Belonging to a profession that demands usual late-night sittings, one fine day, I came home early from work (around 1 PM). I found my maid’s daughter (an early teenager) reading my grade 8th Physics book kept somewhere in the attic, though I was aware of her deep love towards studies. To my astonishment, I asked, ‘Why are you not at school being a weekday’ to which she replied- ‘Oh I don’t go to school anymore.’ Intrigued to know the reason, I enquired the same from her mother, and she said that they could afford either her son or the daughter to send to school. Hence, they decided to part away with the daughter’s education, for the reason that she would eventually get married and it would be a waste of money. Education is the basic Human Right and the necessity of every child, either girl or boy, however, we hardly see them off the papers, especially with the economically weaker sections of the society which comprises huge chunks.
The Indian jurisprudence has various such laws in place ranging from Dowry Prevention Act [IPC 498A], Domestic Violence Act [IPC 304B], Sexual Harassment at Workplace [CrPC 125] to Equal Remuneration Act, Maternity Benefit Act or Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PCPNDT Act), however, when it comes to application, the ground reality is rather alarming.
From hormonal changes to giving birth to a child, the life of a woman is filled with struggles. Perhaps, and possibly, the valorous behavior of women might have compelled God to entrust them with the responsibility of generating life, a divinely preordained plan of creation. We do label women in our country as ‘Devis’ (meaning Goddess), probably because we cannot give them respect as a ‘Human being’. Harsh fact from the hypocrite Corporate portrays that a woman if receives accelerated promotion- she might have indulged in malpractices if she fails to get one- she is under-rated and called incompetent. Workplace inequality has been under the limelight for ages. The societal pressure binds such strata of the society, in a mental turmoil, that the need to exercise the basic human rights vanishes with time. We live in a country where, merely going statistically, a rape is committed every 15 minutes. While the Maternity Benefit Act prevails in the organized sectors, it is imperative to note that the female workers in unorganized sectors remain uninformed, forget about exercising. We all might have come across stories that share horrifying violence against women, may it be domestic or at the workplace. If you are tired of reading stories about violence against women, imagine the ones having to live with them. They do not prefer to live such a life by choice but under obligation. The other day I was watching this beautiful web series on women trafficking- Flesh, which portrayed various mechanisms of how women are compelled into this havoc, and it blew my mind totally to know that the majority in Eastern India is the victimization of false marriage. And, Let’s not talk of the statistics of female infanticide that the male-dominant state in India carries, even with the PCPNDT Act in place. The Dowry system in South Asia, which makes daughters “an unaffordable economic burden”, also contributes to female infanticide.
Mere introspecting all these factors from a very deep angle, the only reason substantiating the existence of such torture with women, is- ‘The uninformed audience’. Our system lacks the structure to uphold the persuasive information, which dwindle in the light of deceptive society. We believe what we see, and that is the place where the media in our country needs to play a pivotal role. Let us take a situational example of the ongoing heated and nationwide issue of alleging Actress Rhea Chakraborty in accusation of murdering Lt. Actor Sushant Singh Rajput. Even though the CBI investigation is in place, the whole country has started believing the conspiracy theory as explained by the media. This is just an illustrative example to undermine the working mechanism of mob fury in our country. Had the issues about women’s rights, rather Human Rights (which encompasses both the gender), been emphasized in our country, the situation would have been very different.
While India seems captivated under patriarchal dominance, the need to provide women equality is a different agenda altogether. Speaking about women’s rights, in general, does not mean to categorically dominate the males in the society (rather no gender should do that), it emphasizes respecting the gender, in the way they have been created and nurtured. We might have innumerous times heard “Our daughter/in-laws are no less than Son” or “Today women can do all that men can do”. My only shout out is, ‘Why do females need to prove themselves that they are in line with the males?’ Such a famous cliché seems to propagate a competing gender, where we are just trying to shift the fulcrum of dominance from patriarchy to matriarchy. It is a hard known fact, that men cannot perform many activities that the females can, may it be biologically or non-biologically thus finds no rhyme behind this so-called ‘comparison’. The true essence of the society entails with variation in nature, and the masculine and feminine portray two different aspects of society. The only thing we need to emphasize is to respect things in the natural course.
Respecting women must not be a rule, rather a responsibility. It is only then, we can fortify the glory of Women Rights and emancipate out of this horrendous comparison, which differentiates basis flesh and skin, and justify Article 15 of the Indian Constitution, which prohibits discrimination of Indians basis religion, race, caste, creed, place of birth and ‘Sex’.