Posts Tagged ‘gender’


Guest post by Priyanjana:

Dear Sir,

 

I am an out-station student who studied in Delhi and would like to pen my opinion. Sir, there are hardly any woman I know who has not been subject to harassment at least once. Finding someone who has been harassed just once will be the ‘rarest of the rare’ case, as you would call it.

 

Sir, what is happening in Delhi today is a collective frustration of every girl who feels helpless and they are protesting against the ineffective laws that render them helpless and vulnerable. I have grown up hearing how unsafe Delhi is for women and I don’t want my next generation to grow up hearing the same thing and accepting it as a part of their culture and social taboo.

 

I have seen it is very convenient for people to blame it on one word- provoking. I fail to understand what exactly is provocative to men? Whether it’s the clothes that were provoking or the time at which they were out in the street that was provoking or the fact that her character is loose that provoked them. I clearly do not understand what provokes men, even if she is a sex worker, she has the right not to get raped. So, your men who think they can get away with such excuses should clearly be made to think again, sir.

 

How difficult is it, sir, to ensure effective policing?

I heard your interview the other day and it is disheartening to hear the Delhi Police commissioner saying that girls must not be out post 3 am in the night. A promise to ensure safety at any hour in the night would have been really satisfying to hear. By a promise, I do not mean an empty promise but a promise that you would work towards and make happen.

 

Sir, when so many students are protesting and want to voice their opinion, why is it necessary to shell out tear gases and use water cannons? Why can the opinions not be voiced, the problems of the people not considered and safety be ensured? Sir, are we supposed to carry on being submissive and not be taken care of because men get provoked? As the Police Commissioner, Sir, it is expected from you to break this myth, to change the mindset, to not allow any more injustice to happen, to take up the responsibility of the city, to never let history repeat, to implement the laws effectively and strictly so that next time a man thinks of harassing any woman he is forced to change the way he thinks, to ensure a safer future and set an example.

 

I would not dive into the statistics and wait for more rapes to happen so that the number gets stronger so that it becomes important enough for the matter to be taken seriously.

Let Delhi set an example and other cities will follow.

 

Sir, on behalf of all the women, I urge you to take effective steps, to increase police patrols in the dark stretches of Delhi, to tighten security in the night, ensure all the helplines are working, to make sure every metro and every bus has a guard, to ensure every police man is gender sensitized and to entrust safety with regular follow ups.

 

This is what we simply want, promise us this and then you can roll your tear gases bombs back.

Advertisements

Female Foeticide

Posted: December 20, 2012 by sakshikumarindia in Opinions
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

 Ashwin DodaniGuest post by Ashwin Dodani,
“What is my fault, but?” the girl asked.
“You are a girl.” someone replied, in a shivering manner though.
Starting with such a question, I thought of writing on this topic because this is something talked about a lot and we are getting to nowhere even after just discussing about it. Here I just want to put my point of view on the topic and possibly this reading could save even one girl there out in the world making this worth. The question is asked by that female foetus who has not even yet came in this world and is brutally killed when was just about to come in to this beautiful world. Her mouth was shut by the answer which simply said that you are a girl. Is really being a girl enough to be killed? Is a girl that load to us which we can’t bear? Is a girl not deserving to come to this world and see the enormous beauty which God has created for everyone to relish equally? and there are innumerable questions which we can ask when it comes to talk about this topic.
The thought of writing on this topic came yesterday when I was watching an episode of “Crime Patrol” which had the same theme and the way it was depicted was so cruel that it made me teary for a while. Still that one episode was just a glance of what is going in this world when it comes to female child and though knowing that its wrong to kill a girl child, we are doing it. This fact that we are doing it wrong is depicted in the answer when its said, replied in a shivering manner, because everyone knows that killing a life is nowhere a good deed and we are no one to decide that who will come in this world and who will not. Its solely the decision of God to gift you a child and when you receive it you should respect it because there are infinite parents there grieving for a child but they cannot have their own. The fact, the bliss, the feeling of having your own child cannot be expressed in to words, though I haven’t been a parent yet I can say so because I have seen my cousin sisters when they had their own child, my own sister, how and what she feels about my nephew is enormous. The reason being behind this act is what I feel I am describing below:
“First of all in the name of girl, the first thought which comes to a parents’s mind is that we have to bear the cost of her marriage. Secondly how much we are going to spend on her development, her studies and making her a good human, at the end she is going to leave our home and go to someone else’s. Thirdly n number of insecurities they will have to face in her youth because wherever we see, may it be any city there are cases of rape, eve teasing and many more things which even girls don’t share with anyone because they just don’t want to feel worse about it. Fourthly now a days people have an image that if its a girl what more she can do than just making food, stitching, doing a basic job and raise her child.”
This is the basic mentality I am talking about. Yes, I know many things have changed in today’s world but then there are I can say 50% of the people who still have these in their mind however modern they have become and no matter any number of changes they have accepted. There is no doubt that parents are very insecure about their children and this when comes to a boy or a girl remains same but the intensity when it comes to a girl child becomes more because they feel that they are the one who take their parents’s image in to the society and anything bad in regards to them will put their family to shame. But when the same things are done by their boys the society doesn’t raise a finger, why? Is that the boys are allowed to do so or there is an impression that boys are meant to do so, they already are such since they are born. If we see this scenario in the latter part boys become the worst reason to be a part of their family and they are automatically putting their families to shame where girls not doing anything just born in their family make them so insecure and protective. Isn’t this the biggest question to ourselves?
If we see with a broader perspective we can adore and respect the girl child with the same dignity and even make the most out of them making you feel proud and lift your collar. If you feel that you raise your girl child with the same dedication, you allow her to go work in a good company and you do her marriage in a good house where the same mentality exists, don’t you think they will make you proud? If she performs well in an organization, if they perform in their Life, won’t you feel the same Respect that your child did that? When you made her learn to be strong, when you taught her that Life is a constant battle and she faces her problems on her own, cries alone but still be there for you when you need, won’t you cry out a bucket? Its all about having a broader perception and not always getting affected by the surroundings and what people might think. You conceive a child not thinking that it would be a girl/boy but someone who will bring happiness to your family, a pride in your heart and that constant smile on your face which makes even your death peaceful. Checking the sex of the child developing in your foetus should make you feel guilty that are you giving birth to someone who will just take care of you and provide you a financial support or someone whom you would be proud of to have as your own blood.
Not that every guy is going to feed you Respect and love and not every girl is going to ruin your image, family and existence. It all comes in the way you raise them. If you count your blessing to be blessed with a child and accept whomever he/she is, trust me you will never be short of happiness because your intentions were true, your faith in that child is pure and the way you have raised the child will fill the child with all of you in them. This will carry forward and make them believe the same and this can change the scenario of the world in the coming generations. Start taking responsibility for the capability you are given, for the love you make and for the abundant sanctity you can experience if you move on from the same old beliefs.
I hope this article makes you believe that may it be a girl or a boy when it comes to Respect even hermaphrodite gets more than both of them.
Thank you for Reading..

Shilpa ChaudharyGuest post by Shilpa Chaudhary, student at University of Delhi “who seeks the answer as to why misogyny has not been subverted yet.”
The recent rise in rate of crime against women especially in the form of rape and molestation forces one to think as to where we are heading with all this? Is the 21st century India, technology savvy of which we are so proud of, an apt replacement for its hypocrisy, stagnation and retention of the so-called Indian ‘sanskriti’?

These are the questions which do not come to my mind as I walk out of my house in the crime capital of India-Delhi. Instead I join my hands in front of the divine idol my mother has placed in my room and pray dutifully that my day goes peacefully. Basically implying, I leave everything to chance.

The chance of me getting groped in public transport is as high is as the chance of me getting raped in my college. Is this what my father would have wanted for his daughter when he cradled her in his arms for the first time? I think not. What is it that forces men to make them act in the hideous manner that they do when they participate in such shameless and rash actions? Why do they fail to realise that the karma that their mothers preach of can cause their female family members to be in the very same position some day as well? And let me tell you that no amount of parsad can prevent it. Beneath the chant of ethics, values and moral duties lay the horror of corruption and tyranny. Institutionalized sexuality and institutionalized religiosity are combined.

When Kamla Bhasin in a recent debate on CNN-IBN was asked to voice her opinion on the unfortunate incident of a father being shot while trying to protect his daughter from a molester in Punjab she rightfully decided to take the issue up from a larger perspective. The writer and activist referred to the ‘epidemic’ state as a kind of ‘brutalisation and dehumanization that is taking place in the society.’ Revealing her stats of rape in India which has increased by 870% she campaigns for a ‘cultural tsunami’, whereby the hegemonistic notions which treat women as objects are to be drowned. Rape is not to be seen as a violation of personal space which A does so of B, but a man on a woman in this case. It is to be viewed as the psyche of man versus woman.

During some research studies I came to draw an analogy between the crimes which aim to deteriorate the fairer sex and Ann Garry’s ‘Sex, Lies and Pornography’.  Advocating a non-sexist form of pornography Ann miserably thus concludes that at the end of the day there is nothing to prevent men who really enjoy degrading women from undermining the most well-intentioned plot from the vision of a powerful feminist movie maker. The effect would be that even though the content would be morally acceptable and the intention of showing it is morally flawless, women would still be degraded by those sections of men to mere body parts devoid of any individuality. However, the fact that good intentions and content are insufficient does not imply that the feminist’s efforts will go in vain. There is no denying that anyone who tries to change an institution from within faces serious difficulties. This is particularly evident when one is trying to change pornography and its attitudes concerning gender roles and sex. It is rather beneficial and courageous to change pornography instead of closing one’s eyes to it, in the hope that it will go away. For it is realistic to expect that pornography is here to stay.

When B.R. Ambedkar referred to caste as a notion, and not a physical barrier which prevents classes from interacting he perhaps did not realise the magnanimous importance of this statement of his.

‘Caste is a notion, a state of the mind. The destruction of caste therefore does not mean the destruction of a physical barrier. It means a notional change.’

The patriarchal mind-set needs to wake up to the threatening alarm. As Kamla Bhasin put it, ‘How we bring up our boys? How we treat our girls?’

Enough is enough is the motto of the ‘One Billion Rising’ on Valentine’s Day, 14th February, a global movement which aims to put end to violence against women and girls. Love, not war should be the ideal for which each sane mind and noble heart strives for.

If our leviathans fail to guarantee our security then we must take the cause as our responsibility and abide by it till it converts into a pure devotional belief in the most harmonious manner possible.

A country where reactions are post-facto the only solution is to learn to rise above one’s stereotypical identities. As J.S.Mill puts it, ‘a distinguishing feature of the new age is the fact that human beings are no longer born to their places in life..but are free to employ their faculties to achieve what may appear to them most desirable’.


This is the first story from my book ‘Steps’.There are eight  stories in all, all fiction and I will share my women and a part of myself through them here … with all of you. I hope you will find yourselves too somewhere. 

Uma- I wrote it as I waited to be called for an interview. I had nothing with me except copies of my resume and wrote in on the back of the three pages that make my resume. The director probably saw me scribbling away and asked me to show him what I was writing Outside. Hesitantly I showed him my scribbled story. He told me that though I was the most highly qualified candidate and would be offered  the job,  I should go home and write. I did.

UMA

Uma lay quietly, looking up at the soot darkened walls and the sunlight filtering through the dusty mesh. It made odd patterns. They reminded her of her daughter’s attempt at putting henna on her hands, as she had last week, on the auspicious festival of Gangaur. She raised her hands to see the discoloured henna, and rubbed them feebly together- blood on her hands.  What was wrong with her, why was she thinking of blood and death? She lay awaiting life- the birth of her child- her fifth child, child..??  After four daughters she awaited only the birth of a son, no longer of a ‘child’.

            Pain came stronger now, in waves, but Uma did not make a sound. She had screamed enough the past four times but the Gods had not listened, better to bear it. Oh! Why did she not have the optimism these other women squatting around her had? They seemed sure she would beget a son- the promised heir to the name and property. Property? The meager 2 acres left over from drink and gambling? He needed a heir for THAT? She laughed mirthlessly and her sister-in-law mistaking the sound for a sob, moved close, dabbing her forehead with her sari pallu.

            Uma looked into the face of her husband’s younger sister. She seemingly bore no resemblance to the young pretty girl she had been when Uma had entered the house as a young bride. Girls were not supposed to be happy but at least there had been hope and a vestige of a dream on her face. Five years of marriage had wiped out the wishes and dreams. Like the women around her, her face had only weariness etched in its lines now. Not grief, not desperation not even the death of her dreams – just weariness of life , of the constant compromise, the acceptance of the unaccceptable. They looked into each other’s eyes and shifted their gaze away, it seemed they both know the truth that they would have to face soon. Let’s leave it for now, their eyes said.

            Uma’s gaze went to the inner door where her eldest daughter peeped through, holding her sisters back, just nine years old and already a mother to her siblings. She remembered her soft words of yesterday as she rubbed her mother’s aching back and calmed her that it would be a son this time and how she would look after her brother and care for him.

            Suddenly Uma wanted it all to stop. She wanted to hold the little scrap of humanity safe in her womb forever and protect her daughter. To give birth would be to sentence her to the hellish life of her sisters, mother and generations of women. If… if she was allowed to live.

            She knew why the official midwife had not been called this time, knew the meaning of the cauldron of milk kept in a corner of the room. She averted her eyes, her heart silently screaming at her unborn child to remain unborn. She sobbed aloud as pain tore through her and the women in the room suddenly came to life.

Uma  lost herself in a world of pain and prayer, Later, there was an easing of pain and the cry of a baby, Uma did  not know how long or short it had been. She did not open her eyes, not wanting to look at the child who would soon be cruelly snatched away from her, and was not it better this way. She hardened her heart against the inevitable pain and horror.

Loud clanging and joyous shouts, she opened her eyes startled. She looked into the ecstatic faces of her mother and sister-in-law. ‘It’s a son’- she ran to break the news to her anxiously waiting brother.

Uma turned her face away to the inner door and beckoned her daughters to her, opening her tired arms to them. As they came in timidly, Uma’s face broke into a smile.


A country is made by its citizens. As much as we have people who bring disgrace to India, we have those that bring glory to its name. Efforts such as these bring immense hope to us for a brighter, better and tolerant future for women along with other sections of society.

  1. Kerala’s successful venture Kudumbasree finds root in Vishrantwadi
  2. Himachal cabinet approves social security for rape victims
  3. Post murder, BPO firms adopted multi-level approach to safety
  4. An intrepid father of 13-yr-old rape victim takes on community
  5. Women in law

Reading these articles filled us with such pride for our fellow countrymen. Let’s stop complaining for one, and like them, set our own examples. Let’s help ourselves for a better future.

PS: Do send us links to keep us updated on such noble causes and heroic people on our Twitter account or Facebook group.