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Aam Aurat

Hello My Pretty Pretty Lovelies Out There,

First of all I would like to take this opportunity and wish all my lovely ladies out there a Belated Happy Women’s Day. That being said throughout my adolescence I haven’t really been a big fan of the day. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for ‘women empowerment’ but to designate one mere day to celebrate women according to me is an abysmal travesty. But then I realized in India there are plenty festivals which involve worshiping Goddesses and that too seems  an aspirational   ‘women empowerment’ module. Well of sorts. I deduce that I have met my predicament half way and say that this is an opportunity to assign one specific day to celebrate womanhood.

I think that settles my introspective debate I keep having.

Women today across most sectors are pioneering cult personalities and paving  a way for us to assimilate into what I’d like to call ‘the man’s world’. Most of these keys figures have had to push and shove and reach where they have while in tandem juggling with their family lives. I have been working for what, a year now, and boy oh boy, has the work taken a toll on my life. I am physically incapable of taking care of myself after work. I CRAVE weekends to get household chores done. While these women not only struggled their way through careers, most of the times being mocked and scoffed at, while also sustaining an equilibrium at the home front.Kudos to you.

Lots to learn from them I must say.

While that is the bright side of the day, these are also the times where I hear and read more rampantly about rape cases then I did probably 10 years ago. One particular case that got my attention was of a 15 year old girl who was raped and then set on fire. When I read about it, I was utterly speechless and dumbfounded. I had enraged beyond human comprehension and I wondered what happened to the Justice Verma recommendations which were proposed after the Nirbhaya incident? What happened to the zeal and enthusiasm of the common folk with which they revolted against barbaric and archaic rape laws in our country? Had that fervor subdued over the incessant repetitiveness  of such ‘cases’. I suppose that is what it has become today: ‘a case’.

I think what bugs me more is when I hear “Bhagwaan ka shukar hai mere saath nahi hua/humaari beti ke saath nahi hua” or the self-confessed intellectuals conveniently turning a blind eye towards news like this. I mean for me at the least, whenever I read or hear about such news, I feel someone has mentally raped me, I feel as though someone has mentally stripped me naked and subjected me to a violent act of mental rape,’cause this X person has. He has scarred me.He is scarring me.

And here I am celebrating Women’s Day. While I could be ‘doing something’ about sociopaths like these. I feel at a crossroad on most days when I think of this issue frankly. On one hand, the women force in India is progressing forward shoulder to shoulder with men while there is this issue where the women in the society endure regressive pressure of tradition, customs and such injustice. (Yes! I would like to bracket some of these redundant traditions and customs with the injustice of rape.)

Why do we go to temples when we do not worship the ‘Devis’ residing in our homes? Why do we call ‘Bhaarat’ our ‘Mata’ when we treat Her with utter disrespect? Why do we talk of being protective of our mothers, daughters and sisters when we disrespect the mothers, daughters and sisters of others? Why?

I think I would like to partially blame patriarchy here. We are all victims of it. We think that albeit a woman is working it is HER fundamental duty to the chores at home. We think albeit she is making money, she should not be making MORE money than the boy/husband she is with. We think that after producing a child, it is HER fundamental duty to put her career rust in sabbatical. While on the same hand we also think that MEN should be fundamental strong and care-takers. We also think that MEN should not be emotional and shedding tears qualifies as ‘sissy/feminine’ behavior. We also think that MEN sharing their feelings conveniently retrogrades them as ‘weak individuals.’ We think that MEN are the bread-winners while the women are the ‘HOME-MAKERS’. WE DECIDE THESE ROLES. Does a child through his/her formative years know that he/she is a he/she? We make him/her a him or a her. I think this archaic parameter of role definition and corresponding ‘Sanskar-ism’ based on the gender should be done away with. We need to teach our kids to be good human beings firstly before we define them based on their gender. I think that is enough gyaan for the day. Ain’t it?

Well, that being said,  I would like to end this post by raising a toast to all those lovely ladies out there struggling to define themselves as (primarily as) people in this vastly divided world (primarily based on gender, then religion, caste, creed, state, class etc) and to all the men out there aspiring to be emotionally sensitive (in their own funky ways). To all of you celebrating the ‘Aam Aurat’ : Cheers for better times to come. Here’s to hoping of a ‘Bharat Mata’ living up to the great burden of Her Name.
Cheers.

The Second Sex

“One is not born,but rather becomes a woman” is a quote that I thought was meant for the 1940s or 50s when it was written and published.If you are not aware of this book,THE SECOND SEX is a take on feminism by the eminent author Simon de Beauvoir.

If you are a resident of India,then you are quite familiar with the grind that girls are supposedly ‘not safe’ here.It is not safe for them to step out alone after hours,they ought go around traversing,loitering around late at night,alone or even with company for that matter.

If you have recently been reading the paper you must have read about the infamous Delhi gang rape.And I need not go into details about it,not that enough has not been said.

This post is not primarily about that.It is about THE SECOND SEX.Women even in the 22nd century are a subjugated class.Nations might be progressing economically,but the status of woman in the society has remained stagnant.We,the educated class who claim that this is not the case,if for that matter once you have asked your daughter,sister,mother,girl friend to not wear a certain kind of attire,or asked her to ‘behave like a girl/woman’,or for that matter not allowed her to have sexual partners of her choice according to her whims and fancies,and not judged her or a third person and stereotyped her a ‘slut/whore’ once,well,if this has NEVER been the case with you,I bow before you my Lord,because you truly treat all humans equally,but like me,if you are part of the masses,our education has been of no avail,and we are simply hypocritical.

There should be no shame in admitting that we all treat the women of our lives unequally most of the times,please note I said ‘unequally’ and not discriminated against,because either we are excessively chivalrous with the women or we are entirely oppressing them.There is no balance of probability in our treatment of women.Rare are the occasions when the women are treated equally.

We see our domestic helpers toiling each day,working day in and day out,to feed their drunkard husbands and infant kids only to be abused by them.But lets not discuss the uneducated class right now,we can’t expect much out of them either.They are merely following the tradition that women are the binding force of the household.

We who claim ourselves to be educated talk of ’emancipation of women’.Well,um,frankly,if the term emancipation is referred for women,the first inference is that they are not free,if I am not wrong,but the Constitution of India declares us a Democracy with Article 14 stating Equality for all irrespective of gender,caste,creed et cetra.Ergo,we in our minds believe that women are not free.They are still bound by the clutches of conventions and traditions.They suffer,toil and endure and it is their fundamental duty to do so,yet they should be emancipated.So,what is this emancipation from is the question that perpetually bothers me?

By the law of the land the women are free,but in practice nothing has changed now,has it?Even if women are progressing,stepping out of the house and working shoulder to shoulder with men,they are expected to take care of their children along with their jobs.The usual notion is ‘ladki ab ikkis saal ki ho gayi hai,shaadi karva do iski'(your daughter has turned 21,you ought to get her married now,before it is too late).Curfew timings are different for boys and girls in the same household.The girls are inherently expected to be ‘more responsible’ to their sexual counterparts.And the examples are endless.

This notion of emancipation is the creation of the mind.It is in the mind that the difference between a boy and a girl is set.No new born is aware whether it has a vagina or a penis,or what is its purpose,we as society teach these infants the difference between the sexes.We create notions of inequality in their minds,feed the brain the nutrition of gender,nurture the differences and once they are set in stone for good,in order to sound educated,’permissive’ and liberal we speak of such notions of emancipation which are absolutely bogus or merely of declaratory nature with no implementation.

According to me,five men did not rape that girl,WE,the society did,we are constantly raping the girl child who was killed when she was a fetus,who was killed when she was a new born,who is constantly killed each and every day of her life by being treated unequally as opposed to her sexual counterpart.We are also raping the working women,who supposedly are free,but are bound by fear in mind,we are raping those women too who relentlessly endure domestic violence to avoid shame from society.Also we rape the housewives who hold no value in the eyes of husband and kids.Also,we rape the old women of our households who have lived as the ‘second sex’ all their lives,and they are consequently raping their generations by feeding such notions in their grand-daughters and feline relatives alike.

The fact that a woman is not safe in a city like Delhi is not her fault,it is ours.The fact that she is perpetually living in fear and is constantly terrorized by her sexual counterparts just because she has a hole in her body that can gratify her male counterpart’s sexual needs is just grotesque.

My vagina appalls me,it makes me loathe the fact that I was born as a girl in a country like India.

I am the Second Sex.In my body,and in my mind.

Happy International Womens’ Day?

I have the worst timing in the world.And now it cannot be restricted solely to my jokes.This post was intended to be penned on March 8,2011,so do accept my sincere apologies.

I remember this quote from Simon de Beauvoir’s ‘The Second Sex’,”A woman is not born but becomes a woman.”Bewildering as it sounds,even in the 22nd century,it stands true.

With the escalating rate of female foeticide/infanticide not just in agrarian states of Haryana and Punjab but in the posh belt of South Delhi.With the escalating rate of rape and assault in the city as well as day to day molestation.’Saddi Dilli’ is the most feared destination for all us female inhabitants.

Restraining myself to the capital city would do injustice to all the complacent women of the small,unknown villages scattered over the country.I reckon going to a village called Byasi where I learnt that girls usually walk 5-10 kilometers in order to reach school and after they reach back home while their brothers are busy playing they provide aid to their mothers in the household chores.Yet,some girls are not as lucky either.

The parda-laden women hiding the scars enduring the wrath their husbands lay upon them so conveniently is not merely a myth,but a shattering reality.My latest find,is from ‘7 Khoon Maaf’ where some men with monsters beneath hide under the garb of ‘softer’ exterior.

It truly devastates me whenever the gender is discriminated against.A girl who has a boy friend must have a ‘loose character’ while a boy/man with many is worthy of a pat on the back.Silly example I know.(I always wanted to mention this one somewhere.)

The funny thing is really,on the day when the world celebrates Happy International Womens’ Day,the men whine that the entire year belongs to them why celebrate this day?Ridiculous? True!

I have never been a big fan of Womens’ Day,but this year,it proved to be an irony of sorts.The murder of Radhika Tanwar was not a shock.Yes!curse me if you please.I was not really shocked.The sorry state of affairs in the country’s capital has resulted in a pitiful state of my mind.

Radhika Tanwar’s murder on Womens’ Day is symbolic of the state of women in my beloved city.The beloved capital is symbolic of my beloved country.Yet I acquisce my heart and soul that we do not suffer as much as we read about in feminist texts or even the books penned by the Arabian princesses.

Do excuse me for I did not intend to mock this day.I am merely an agnostic when it comes to Womens’ Day.

My silver lining?As mentioned yesterday,they did manage to find the psychotic murderer.

The silver lining however lies in the fact that even though as women we need to prove our mettle in quadrople than men,the world is progressing.If there are ghoonghat-laden women there are also women who manage their home in tandem with their hectic jobs.The rate of girls’ being educated has increased drastically,where they are not considered as the traditional liability but an asset.The abject state os affairs is not an illusion but nor is the progressive womenfolk.

From the Chief Minister of the capital city to the C.E.O. of a multinational,women are leaving their indelible mark across the entire country,across the entire globe.

“A woman is” surely “not born but becomes a woman”,to shoulder the responsibilities that no ‘man’ can.

Cheers to Womanhood.=)

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