Women, Upholders of Family’s Honour… Why?

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The honour of a family is the responsibility of every woman of the house while the men are there just to enjoy and take pride of that honour. Isn’t it strange? No, it is not; at least not in our society. The world has progressed a lot and so has the Indian society but when it comes to the treatment between man and woman we are still following the old school thoughts. Indians claim of equality but for the sake of ‘saying’. In actuality the same old trend of treating men superior is so deeply inherent in our mentality that at one or the other place it is visible.

Let us explore this topic through some commonly seen examples around us. Today, the society has given liberty to people to choose their life partners by themselves but still in large proportion we can see that girls are denied this liberty despite belonging to an educated family. In that case, reputation of the family becomes of paramount importance and the girl is forced to marry to the person of her father’s choice. Why is family’s reputation burdened on a woman’s shoulder? We all have heard about the term ‘honour killing’, and if we look at it more closely then we can easily find out that it is just because the girl denies to follow patriarchal orders blindfolded, she has to face her doom and so does the person she marries to.

‘Honour killing’ is mostly seen from the side of the girl’s family. While on the other hand, if a son of the same family marries someone of his own choice, he is accepted by his family members. Now, let us move towards the most hideous issue of our society, that is, ‘rape’. It is quite shocking to observe that after a girl is raped, society’s attitude towards her changes completely. Instead of providing her with sympathy and solace, people hurl at her floods of inappropriate comments and criticism. Society instead of standing against the victimiser, inflict their judgemental views upon the girl’s character and at the end hold her responsible for the whole situation.

People don’t even hesitate once in commenting that the western dress up that today women have adopted, provokes men and therefore they are raped. SHAME ON SUCH PEOPLE!! The very people who themselves follow western lifestyle make such comments. This doesn’t end here; even the victim’s family sometimes step back in voicing against the crime and do not report also. The sole reason for such behaviour is that they are afraid that this news would put the family’s honour at stake and they won’t be able to show their faces to the society. I mean c’mon, it is not the girl’s fault but the guy who raped her. He should be ashamed of his evil intention not the innocent girl. It is very disheartening to know the truth of society where a woman cannot seek help anywhere just because she is a “woman”. People have forgotten that a woman is not someone who lives just to endure ‘woes’ inflicted upon her by this patriarchal society.

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Girls are not allowed to make male friends and as the society doesn’t approve it while a boy is given all the freedom of the world to make as many female friends or girlfriends he wants. A guy who has many girlfriends is addressed with the term ‘playboy’ and he takes proud in that while if a girl hangs out with her guy friends, she is considered a slut in the eyes of society. HATS OFF to such people. Women are barred to step out of the foul walls of house late at night even if it is for their office work as they will be risking the honour of the family, whereas men are answerable to nobody if they go out of the house, however late it might be. When is this difference going to end completely? Why can’t people tell men not to misbehave with women? Why are women made to sacrifice everywhere on terms of family’s respect and reputation? Why aren’t men taught not to rape women? Why are only women given the lessons to preserve honour of the family and not men?

It is very hard to conjecture when these questions would be answered. Women have been struggling with these shackles of society ever since patriarchy was established. In the epic like Ramayana which is considered quite idealistic, couldn’t remain untouched from this. Sita was abandoned just for one reason that she was not with her husband for some days and since she was carrying with her the entire honour of her husband and his family, she had to pass through the fire test. But think once, was that really needed? No, it wasn’t, it was just to show the society, setting an example of preserving family’s honour at any cost. Even in the Mahabharata, it is claimed that the whole battle was fought just to take revenge for Draupadi’s honour. But I want to throw some light to the fact that animosity between the two clans was right from the beginning and the battle was also driven by the sheer force of this animosity and therefore, they just took Draupadi’s insult as the weapon to take out all their revengeful intentions.

As we therefore see, these differences between men and women are present in the society from the initial point. Women are seen as a metaphor to family’s honour, they are not given an individual identity rather seen as the objects to be controlled by men. Their personal choice and voice is time and again ignored. But now the society has to understand that women too have life of their own and they should not be burdened with family as well as society’s honour.

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