Anubhooti Panda for BeyondHeadlines
Had I been writing this piece few days back, my topic would have been a little different. I would have written something on the lines of what an irony it is to celebrate the International Women’s Day in a country where a majority of women do not have access to education and live a life that is majorly governed by the norms of the society and how it is still a long way before we can celebrate the spirit of womanhood in its true sense; but only if I was writing that particular day.
Events in the past few days have forced me to take a re-look at the world around me, to understand that it is not about education, spreading awareness, and equal rights for women, guaranteeing them the dignity and the respect that they deserve. No… in a society where a girl amidst the crowd is shot dead in broad daylight by her stalker, where every day a girl is being raped in some part of the country and where some couples or the other are being killed in the name of ‘honour’, expecting a woman to get an equal footing is like asking a toddler to win a marathon.
It is not about the dignity and empowerment. For the women living in the capital, it is about their basic survival. It is about taking a bus ride without being pushed around and touched everywhere. It is about working late at night without getting worried about how to get back home. It is about walking on the streets without getting to hear even a single derogatory remark about her. It is about being able to sleep at night without worrying about the same challenges to be faced the next day.
On the International Women’s Day, the virtual world was rife with messages acknowledging women as the backbone of the society. Newspapers talked about great women achievers. TV programs paid tribute to the Naari Shakti (women empowerment). I am not undermining any of these efforts, but it is hard not to be left bemused seeing these superficial attempts. I am sorry to be a skeptic, but I am sure that the struggle will continue post March 8 as well. Eve teasing would still be as rampant as it was before, incidents of rape will continue to be a major part of the news and honour killing would continue to remain an accepted way of taking care of the “strayed” daughter.
In the crime capital of the country, the International Women’s Day proves to be the best opportunity for us to pause for a minute and retrospect.
Can we imagine a world without women? There would be no tears of joys, no dance in the rain, no hues of colour, no silly questions, no dumb answers, no unconditional love, no motherhood and definitely no to massage the vain male ego. If for you, the world seems a better place without women, go ahead…. With your deeds, question the existence of fair sex…. But if you want to see the world through the rainbow prism, do not wait for a Women’s Day to express your gratitude. Do it now. Give women the freedom to walk alone on the street, the courage to work late at night, the strength to be their own boss and the love to be who they are.