Dr Abdul Kalam once said, when quizzed by students, that 50 percent of a woman in the country is behind his success. That was days after he left the Presidency in an interview to NDTV, aired in 2007. It tells a lot from someone who is regarded as a global iconic figure as India’s president and scientist. It is a lesson that we need to learn from Dr Kalam, a revered personality.
I choose not go back to what everyone has been saying on the rights of woman, right from the time the Nirbhaya case happened and till date, where crimes against women are committed in broad daylight. It seems that nothing much has happened. Name it, you get it! Rape eschewed patriarchy designed to trap women in traditional roles, honor killing or the idiosyncrasies that the place of a woman is in the kitchen or to bear children. The entire debate is getting pointless with over hyped media coverage. What we need is concrete actions but rhetoric is not helping the cause at all.
There are many instances where women faced the ire, whether it’s Deepika Padukone, Kavita Krishnan or Shruti Seth or someone in some far-off obscure corner in the world. Yes! I am saying the world not just India. I think it speaks a lot on our attitudes where we get personal and attack someone’s view for being a woman, calling her a bitch or whore who good just for sleeping around. It’s a mirror reflection in the society we live in and where we have cultivated a mindset to dominate or oppress. There are rare cases where men were taken to task and if they were, no inference has been made to their sexuality or personal life. It’s gender bias, in a way, where we internalize the whole debate about the weaker sex. It’s got to do with the kind of education we get and the way we are brought up. I’ve read a recent blogger who shared the experience of meeting a lady at the park with her son and proudly said that when he will grow up, he will have several girlfriends.
Incensed is too simple a word to describe such mentality where we perpetuate the gender bias. I know cases where a friend who just got married and saw her in-laws imposing traditions and rites on her, saying how common it is in their household. The worse part is that they told her that it’s a matter of the husband’s family. Thankfully, the husband is open-minded and supported her. The girl is very well educated and has been exposed to a wide gamut of international cultures, having traveled a lot and was daring enough to put her feet down.
I ask you a question: Before imposing rituals on her wearing the garb of traditions, learn to respect her as an individual and a human being first. She left her family home to be part of your lives. It’s not just about your son or family. She also has a family. Learn to respect her first.
Honestly, I don’t know when this gender bias will end. It’s a question of education and I fail to understand how so-called educated people get trapped in the whole ritual issue which most of the time is so ludicrous. It’s high time for women to show their courage and say No to people who want to exploit them, hiding under the name of traditions and rituals.
We need an equal society, based on mutual respect and personal choice where our rights will not be trampled upon. I know putting emphasis on the whole notion of equality is not enough. The only point I am making is that we have brains and at least be rational human beings rather than falling prey to old age traditions which doesn’t make sense most of the time. Be real people and stop labelling someone as a slut or a whore just because you feel threatened by independence. Hope one day this gender bias will have no place in a civilized society.
( A guest post by Vishal Bheeroo, an established blogger & Media Professional. This brilliant piece aptly points out at the gender inequality prevalent in our society. )