern progressive woman is the one who balances the rich cultural traditions based on moral and family values and modern thoughts along with scientific and logical approach towards life and its circumstances. For this we have to work on a higher level along with all the three classes of women simultaneously. In my view a woman should not view oneself as a competitor to a man.”

He has a point. And we can’t just only blame the traditions. It’s us who need to bring a change from within.

3. According to Mr. Krishna Sharma, a Social worker:

“Indian women should be aware of her rights which the Indian constitution and Judiciary has given her for her protection and development. Only an enlightened woman is able to make her environment secure and develop herself. Media like movies and advertisements are also responsible for making women a figure of Lust and Glamour. This in turn degrades the dignity of women in society as a whole and the society will improve only if women will be empowered and enlightened.”

But we have good news, women are changing! Atleast Mrs. Khan, a Human Rights Activist, agrees to it. She says: “Women of today’s society are changing and are becoming more aware of their rights and are determined to take their own decisions, whether it is the decision of giving birth to a girl child or of walking out of an abusive relationship. Girls are now getting stronger and smarter. There has been an increase in incidences where girls teach a good lesson to men who try to harass them in any way. Now the women do not believe in staying quiet, they have learned to take their share from the male dominated society which says that female is the weaker sex.”

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WHAT IS THE TRUTH?

 Inspite of all the reservations and free education schemes for girl child, the reality is that even today when a girl is born most family’s joys are dampened. A father is burdened thinking he needs to collect ‘dowry’ and the family’s prestige becomes as fragile as glass.

She is only taught household work and often married at very young ages, a female laborer is paid lesser than a male laborer for equal work be it the case of a daily wage laborer or a corporate personnel.

Even, if we look at the most modern scenario like the Live-in relationship, who bears the final burn? 99% it is the woman, who is physically and emotionally abused and left for greener pastures. Recent increase in brutal rape cases like the infamous Nirbhaya of Delhi, Bhanwari Devi of Rajasthan or suicide cases of successful women like Jiah Khan, Nafisa Joseph, Sunanda Thoroor show us that in every class women is facing pain of identity crises, broken relationships and lack of appropriate family system to act as a Buffer.

Sadly, development of women today is like a pattern of moving forward one step but being pushed backward two steps resulting in movement but no development in true sense. We must understand that a woman is not a spring that you twist and it will regain its posture. She is a living object and now things should change at a faster pace for the better.

By:  Ruby Khan
Jaipur Women Blog, Journalist

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