While thinking about issues of the suppressed gender of the Indian society, I remembered an NGO called Safar, based in Ahmedabad. It deals with a number of issues with regards to pluralism. What does it mean?
(noun) A condition or system in which two or more states, groups, principles, sources of authority, etc., coexist.
So in this co-existence, there is no discrimination amongst individuals be it economic, social, caste based, sect based, born out of religion, born out of gender or sexual orientation, nationality, statehood or others. In such a co-existence, all individuals are practically equal.
I’ll be keeping Gender as the focal point of this post. It is shocking to know that even in the so-called modern Indian society, there are n number of gender issues. The law books and the constitution of India state are modern to the extent of legally recognizing the third gender or the LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) community. But the society has gone the other way round.
If you do some reality check, you’ll probably know that the social progression has not occurred at all. Rather, the so-called modern society has turned towards regression such that even “women” or “females” are perhaps not considered an equal gender. I won’t be wrong if I call most women in Indian society as a suppressed gender. It is their unfortunate plight about which perhaps nobody has been doing anything! If I begin to list out issues, an endless list goes. Illustrative but not exhaustive, here are some highlighted issues women in India face very often.
- Child Sexual Abuse
- Child Marriage (at times to elderly men)
- Lack of Right to Education
- Human Trafficking
- Domestic violence
- Acid Attack
- Sexual Harassment
- Lack of Autonomy and Authority
Above is simply a glimpse of the extent to which the women laws are being breached in our country a glimpse of crime against women.
But then, there are things that girls or women face every day, in their routine life and unfortunately they are made to abide by ridiculous rules! Let me list down some events and practices:
- The infamous menstrual taboo
- Someone whistling, teasing, jerking off while staring at a woman in a public place
- Taking a woman to be a slut if she’s hanging out late at night with a group of men
- Judging a woman by her size
- 26 and Single?
- Calling her indecent and uncultured if she puts on shorts or sleeveless & low-neck tops after a certain age
- “Single Woman? Journalist? Work till late? Looking for an apartment? Going to live alone? Male friends will be visiting?” – Ummm…. We don’t accept such a (an awful) culture! Sorry! No Apartment for you!
- Women must cover their faces with a burqa or ghoonghat (long scarves/ sarees draped over head) while in public
- Disallowing a woman to pursue her career or take up a job of her choice
- Thinking that women mustn’t work if husbands earn well
- Robbing unmarried women and widows of their independence and freedom of choice
- Stigma against divorcees and widows
- Looking upon divorcee women as uncultured whores considering that the fault for the broken marriage is always theirs
- Married women forced into an intercourse
- The mindset that daily jobs like opening the door when the bell rings, getting milk, preparing tea, serving water to husbands and guests is that of a woman
The list will endlessly continue. You might have examples from your own family and circle of friends and colleagues. Crime against women is a far-fetched issue if I simply go on quoting issues alike the above!
This is how the so-called equal gender in the modern Indian society turns into that suppressed Gender!