“Mom, Dad, I got an interview call from a company in Mumbai”, a girl 29 years of age announces to her parents.
In response, she receives this:
“Have you gone crazy? Is this an age to build your career or your married life? You’ve come of age now and it is about time you get married. It is also not safe for a girl to be alone out there, especially in a city like Mumbai. You’re not even capable of living on your own, are not strong enough, or responsible enough”.
This is the plight of women in India even today. A woman in the Indian society is at constant war with the wounds that are inflicted on her ego, self-respect and individuality. She faces wounds inflicted by social atrocities such as gender bias, marriage, among a lot of other things in this modern era too. There are many families existing even today, who believe that a woman is born with only two goals, one becoming a good daughter and another being good at her marriage. Beyond that, a woman has no role, no goals, no hopes, no wishes, no dreams, rather a woman should not have any other role, goal, hopes, wishes or dreams. The free Indian society that people talk about is just an illusion that the politicians and other activists love to believe they have actually created or is in progress. In reality, women are still treated like and kept in, dirt.
There are still families where the male child is given every freedom on the earth, while the girl child is hardly given space enough to breathe. There are people who believe that allowing their girls to wear jeans and be friends with the opposite sex make them a modern family, which is so not true. At the core, a girl is still warned not to opt for love marriage, not to choose a career that is of her choice and basically, not to do anything that is against their rules, which more or less includes every damn thing under the sun. For a woman, the only career she has to build in her life is her marriage, which starts with being a good daughter, then a good wife, a good mother, so on and so forth. In the same family where the male sibling would be allowed to immigrate to a foreign country, the girl would not be allowed to even cross the borders of her hometown.
People even today fight for women’s right and against the sickening male attitude towards women that again and again demoralise them. Men think they own every woman on this earth, inflicting the sting of rape upon them as and when they wish, just to satisfy their never-ending needs. Are women made of plastic that they do not have needs? Rape has become another major hurdle in every woman’s life. It is one of the major factors that stop women from stepping forward and explore their life the way they want to. When it comes to the male child, all the mothers and fathers have to advise them with are cautionary words. But when it comes to the girl child, the methods change – there are restrictions, violence and mental pressure. And the worst part is that a girl obediently allows her parents to inflict them on her. Is obedience really worth it, when it leads you to kill your dreams, hopes and wishes?
Girls, when they want something, have to prove themselves worthy of it. Why? She has to prove she has the potential and capability of living up to her dreams. This is something she will never be able to do unless she is allowed to explore and expand her capabilities and potentials outside the so-called protective barriers of her home. Parents often love to create an illusion of freedom for their children, and it is especially true with a girl child. In reality, they only, and momentarily, expand the limits of the cage they have built for her ever since her birth, creating the illusion of reality. When she is not even allowed to step outside her cage, how is she ever going to prove herself?
A male child is adorned with golden wings, while a girl’s wings are clipped off. How would clipped wings let one fly? Clipped wings can never be tested because it would never even lift one off the ground. If not clipped, the strength of wings cannot be tested by merely flapping them. You need to let them lift you off the ground take you higher and fly. You can never know how high you can fly unless you’ve actually used your wings. Similarly, if you clip off the wings or never let the girls use their wings, their strengths can never be tested.
Clipped wings or no, is such a burdened life worth living? Is it really necessary for our self-respect and ego to go through constant bashing at the hands of our own family? Is it really worth it to never touch the sky when it is just at an arm’s length? Maybe not! But somehow, women do go through all of this, out of obedience towards their parents, out of fear of hurting them or simply because they are afraid of raising their voices and demanding what is rightfully theirs. It is not just for women to open their eyes or raise their voices against the sheer injustice that is laid out against them. It is also for the people of our society to know and understand what the women in their families go through. Not everyone can be strong enough or bold enough to proclaim their rights. Some may just be too humble or too succumbed to ask or demand for what is theirs. Is the country ever going to benefit from such a suppressed part of its community, society? It is time people, especially men, change the way they see and think about women. It is time that women themselves open up, understand their own daughters and daughter-in-laws, and give them the deserved respect and freedom.