Monday, December 31, 2012

Flawed Indian equality

"My parents would disapprove if I marry a boy from a different caste"

"He is dark. There are better looking men"

"She is a girl. She has to go back early, someone should drop her at home"

"That religion itself is like that" 

This is the world we live in. Indian notion of equality would put the very word to shame. Probably there should be a separate dictionary for Indians to interpret equality. For we as a society discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, caste, religion, class and what not! It is this interpretation of equality and its attendant consequences that we are reaping day in and day out. When we are confronted with cases like the recent gang rape and death of a 23 year old girl, we act as if we are surprised. Are we really surprised? Sadly, we feign surprise for we know deep down that we are capable of such cruelty.

How many educated men accept dowry? How many educated men think their careers are more important than their partner's? How many educated parents give and accept dowry? How many educated parents expect a girl to leave her job after childbirth? How many educated families think a girl should be accountable for all her 24 hours? That she should give a hour by hour report? That she should not expose her body by going out without a duppata or wearing a t shirt? How many educated families think a girl should not drink or party because if she does, it would be difficult to find the right guy for her? How many guys have yardsticks against which they judge their girlfriends?

Equality and respect for the notion of equality begins at home and begins with our families and relatives. It depends on the books we read, friends we have, the attitudes and behavior of our relatives from which we learn as children, the movies we see, the songs we listen to and the communities we grow up in!

In India, many families still think that a girl child is a burden. They expect a girl to be obedient, silent, conservative, traditional, "homely" and what not! They expect girls to be a saraswati, a lakshmi or a durga. Yet they subscribe to songs that treat girls as nothing more than mere bodies and sex objects. Oh, the duplicity! They foist their stereotypes and expect their daughters to live up to them. They think a dark complexioned girl is difficult to marry off. They think that their communities would ostracize them if they let their wards marry into other communities. If only they know how to treat a girl as a human being! So, Where does that leave equality? In the dustbin...

Law is a deterrent only if discipline and apt behavior is practiced within the four walls of the families we grow up in. Gang rapes will continue to happen, girls will continue to die at child birth, husbands will continue to rape their wives, educated girls will continue to languish at home after marriage, men will continue to view women as pieces of meat, we will continue to have ladies compartments and ladies seats, we will continue to talk about women's empowerment and women's reservation, we will continue to think of dowry as entitlement and we will continue to practise this equality for we presumably know no other until the day we ourselves become change agents. Let today be that day!

4 comments:

LALITHA NATARAJAN said...

I hope you are that change agent siva

Shibani said...

Amazing issue to write about !
When Women' Day comes, there are talks of equality and safety of women and then.. all of that goes into thin air. After such an issue, people find time to blame the laws, rules, the police and what not. But, what they don't realise is rather than change in rules, there has to be a change in attitude, now more than any other time and that being unorthodox is not being modernised.
In this society in which traditions, culture, customs and beliefs form the most important criteria for judgement, gender equality is a distant dream that we hope. It's a change that has to forced by a lot of people, rather than a few voices here and there.
Commendable post !

Shiva said...

@Amma, Don't you think I am?

@Shibani, Thank You Shibani. Don't you think distant dreams can be realized if all of us starting with ourselves and our friends take it upon ourselves to change the environment we live in?

Shibani said...

Very much so.. The point is very few people are into it :(