“India’s independence from the Raj has little to do with the freedom of its women” says a FirstPost article. My thought as it is.
And if you are a woman living in a Metro in India saying this, a casual friend next to you might turn to you asking “What’s the big deal babe? Aren't you free here? Are you not doing what you want to do?” The question is not that. The problem ain't that simple.
Or worse, when a woman says she can’t be free, or she is feeling unsafe in the society, a big bunch of clowns are willing to tell her (for free, of course!) how she should be ‘behaving’ to keep herself out of trouble. And if she does end up in trouble, it will be because of her own actions of noncompliance. (Ya, right!)
But the real point is certainly missed. Who is addressing the freedom of a woman being curbed within the ‘safe’ or rather ‘unsafe’ social models that have been set up centuries ago for women? Within the walls of established institutions – of marriage, of family and of ____ (can fill anything here, that a girl needs to a part of. Even suhaag raat, oops is it okay to say it?)
A 20-something girl wearing her low waist jeans and walking with her iPhone in hands might think that she has all the freedom in the world, until the day comes when she makes her career and life choices. She is given a zillion instructions on what she ‘can’ do and what she ‘cannot’; and these come only in subtle ways that demand a change in the very way she lives and looks at life. And these need not be sexual or physical abuses like the cases of rape and molestation which make media go haywire.
These could be as subtle as:
‘a husband constantly comparing the taste of the food she prepares versus what his mum used to’ (whereas the bugger could have made his own maggi in the first place, given that he was only Facebook-ing anyway!) OR
‘an in-law mother advising on the phone on better ways of taking care of her son and of course, herself too’ (is he a toddler or something?) OR
‘a long last friend bumping into her to ask the first important question of how many babies has she produced?’ (Indian population Zindabad!)
From that moment on wards, the modern Indian woman is caught in constant turmoil of fulfilling her needs and trying to fulfill what everyone else needs of her.
The smiles, the gentleness, the emotions and the several moments of awesomeness that only a woman can add to human life is something nobody can live without! Yet, societal demand reduces her to a ‘sophisticated’ coolie or a ‘drop-dead gorgeous’ housemaid and overlooks what she is naturally very good at – adding love to life.
The immense idea of ‘modernity’ that has crept into the country (Yes, we are a modern nation now!) still remains only in shallow pursuits – of how to dress or where to get drunk tonight. Rather, a modern society should be something that will adapt itself to the changing times without losing its core – which is respect for people (I guess!).
Falling at elders’ feet doesn't guarantee respect for them in heart, and worshiping female god forms doesn't guarantee that the girl passing by the road will not be judged for what she chose to wear. The words ‘Modernity’ and ‘Independence’ if let to resonate deeper, could mean that the women around you are as much a human as you are, and hate to be told what to do and what not to, unless they are collectively planning a murder. (Grr.. One won’t be enough, in that case!)