Saturday, 7 March 2015

The Fallacy of Women's Day

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We’ll be celebrating Women’s Day tomorrow. Women’s Day. But not Night, because we all know that a decent Indian woman must not have any existence to the outside world after 6:30.

It is downright disgusting to note how supposedly educated men throw up the words “Indian Culture” as if it were an impenetrable curtain that must be accepted without objection or clarification. Whilst our leaders talk of progress and development, their mindsets are still stuck in the medieval age. The scariest part of this is that these men who run the country actually believe what they say – that it is up to a girl to ensure her own safety, that men are allowed a little mischief every once in a while, that provocation justifies assault.

Development does not only amount to generating greater revenue. Development is a state of mind. It is a society where every resident is secure, where everybody gets their rights, and where the authority is mature enough to confront its true issues without bringing up the imaginary “Indian Culture” trump card.

What culture do these men hope to proliferate? Our culture is defined by our actions. We touch an elder’s feet in respect – that becomes part of our culture. We eat curry based food – that becomes part of our culture. We rape women and dump their bleeding bodies off buses – that becomes part of our culture. It is time we faced the brutal reality of our situation.

News in Shorts reports the condition of Indian women in an Asia Pacific comparison

There are times when I find it really tough to be proud of my country. India is embroiled in controversy regarding violence towards women, rapes, indecency and a host of other issues every single day. We are living in a country where a woman is told to look over her shoulder, to “not bring it upon herself”. A man, however, is imparted no responsibility in this prospect. In poor, uneducated pockets of the country, the subjugation of women is an everyday phenomenon. And every time any incident happens that breaches a woman’s security, some politician comes up and puts the blame on the victim. She was out too late. Her clothes were too skimpy. Her manner was provocative. She was asking for it.

And in spite of the gloom, we will celebrate International Women’s Day tomorrow. We will copy inspirational women’s empowerment quotes off the internet, and paste them on our Facebook timelines. We will talk of the innumerable contributions by women to every field imaginable. We will show overwhelming respect for a day, almost as if that balances out the cruelty meted out to helpless women every other day of the year. We will pretend that the world is a bed of roses. We will, once again, choose to ignore our problems, sweeping them under the carpet instead.

After all, that is our culture. 

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