Violence vs. Violence

“Aunty, tumhala driving karta yete?”

A 10-year-old boy in my building asked me this question when he saw me driving.

The whole country is debating about the issues of rape, encounter killings and whether the method of punishment befits the crime.

But with the increasing incidence of brutal crimes in the country, the time has come for us to find out what is at the core of this debate.

Whether it is a child being astounded that a woman can drive…whether a man knowing his way around a kitchen is paraded around as nothing short of a miracle…

It’s time we break the gender boundaries…

This generation has seen women break a lot of chauvinistic glass ceilings.

But the sad part is giving equal rights to women is being paraded about as a favour to women, whereas it is a basic human right.

We hear so many ironical statements in India.

We hear people saying after childbirth that, “humko ladka ladki kuch bhi chalta tha”.

Shouldn’t the gender of the child be immaterial? Shouldn’t people concentrate on whether we have a healthy child?

People say that “humne apne betiyon ko bhi post-graduate banaya”.

But isn’t the very fact that your child has completed post-graduation creditable? Does the fact that it was completed by a girl reflect on the difficulties of a girl completing it or that it was miraculous you gave her the opportunity to complete the degree?

We still hear “humne apni bahu ko ghar ke bahar kaam karne diya”.

Should that be the choice of a bahu?

Till we don’t learn that there are very few chores or jobs which are gender bound…

Till we don’t understand that woman have equal rights, over not just the basic human rights of “roti, kapda and makaan”; but also civilised human rights like: 

  • The right to education without being conferred as a favour…
  • The right to travel fearlessly in appealing clothes, without being labelled as uncultured…
  • The right to say ‘NO’ to sexual advances before being termed as a tease…
  • The right of a mother to work without being labelled as selfish…
  • The right of a wife to retain her maiden name and identity without having to fight every legal loop…
  • The right to non-violence and having the perpetrator of the crime punished appropriately…
  • The right to define her own boundaries and to paint her own picture about her own life…

As the year draws to an end, let us hope the country never has to read about another “Nirbhaya” and her other namesakes…

Let 2020 be a year when a woman can actually live in an India like Rabindranath Tagore envisioned,

“Where the head is held high and the mind is without fear, 

Into that country of freedom, let my country awake.”

 

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