8th March is celebrated as International Women’s Day. In 1917, women were subjected to lot of suffering in Russia and hence 8th March became a National Holiday there. In 1975, United Nations adopted it as International Women’s Day and prior to this it was mainly celebrated in communist and socialist countries.
What’s a woman to us? Is she only a mother, sister, daughter or a wife? Is she inferior to man in some senses? These are oft asked but highly cliched questions! The fact of the matter is that a woman is an independent entity, who, in all senses, is at par with man. Today’s woman is an achiever to be seen everywhere – in corporate world, social sector, civil services as also defence! Gone are the days when an odd Golda Meir or Indira Gandhi would become a State head and inspire awe! Today, whether it’s Angela Merkel or Theresa May in Europe, Aung San Suu Kyi or Sonia Gandhi in Asia or one of the corporate leaders of US, women leaders can be routinely seen in all the fields without anyone raising eyebrows. Till very recently, the Indian Banking sector was being ruled by a troika of powerful female bankers – Arundhati, Chanda and Shikha.
I have personally been exposed to very strong female personalities. Right from my mother – an artist having distinguished career as a singer but a very strict and no nonsense mother, to my wife – speaks her mind, is extremely bold and fearless, to my daughter – fiercely independent, to my grandmas- homemakers with great worldly wisdom and strong ethics, to my friends – tremendous fighting spirit, refusing to cave in to any adversity and the list is quite long. Having been raised and having lived under such strong feminine influence, I may sound a little partial to the fair sex, but it’s not without a reason. I have always maintained that home making is a full time, under rated and underpaid job, but those ladies, who are full time professional and who demand no concessions at work for their domestic chores (which are inevitable) deserve my heartfelt salutation! The male chauvinist pigs do lament about inadequate contributions by their lady colleagues at certain critical stages of their lives- child birth, raising the children, important milestones of children- when they require a break! What they don’t realise is the naturalness of these events (without which the mankind will not survive) and the need to delink such natural events from the overall intellect and professional competence of a woman! My daughter, a thorough professional who has become mother for a second time recently is a live example of someone beautifully balancing professional and motherhood related responsibilities!
Discrimination between son and daughter, foeticide, purdah system, dowry, rituals entailing superiority of male over female are blot on this nation that has always worshipped the feminine manifestation of God as Devi. But these evils are mercifully fast getting abolished thanks to spread of education and literacy. Some heavily patriarchal societies like Haryana. Punjab and Rajasthan are already facing the calamity arising out of female foeticide! For me, as aforesaid, the experience has been replete with instances where females have made the difference or have remained mainstay of the family!
If we go by all the above, women don’t deserve a specific day to be reserved to honour them; they merit honour every day every moment! However, such days do serve a purpose of reminding us of certain special things that we tend to take for granted in our daily lives. As an Urdu couplet loosely translated as under, says:
The world is beautiful because of women,
For they make it lovely and glorious;
Eulogy to them shouldn’t be restricted to a day;
The entire humanity should express gratitude each day!!!
Happy International Women’s Day to all women – not because Durga, Kali, Indira, Benazir, Asma, Rani Laxmibai, Mother Teresa are all women – but because each one of our mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, fisher women and vegetable vendors, household maids , teachers and our office colleagues – all the women whom we meet or deal with in our daily lives without acknowledging their hard work, diligence, effort and contribution!