Being Woman….in India
Posted by Agnivo Niyogi
Every year 8 March renews the zeal in the otherwise indifferent males to display their recessive love for women. It has become an annual ritual to flood mail boxes/inbox with “wishes” for the “pious occasion”. The pious ignorance of people on matters of the “fairer sex” is just glossed over by their over zealous endeavours to make the ladies feel special.
Being woman can either be eulogised or be celebrated. While events like 8 March fall in the first category, the celebration of the feminine starts with a simple mark of respect in our own homes. No matter how much we tax our vocal chords over feminism, in the sweet confines of our homes we all let our chauvinist traits a free run (albeit in varying degrees).
While the success of the rich and settled urban women can be reiterated every year on this day. They deserve credit for their achievements and inspire us all, but making an example of the exceptions does not make a good mathematician, or for that matter a human being.
The unsung heroes of the world bury the tales of inequality in their bosoms while the emancipated crave for fair treatment. Being a woman in India chronicles a saga of sacrifices. As a daughter, as a sister, as a wife, as a mother, a woman is expected to live up to the expectations. Expectations built upon the grave of identity, social justice and individualism. Day in and day out dreams are sacrificed in the altar of education, equality, modesty, culture, respect and survival.
Women they say represent the divine. Durga, Saraswati, Lakshmi, Kali – facets of the phenomenon called feminity – have been eclipsed by the great Indian housewife, who exist for the sake of existence. Since birth a woman is taught she is inferior (compared to her male siblings), denied her basic right to education, forced to marry even before the legal age for marriage, pressurised into having intercourse within (and out) of marriage, early maternity, forced servitude in the form of rearing the new born, torment for not being able to conceive the coveted XY gene, thankless chores at home which go unnoticed more often than not.
It is the woman who runs a home, manages the budget, spreads the warmth of emotions, yet it is the man who craves for domination, always eager to call the shots, by virtue of that Y chromosome (which coincidentally also bears many sex linked diseases). And even if the husband “allows” his wife to work, she has to “spare more attention to home”, “earn less than her partner”. “work at office, come back, prepare dinner, tutor her kids”. Even Durga with her 10 hands would hoist the white flag of surrender.
The tale of the Indian woman is an eulogy. A satire celebrating veiled sexism. And most of the times blatant chauvinism. Being woman is akin to a struggle. Struggle for her rightful place, deserving dignity, rightful freedom. And above all being woman is a woman’s biggest identity.