Saturday, 7 March 2015

International Women’s Day

I have never really liked the idea of keeping a separate day for women. This is just another reminder that man and woman are not equal and that as long as women continue to feel special on such days there is so much left to be done. It amazes me as to why there is a need for women to seek equality with man. Are we in some kind of competition with man? I guess not. So why do women always feel the pressure to be equal to man...can’t we just pursue excellence? But having cited my opinion, I do realize that there is still a long long long way to go before we stop keeping aside a special day for women…coz for now…there is a need to ensure safety of women and to enjoy her basic rights as a human all across the globe.

I watched the BBC documentary India’s daughter – a must watch for every citizen of this country. I have shared in my facebook page and so did many users but the Govt. have been blocking URLs and sweeping the dirt of our society under the carpet. The Govt. is supposedly running out of ideas to impose ban…the ridiculous beef ban, censoring use of word “lesbian” in movie, banning the movie “50 shades of Grey”  (So those who didn’t intend to watch the movie earlier are downloading it from torrent and watching it! I have read the book anyway), now the documentary is banned. What is with the ostrich mindset of our authorities! Keep your head covered under sand and you think the problem is not there? This is the truth. The sooner we face it, the better. A few months ago, I watched the interview of an actress who talked about the plight of women in India…the dowry deaths, child marriages during her visit abroad and she was slammed by a reporter here in India who accused her of degrading the name of the nation. She proved her point and stated that it is happening…she only said the truth and said that she can’t be a hypocrite and pretend as if all these social evils do not exist. It is a shame that in an attempt to protect the image of the country, the society is degrading day by day. Child Sex Ratio declined from 945 in 1991 to 927 in 2001 to 918 in 2011 (Census Report).

The documentary only shows the obvious sorry state of affairs of the country. Should we feel sorry for the old parents of the rapist who committed suicide? Or should we be shocked at the statement of the wife of the rapist who still can’t believe that her husband will do such an act and even told that if her husband is hanged she has no choice but to kill her son as well as she has no means of survival. The problem is much deeper. In this deeply maligned patriarchal society of ours, woman is subjected to all forms of abuse – physical, emotional, verbal and sexual abuse. I am sure every woman in India has faced atleast one form of abuse. If not abused, there is always this fear...of not feeling safe.

Recently, an office colleague of mine in his early 50s offered to help me get a better position and asked what I would give him if I get selected. Out of courtesy, I replied whatever you want, Sir. He had worked in the North East for some years and I thought he would have wanted something ethnic from my native place. All this while, I have considered him a father figure and was being polite and it all went down the drain when he said “I want you.” Yes, he said “I want you” 3-4 times. So na├»ve I was that the first time he told me that, I still thought maybe he was referring to my personality…but when he repeated it I was too shocked to react. Later, it dawned on me...his intentions…and no matter how much my friends are supportive of me, I feel guilty. Have I ever given a wrong signal to him? How could he garner the courage to speak like that to me? Why me? Am I too shallow or cheap? Is it the way I dress or that I smile and greet my seniors? I know the fault is not in me. And no, I am not going to play the “North East” card…that coz I am from North East, he thought I am easy. NO. If not me, it would have been some other girl…and who knows how she would have handled. One thing is for sure, nothing is worth it…job, money….nothing is worth such humiliation. So while I deal with this pervert and seek to teach him a lesson soon enough I feel for the millions of woman who have been harassed at homes and at work…whose voices have been silenced. The whole episode keeps repeating in my mind and every time it angers me for I did not give an apt reply that would shut him up. I am lucky that I have close friends whom I can confide to who have gone through the same ordeal. It is a disgrace…how many women must be facing the same emotional turmoil with no one to talk to.  So where should the change begin? Educated fools like the pervert in my office and those shitty lawyers who defend the rapists are grim reminders of how failed the education system is.

Such a fake democracy we have! The statement by our political leaders that the mob lynching of alleged rapists at Dimapur will be dealt with appropriately, made me laugh. Why don’t these morons realize that the public has lost faith in the judicial system and therefore, has taken the law in their own hands.  I have never supported mob lynching but it is better to castrate the rapists and kill them in public rather than see them undergo trials and let imprudent lawyers blame the victim and the trial would go on forever. Social media is filled with comments supporting the mob lynching...such is the frustration of the masses….the plight of women.

I live in the Rape Capital of India. I live in fear. I try to reach home before dark and dress sensibly. And so do many women I know. We live in fear. We do not mind jostling in the ladies’ coach of the metro rather than enjoying some space in the other coaches where men travel. I do not say that all men are the same. Chivalry is not dead. But I cannot risk it. For, someday if I complain of being touched inappropriately, people will blame me for not travelling in the ladies’ coach. This is India and it’s better to be safe than sorry.

And I know that as long as I reach home early coz I feel unsafe to reach after dark and not out of my choice there is a need for International Women’s Day.