Saturday, December 02, 2006

Tied Down

We'd be blind to believe that gender inequality ain't prevalent in one of the world's largest democracies - India. In a subtle, yet harsh way, women continue to be silenced. Women might not have to wear a veil and bow down, yet in every word, every inch of their lives, they are reminded to lie low and not threaten the men folk.

We often associate gender inequality with countries like Afghanistan or Pakistan, where women are asked to follow a certain decorum to please the society. However, even in a country like ours, which boastes of secularism, one is baffled to watch how a hidden agenda crushes women, even before she can stand up to voice her feelings.

I fail to comprehend why men are perpetually paranoid that women might take a step ahead of him. One would hope that such male chauvinistic ideas were buried in history. However, its skeletons continue to haunt us, drilling home the fact that we are still tied down despite achieving independence.

You'd think that gender discrimination maybe more prevelant in the villages, where lack of education may forced many to face the whip without letting out a cry, possibly, because they are unaware about their rights. However, it is shocking to witness similar cases in urban India as well, where educated or not, women still feel comfortable to hide behind their veils.

The last few weeks opened two cases, where the women preferred to remain mum, only to cover the evil of a man's doing.

Bharati Yadav is a brave woman no doubt, yet she was forced to succumb to the pressures of her family... to project a truth that wasn't. For aeons, she hid from reality and remained bottled up in the UK. However, when law finally got hold of her, she appeared in court, only to lie. Despite knowing good from bad, she played along not wanting to bring justice to her "friend" Nitish Katara, who was murderer by her own brother. And Katara's only sin was that he loved Bharati.

She might have had her reasons to play along, maybe she'd seen how the system could be manipulated. And maybe she feared the same fate if she'd chosen to fight her own family. Whatever the reasons, her haunting silence cost Katara's mother, her only hope for justice.

Another cursed victim in this fight for justice is Mrs Rahul Mahajan. Despite revealing her bruises from a "broken" marriage for a specific media houses, she was unable to speak up when the media came rushing to her doorstep for a glimpse of the truth.

Understandable that her in-laws are high-profile, but that doesn't give her the levy to lie. She is no different from a woman in the village, who silently faces her husband's beatings without voicing her unhappiness.

At a time, when the law has extended its hands with the Domestic Violence Act. Why are "high-profile" woman like her afraid to seek help? Does law and education not determine a woman's diginity and freedom?

Both Bharati and Shweta are brave, no doubt. They have tried hard to make the world believe a lie. They might believe that their actions saved the sanctity of their families. But no matter how many times they repeat a lie, it doesn't become the truth. And no society can survive on such blatant lies.

It's highly frustrating when educated women shy away from taking responsibilites for their actions and are scared to fight the system. If we all take the backseat and not fight for what is truly ours, then this world would never progress, and we would continue to live in shackles.


Anonymous Ramya said...

Hi Antrum Tantrum. I enjoy reading your blog, hope you continue.

7:12 AM  

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