Ask any man who’s the most special person in his life? More than 90% chances are that his reply is going to be either of Mother, wife or daughter. In Indian culture, women have always enjoyed a special place – from Goddesses (Durga, Laxmi, Saraswati, Kali, Vaishnodevi , Parvati or hundreds of other manifestations, to Queens (Rani Laxmi Bai) to poetesses and artists ( Mahashweta Devi, MS Subbalaxmi, Lata, Asha, Amrita Shergill, Begum Akhtar, Noorjahan) to saints (Mirabai, Mother Teresa, Ma Amritānandamayī) to leaders ( Indira Gandhi, Margret Thatcher, Golda Meir, Bhandaranayeke) to our own Grannies, mothers and daughters! Ironically, it’s in this country only that we have victimised our own mothers and daughters through retrograde practices such as sati, dowry system, barring menstruating women from kitchens and temples, purdah system, unequal status in family and society- it’s a long list again- in fact, longer than the laudatory status of women mentioned above.
However, with education, social awareness and general unfavourable male-female ratio, women and girls are surely getting the respect and recognition that they richly deserve. Recently, three large banks had three leaders leading these institutions at the same time- Arundhati, Shikha and Chandra! Sheila Dikshit, who expired recently is fondly remembered whenever one speaks of Delhi and it’s pride- metro network! Indira Nooyi, Vinita Bali, Kiran Mazumdar and the list is endless – these are all top industrial leaders purely on meritocracy and not by any favour! And the trend is only going northwards with more and more women becoming careerists, successfully managing home and children with their full time jobs!
Without going into history of international women’s day, it’s genesis or significance, which can be easily googled, let me give a slightly different perspective to women on this day:
(1) Can we respect prostitutes and recognise it as an industry? After all, World’s oldest profession may not be the noblest, but it will definitely serve an objective- respect women of all creeds, which will obliterate the social evil of rape ! Compulsive sex starved guys can then go to an official channel to give vent to their urges rather than destroying the lives of innocent girls!
(2) Can we restore the licenses of dance bars? When courts have given go ahead, who are these moralists to object? Hundreds of women can showcase their talent of dance and glamour in a respectable, open and civilised manner rather than disguising themselves and making themselves vulnerable to exploitation by rogues and arrest by Police!
(3) Can we provide some social security to maids, household helps, baby sitters by buying them health or life insurance and sponsoring education of their children?
(4) Can we help our mothers, daughters and wives by sharing domestic responsibilities equally rather than watching TV and reading newspaper and expecting them to do all the chores?
It just requires a change in the thought process- otherwise it would just be a lip service to women to celebrate their existence this day once a year and be back to all dogmatic reprehensible behaviour mentioned above for other 364 days!
Happy International Women’s Day to all the women – daughters, mothers, wives, professionals ! For you are not just giver of life, but you also add colour and substance to life!