Thursday, March 9, 2017

My view on celebrating women's day


Following is article, an excerpts from essay presented by my sister in Maratha Prasarak Mandal's college of nursing, Nasik

What is women's empowerment?
We talk a lot about women empowerment and every year as we are close to 8th march, as a ritual, we make posters, we organizer some event, we send lot of whatsapp message and looks everyone loves all women. Some organizes women bike rally, some organize cycle rally, some talks about freedom to dress or freedom to marry and suddenly we see everyone becoming a women’s specialist or a women sympethiser and so on.

For me, women’s empowerment is nothing more than a buzzword and a hypocrisy people have. We do not need a day for their empowerment, do we?  What is women empowerment and what are the parameters? My view is, it is neither so called “career oriented women”, “let them chose career”, “let them have life partner of their choice”, “let them have right to smoke”, “let them have right to drink”, “let them have right to wear what they want or not” it is far beyond that. We see a new drama where someone wants to enter a temple, wants to enter in a dargah and want to be a “leader” of women empowerment. 

My question is, will a woman be empowered by just entering in a temple or dargah? How?

In a very simple term, the women empowerment is all about to let them do what is right, to let them have the treatment they deserve. Men and women both are never same and they cannot be and please, for women’s sake, never ask for same either. There is definitely differences that’s why we have men and women in this world. They both have distinctive role to play and please stop comparing. 

I read a story shared by Margaret Alva which was part of my school curriculum. In Nagaland, a woman was walking with baby on back and woods on head and a man was walking behind with a stick. When she asked why is he without any load and woman has baby as well as those woods. The man’s answer was because he wants to protect the woman in case if any unforeseen happens. What a shame! Definitely the man could carry at least the wood and still could protect her if required. Giving protection is not empowerment, but making women competent to protect themselves is empowerment.

My own experience of a true women's empowerment. 
I would like to share a real life story of women empowerment, related to my life only.
We were from a poor agrarian family. My mother knew well that if she does not take a step, we will have to live life of a poor forever and she could predict the future well. She barely had been to school as she had to take care of younger siblings and kids of her elder sisters but she can read and write Hindi and Sanskrit well so the mother tongue.  Realising this, soon  after marriage, she pushed our father to migrate to Mumbai and find an alternate source of income and managed agricultural and farming work back home single handedly. As usual, Hindu culture is not so kind on a woman staying without her husband and she faced criticism from home and outside home. She did not care never begged for thar. She continued what she had determined. Soon, she informed that she is coming to Mumbai and without further waiting for approval from my father, she just  picked us (4 of us) , took our grandpa alongwith and traveled almost 2000 kms to reach Mumbai. She had never traveled even a 200 kms distance in her life.  My father was shocked but was helpless. Soon, we were in Bhiwandi. She worked with my father in textile office in quality check and both started earning. Soon, from 1 room kitchen rented apartment, we moved to 2 RK and then 2 BHK rented and as determined, she ensured all of us get basic required education. Nobody in our entire past generation had been to school but my sister became a science graduate, working in ICICI bank, my brother is an MBA from prestigious Pondicherry University and also an MBA from NMIMS, India’s top 10 B school also a law graduate from Mumbai University.

That’s one part of the story.
She knew we will never earn enough by just doing job, so she pushed my father to start business and he started third party manufacturing unit of textile in Bhiwandi. She never sat idle. She left job within 5 years of coming in Mumbai and started selling saree. She thought to learn yog and did it and also completed her yog instructor’s certification. She has deep interest in Ayurved and she studied lot of book related too. She wished to learn four wheeler driving and a year back, got her driving license too. (none of us have 4 wheeler license yet and she first in our family to do so and she also forced my father to do so). She has traveled from Mumbai to Dwarka, Surat to Jamnagar, Mumbai to delhi, Haridwar, Mathura, Bangalore, Varanasi, Patna, Tirupati and length and breadth of the country. Even we haven’t traveled so far in our life (and being attached to traditional belief, my father not liked it always and she damn care about it. For her, when she is not doing anything wrong, why should she care about world and their thinking). Now, still she is impatient. She wanted to learn English and she did it. She just started reading English and fairly read it. She wants to start something in rural tourism and I am sure she will try this too. When she watch news, she can analyse the content, she can easily tell why people are being bhakt and how these bhakts are coined by baba and politician (and I realized, for this you do not need a degree, a tag of being “educated”).

Who played role of empowerer here? 
Who asked her to do it? Was it my father, were we? To whom she empowered- to herself or to our father or to all of us? I guess you can guess what I want to say. Empower comes from within. It is neither about being in live in relationship, even not wearing cloth are kissing publicly or publicly display of affection or entering a temple. It is being yourself, it is protecting yourself, it is balancing and playing your role the best way you can do.

Look at the history, what a great society we have Aditi (credited to give birth to God and earth) Shakuntala, Sita. Damyanti everyone had right to chose with whom they wanted to marry. Kunti has illegitimate son Karna, still society accepted her and gave respectful position. Kaikeyi fought war along with dashrath. Women were trained in warfare. Girl’s vagina are worshipped as “garbh” of mother goddess. It was there. What has changed is, we lost our own self estimation. Today, along with men, women also exploit. How many women really ready to give punishment to their son and other male relative if they rape a girl? Who buys girls in brothel ? How many female doctors ensure they won’t do C section surgery for money? (I haven’t found a single in my career) and then what the hell women empowerment we are talking?

 As a men, we need to start giving due respect to them which was there from vedic age. We need to stop treating them as a liability. I must share the in some part of Rajasthan, there is already scarcity of the girl and now bridegroom pays dowry not the girl. We need to stop labelling them.Before marrying, see the compatibility and what exactly you want. Do not cry later. 

advice for women

Plan your life, plan your career and decide yourself what is right for you. Be a true human. Believe me, you do not need anybody to empower you. Do not expect somebody to come as warrior to help you and support you. Empowerment comes from within. You need to realise your potential and you need to believe in yourself. 

All the best, every day is a woman's day. 

March 08, 2016

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