“Feminism is stupid. Absolute gibberish invented by women because theyre bored of their mundane lives. I don’t understand why women come up with such nonsense? Cant they spend more time in the kitchen instead? You know, make pie or something. I mean, what’s with all these rallies, these protests, these morchas? Apparently, there was this group of women called suffragettes in 19th century England who chained themselves to poles and poured acid down postal boxes to demand their right to vote? Why? Whats the need? don’t they understand that they belong in the kitchen? What will they do after voting? Generate a change in the society?
I dont understand why women go to college, women get educated, women try to stand on their own 2 feet. Why? Ultimately, all they have to do is manage the household after marriage. Indira Gandhi? kalpana chawla? Fluke, that was. Why should women claim that they are equal to men? why should women be given equal rights? Why should women be viewed as anything other than housekeepers? Why should women be treated as human beings?”
I was a starry eyed girl. Living in a small, liberal place like Goa all my life, interacting only with the elite, the sophisticated, the educated. I was unaware of the mentality of the population. I drew my inspiration for my little opening monologue from a little conversation I had overheard when travelling in public transport last summer. What was more appalling was that the 2 gentlemen having this conversation seemed educated and well to do. It forced me to introspect, to really research and I came up with this-
India- the land of paradoxes.
The very man who devotedly worships goddess Durga, the symbol of Power, beats his wife up in a drunken stupor. The very men who claim to love their mothers leer at women who pass by them. The so called modern, educated and open minded men harass their wives for dowry. There are countless rapes in India annually, most of which go unnoticed because the girl is ashamed. NGOs, UNICEF and WHO work day in and day out to improve the scenario, but despite that, The condition of some women in this country truly is deplorable. But does that mean we paint the entire picture with this disgusting, shameful hue? Does that mean we continue to rant about how this country is going to the dogs while actually doing nothing about it?
I recently watched a video of Angelina Jolie receiving a Jean Hersholt humanitarian award for her humanitarian efforts. In her moving speech, she spoke about how she never understood why some people are born in a sheltered environment, while across the world there’s a woman just like her who has the same abilities and dreams, only she sits in a refugee camp. She is a victim of rape, abuse and violence. And she has no voice.
I have been brought up in a very fortunate environment. I have never felt inferior to any of my male contemporaries. Neither have any of the males I have encountered in my life made me feel uncomfortable or unworthy. I have done almost every single thing my male best friend has done in his life. I am turning 21 this year, yet the only time my parents bring up marriage is to annoy me.
But there must be another Sailee Sansgiri in this country. Another Sailee Sansgiri who wasn’t as fortunate as me and is now shackled. Another Sailee who was married off at 17. Another Sailee sansgiri who wishes to raise her voice, but is unable to do so. A Sailee sansgiri who dreams about a better world. Similarly, there must be another girl who is struggling against her eve teasers every day. Another starry eyed girl who could be a victim of domestic violence. Another dreamer who wishes for a change. But they have no voice.
I am no Martin Luther king Jr. I am no Jawarharlal Nehru. I am no Margaret thatcher. I cannot dream about changing this nation in a jiffy. But I can do what’s in my power to improve the nation.
I have a dream. I have a vision. A vision of an India which respects its women. A vision of an India where no prejudices exist. An India where feminism isn’t frowned upon. An india that will make any woman feel proud of the fact that yes, she was born a woman. And this can be achieved if every individual in this country learns how to protect, respect and cherish women. If every individual fully supports women’s rights and does his bit. An amazing example of this was how people got together after the unfortunate Nirbhaya case. How millions of individuals gathered, prayed and protested for someone when they didn’t even know her name. but, Nirbhaya is the only victim who has received justice in 2013. Her case is the only rape case that has been fast tracked. If the country can get together in such a powerful way and force the government to act, why can’t this happen every day?
Why should there be only one Indira Gandhi, one Kirad Bedi, one Indra Nyogi? What about that little girl who dreams about being an astronaut? Why can’t her dreams be brought to life?
If all of us work together, hand in hand, change WILL occur.
As Margaret Mead said, “Never doubt, that a small group of thoughtful, caring citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”