National Originals

International Women’s Day: How far India has come, and how many more miles to walk

-Bilal Ur-Rehman

A gallant civilization can never be expected without an invincible portion of educated and empowered women contained within it. Any nation can hardly announce its prosperousness until it develops kindness, self-control, chastity, education, reverence, empowerment and compassion for women. Without these aforementioned credits, the status of men remains incomplete for being called as humans.

As somebody has rightly said that a good woman can create a good civilization and good mothers can make a great nation: a notion that also can be turned into greater implementations by empowering the women.

Literally, if women empowerment refers in their full control over their actions and inactions in accordance with exercising the freedom of choice, speech or expression, It falls not beyond than bookish in India and undoubtedly be termed nothing rather than a ‘myth’.

The last few decades have witnessed some basic changes in the status and role of women in our society. There has been gradual shift in policy approaches from the concept of welfare to the concept of development and finally to the concept of empowerment. Women have become increasingly self-conscious of their discrimination in several areas of family and public life. They are today in a position to mobilise themselves on issues that can affect their overall position.

However, in reality, the discrimination and deep rooted gender bias still exists in all sectors of our social life. We know that the Constitution of India guarantees equality of women in various fields of life. Sadly, this factor turns out to be a slow process in implementation. Yet a large chunk of women are either ill equipped or not in a position to propel themselves out of their traditionally slow and socio-economic conditions. Isn’t it very sad? They are often absorbed in the struggle to sustain the family, physically and emotionally, and as a rule, they are discouraged from taking interest in the affairs outside home. We all know that oppression and atrocities on women are still rampant in our country. Patriarchy is deeply embedded in the social fabric and moral ethos of our society, thereby denying a majority of our womenfolk the choice to decide on how they live.

Female infanticide stillcontinues, and unfortunately, has become a social norm in India merely because male child are .ire favoured. Domestic violence against women and especially wife battering almost symbolizes India in the galaxy of other countries. Dowry related deaths and denying majority of women a right to marry a soul mate of their choice has really drained the sweetness and zest out of their lives and left their lives colourless and charmless.

Leaving a little number of urban and sub-urban women, Indian women are still crying for social justice. There is thus wide discrepancy in the ideology and practice of women empowerment in India.

There can be no progress unless their needs and interests are fully met. There are some women achievers who have brought Laurals to the nation, in the field of art, cinema, sports, politics and science technology. But in absolute terms they represent a tiny fraction of total womenfolk of India. Their power and ability to do anything creative and constructive for society is restricted, as it is the men who wield all the authority. The truth is that the majority of our women still live their lives according to the whims and fancies of the male members of their family.

Can we adapt ” implementation in letter and spirit” to the day we celebrate on 8th of March, in the honour of women termed as ” Women’s Day”. Least we forget the active participation of our women like Sarojini, Naidu, Mora Ben, Vijay Laximi, or Mrs Aruna in the freedom movement with men. Isn’t it a matter of pride for Indian to witness a lady leader like Mrs Indira Gandhi? who will be damnly remembered for her administrative acumen and political wisdom. Hasn’t our Iron lady, The Minister of External Affairs, Sushma Swaraj contributed a magnificent example of women empowerment?

Where it is undoubtedly meted that the gender opposite of the male has tremendous power in maintaining the country’s economic stability, growth as well as prosperity.

The unparallel theme, of ‘Women First’ to ‘Prosperity for all’ initiated by Mrs Swaraj does sounds a plucking emulsion and a vide endorsement to all Indian females. Wasn’t she, our brave Indian lady, Mallesgwari who brought laurels to our nation by winning the Bronze medal in weightlifting? There’s hardly a field of activity in which women have not performed better than men in comparison. The women folk have been very known for its dedication, determination, responsibility, caren-ess, magnanimity, diligence, reliability, and compassion. Then which thing does discriminates this important section in the society?
Why, the visibility of gender equality, has become a global concern until, now?
Why, the issue of female safety, especially in public places, still rising alarmingly?
Does the new women concept have only been kept upto to the lowest ebb, where it can be termed as ‘myth’ ?

For, in this advanced era, can we still afford to believe in cheap phrases like, ” You are a Girl”?
How long, the so-called polite men, shall give this curse to the advanced societies?

The way previous census displays the decline of Child Sex Ratio is a satisfying proof of our nerveless mindsets. Which not only traces our discriminatory approach but also reveals our anti-humanistic character.

Nonetheless, In India, the cheerfulness from the political high-ups came for this deprived section in the recent past through a scheme entitled ‘Beti- Bachaw Beti Padhao’, which has laid emphasis for female education and importance of gender equality. in addition to this, an online campaign in the visage of “#Me Too” by the young girls in the social media sites came up with an outstanding ramifications in terms of women regarding their security.

A similar, few aspects are needed globally, in favour of women which may prove a fruitful Wake-Up call for women with an invincible approach in filling the discriminatory gaps, So that aspirations of women empowerment could be built up to the multidimensional bourne.

Come on, O’ Women Wakeup and nobody but let you all together can lead yourselves towards advancement. Let you come forward and closer so as to remove this myth from this society and world. In the collaboration of civil society organisations and other intellectuals, Let you organise debates, seminars and symposia against this myth appearing worse than a flexible evil. Besides, let you force govt. to vest the basics, vitals or essentials which could sound tremendous in the complete raze of this women un-empowerment to its final ebb!

Bilal Ur Rehman is a Kashmir based freelance journalist, who writes on conflict, gender and political issues.

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