On The Other Side Of Silence: The Subtle Irony Of Being A Woman!

Sanskrit, the mother of all Indian languages describes women in the following manner:

Karyesu Mantri

Karmesu Dasi

Rupesu Laksmi

Ksamaya Dharitr

Snehesu Mata

Sayanesu Vesya

Sadkarma Nari Kuladharma patni (Pillai)

By which, the saying literally means that an ideal woman should be a minister in practical affairs, a slave in action, Goddess Lakshmi in beauty, mother earth in patience and  a prostitute in bed and so on.

This is how women have been treated for years and years. We have crossed centuries and ages in India, behind the myth that women here, are treated as Goddess Lakshmi, the four armed goddess of wealth, often depicted holding lotus flowers and an overflowing pot of gold. But where exactly have we reached? We have definitely ‘evolved’ from living as saints and hermits to a well civilised person, but this mythical concept of an ideal woman never changed. Do women get the same freedom? Think about it. Surely, we have come from using pigeons as a source of postman to email’s and messages, but the treatment of women never changed.

The very fact that I have to say ‘treatment’ of women is proof enough that we live in a gender biased society. She isn’t a commodity; she is a separate human being who has her own rights and freedom, who never needs to ask her father, brother, husband, boyfriend, fiance, father-in-law or any male relative for that matter for any single thing. She has the right to live the way she wants to.

It is her life, it is her choice!!

As a male, we tend to get offended by this. Why not? It hurts our ego. We have stuck with this Sanskrit concept of an ‘ideal women’ only because it suits us and not her. We never stuck up with the concept of

“Tvamev Mata Cha Pita Tvamev

Tvamev bandhu sakha tvamev

Tvamev vidya dravidam tvamev

Tvamev sarvam mama dev dev”

The virtuous thing we don’t accept and keep with ourselves, but the thing which should have changed years ago, is still with us. How many of you would dedicate this shloka to your parents today? I mean, yes you love them, and for now you might say that yes you would say this for them but honestly, think of it, would you literally go and say this to them? That you are everything to me?

But this other definition of ideal women seems to have stayed with us longer, way longer than it needed to be with us. The shloka was written ages ago, we have come a long way from it and we truly need to let that belief go. What happened in the yesterday, was in the past, it no longer needs to be with us. This has been our belief always, in everything except for this matter. Sure, women have been done wrong for ages in the past, but it does not need to remain so! Change is the constant!!!!

We don’t follow the old age rules any longer mentioned in the books of Manusmriti, Ramayana, Mahabharata or any other epic or myth then why do we still stick up for this age old saying.

In reality India’s women are discriminated against, abused and even killed on a scale unparalleled.

It’s a miracle a woman survives in India. Even before she is born, she is at the risk of being aborted due to our obsessions for sons.

As a child she faces abuse, rape and early marriage, and even when she marries, she is killed and abused for dowry. If she survives all of this, as a widow she is discriminated against and harassed for no fault of her own.

Any single one of you cannot deny that this does not happen in India, with or without the statistics.

Oh don’t even start me on statistics. You say that the numbers are reducing. I don’t believe it, because the old school person that I am, still likes to read newspapers instead of apps, and every day that I open the paper, I find headlines with ‘3 year raped and murdered’ ‘Women gang raped and dumped’ ‘A 100 year old raped, found dead’. We have crossed all boundaries, my friend. The gender doesn’t matter to men, but so does the number. These psychopaths have not spared any one, they select their predators from varying ages, from months old baby to a century old woman, and they have no guilt inside of them. A little girl who doesn’t even know that she will be able to speak one day, goes through something, which she will never know was wrong, and a woman who has seen everything, has greyed over all shades of life, sometimes is yet to see something more gruesome.

Seriously, are we evolving or are we simply going back to becoming animals?

Oh, no, I am not pointing at you, I am just stating the facts. You might not have done anything wrong.

But have you stopped anyone from doing this wrong?

Coming to an absolutely different perspective. I am still ashamed to see that we still have people blaming women for the things that occur to her. I mean, she gets raped “She was wearing obscene clothes”, she gets molested, “She was talking to men on the road, late in the night.” I mean if talking to someone in the night, or wearing revealing clothes is the issue then why are men never raped when wearing shorts or talking to a female in the middle of the night?

They talk of lose values. I don’t understand what are exactly loose values? The fact that a woman wears jeans or the fact that a man stares at her in a way which makes her uncomfortable to a point that she feels horrible to be born as a woman?

For god’s sake, and it is not even about wearing jeans. Bring me one woman, who says that she wears only sarees and suits and has never been mistreated and looked upon with hungry eyes.

Molestation and rapes are an issue here, accept it, and the sooner we change it the better for us.

Come to think of it, the trouble is not only from the unknown males; the women are not safe inside their own homes. Now, where do you think the problem lies?

“Don’t wear this, don’t go there. Don’t do this.” What if someone says this to a man? Would he follow this? Wouldn’t he be angry?

Yeah? Then women feel so too. It’s as simple as that.

A man wouldn’t like to be told what he should do, what he should wear, what career options he can pursue, what is the time by which he has to get home, then how would a woman like this?

She is just another human being whom we need to respect, that is all. She needs nothing else from us. She can be secure in her own regard, only if we as men change ourselves, because I don’t think she needs any kind of change in herself. She is marvelous.

She is beyond colour, shapes and sizes, beyond the colour pink, beyond kitchen walls, beyond the way she speaks and dresses up, she is who owns power, she is who can never be suppressed. She is who keeps on fighting. She is a free bird who celebrates herself every single day.

She is the woman, of whom, some men have been afraid, which is why they have been suppressing her.

We as a society need to stop this dominance, and let her fly of her own will.

In conclusion, I would only say that I might not have brought forward any new point here, but all I hope in return is a new outcome the result of which would be a happy and free woman.

PS: This post is written form a male point of view, as a hope and belief that there are some men who think this to be true, and want to see the change which women have been dying to see since ages!!

By Moushmi Radhanpara

PicsArt_07-27-07.36.26

Forever in Captivity

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Moushmi Radhanpara is one of my favourite bloggers who pens down wonderful prose and poetry here. You can also follow her on Twitter & Instagram.

On the Other End of Silence is a new category on my blog that focuses on gender issues where I am inviting posts from everyone who is willing to contribute. If you have something to say, whether personal or fictional, positive or negative, a rant or a suggestion, you can mail me your entries at pseudomonazz@gmail.com(Contact). There are no rejections, no prizes, no rules and no word-limits, just a platform to voice your opinions.

To Be A Woman…

I think I need to write today,

For I saw a woman with a broken spine,

And an unsound mind,

Talk about her daughters,

Who were beaten up for dowry.

I think I need to write today,

For I saw poverty, in its feminine form,

Passing on from generations,

Women going through cycles of abuse,

Neglect and exploitation

Only to be reminded that they are nothing

but machines to produce children.

I think I need to write today,

For there is nothing else I can do,

To reassure a woman and a mother,

That there is light at the end of this tunnel,

For I see no light.

It is a dark world out here,

This is no place to be a woman.

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Today was one of those several days when I was again left speechless, helpless and just disappointed with the human race. Growing up in a small town and having most of my relatives in villages I have heard of several stories where women were beaten up, by mother-in-laws, alcoholic husbands, their own sons, daughter-in-laws etc. I have heard of women giving birth in jungles. I have heard of women losing their babies or dying themselves while giving birth because the roads were blocked and the hospitals were kilometers away. Many of these women are my distant sisters, aunts, nieces, women I have known.

And countless others are suffering every minute, every second of the day.

I met a woman today, in her late fifties; she fell down from her terrace and broke her spine. The family being poor kept her at the village for a week, hoping her to improve on her own. Finally a relative who is slightly better off asked them to come to the city and see a doctor. The doctor wanted to conduct an immediate spinal cord surgery. All relatives collected money and somehow the surgery was done but it would take years for her to do anything on her own, plus they can’t afford physiotherapy. Plus, the woman doesn’t remember anything beyond that incident. She is having some trouble with her nervous system.

Turns out she had some mental health issues right from the time her first two daughters were married off because both were harassed for dowry and beaten up by their husbands and mother-in- laws. She blamed herself and their poverty for the condition of her daughters. She was too scared to marry off the third one but her condition improved when the third daughter found a good family and was happy. Slowly even the first two daughters were doing okay (which means gave birth to sons and the physical abuse stopped)

Finally when all  the things were looking to fall into place, baaaaam, she fell down the terrace.

Now the third (happily married) daughter is looking after her. The other two daughters aren’t yet informed that their mother is injured (for they won’t be allowed to see her anyway so why trouble them). She has no sense of the present world; she just stares at people, talks absurdly, claps midway, and lies down on her bed.

And in this one family I saw so many wrongs I could do nothing about:

*A woman in need of physical and mental health facilities but too poor to afford it.

*Woman who needed to give birth to four children, 3 elder girls and the youngest boy, (well, the youngest is always a boy.)

*Women beaten up for dowry.

*Women having no rights over their bodies or any choices (not even a choice to see their ailing mother), accepting domestic abuse as their destiny.

* Women treated as nothing but a baby making machine (a son making machine more specifically)

And what am I doing?

I am writing a blog because my privileged, upper caste, middle class, highly educated and qualified ass is too lucky to rant about these things on the internet.

I feel disgusted with myself.

I don’t wish to belittle the troubles everyone faces at different points of time in their lives but don’t you think all this is just too much for a single person? And why do such things happen in this world? Why aren’t we concentrating on humanity above everything else?

The world is just too disappointing. Especially for a woman.