From whom do women need protection

Women in India need protection if they want to survive and thrive!

The Constitution of India – gives women equal rights and protection. And yet somehow we have managed to reduce the status of women….

Just who did this? How did it happen?

Women need protection from:

  1. People who think men are superior (which is a very large chunk in India)
  2. People who degrade women mentally – since constitutionally they can’t
  3. Moralistic and Judgemental people who throw big words like culture and sanskar. To them I say – the culture and sanskar of India reveres women! I would recommend a lot of research and reading!
  4. Peoplewho think it’s their duty to “teach women a lesson”. These are by far the most dangerous as they think that it’s their moral duty to show women their true place (by inference a 2nd class citizen)
  5. People who look at women as “objects”. Now this category is rather diverse so I am splitting the answer into 2 parts. Part 1: people who believe that the female is the property of her father/brother to be transferred to husband and later transferred to son. These people do NOT stop to consider that legally for transfer of property you need documents verified and registered. And that people (man or woman) cannot be ‘transferred’ as ownership over people isn’t legal!! Part 2 : object of desire as inspired by Bollywood. And we off course add Part 1 here since no Object of Desire has the right to have a mind… Right?
  6. People who are too busy telling all women that they are the weaker sex/gender. Well folks if the girl goes to a gym to lose weight and a boy goes their to lose muscle – there shall be a defined difference in their body type. Also there is like this whole world within our world which believes that girls need not be given the same food and nutrition as boys – so… What does that do to the girl’s health? And finally the girl is taught the sanskar of being “demure” – I sure wonder why we don’t teach all girls to be like Durga
  7. Women who hate other women and try to bring them down. MIL and DIL relationship, sisters in law etc are the most common examples. But then there are some caustic mother and daughter relationships too. Further women in society are so very quick to judge other women…

Just pause… Just think…

Musings of a Monday Morning – fresh off my table.

Silently I thank the Constitution of India and true Indian Culture which protect the rights of women!

What is it like being a woman in India?

Some thoughts shared by women aged 18 to 40yrs – women who have lived out experiences – of their own and of other women around them.
These women are ALL from educated backgrounds and can easily be called “privileged”.
BUT their echoes of “What it is like to be a WOMAN in India?” are eerily similar.
(I have put in 10 broad themes out – and have tried to capture “as is” thoughts – I haven’t analyzed anything or tried to justify anything….)
  1.  Women aren’t safe outside their homes: You are never ever safe outside home as per what elders say… But what about sexual abuse within the house? As a child or an adult? We don’t speak of it…
  2. Wearing short clothes leads to rape??? Don’t wear short clothes? What will people say? What if you get raped? Why don’t people accept that rape and sexuality don’t go together – rape is about control and mental and physical dominance. The Nirbhaya kand proves it… She wasn’t wearing a mini skirt! (Rape is a simple non-consensual / forced act of having sex. It implies complete dominance of body and decision-making power to the rapist. The brutality is not just on the body but on the soul of the woman – she lives it each day – every day!)
  3. The Great Indian SLAP : Oh, why is it so ok to slap a woman if she is wrong? Face palm slap across the face? Just watch any serial or movie… Even if she is a villain – why a slap across the face? The sheer violence of it – and then the worst is the acceptance of this violence as “normal and acceptable”. If a halla is made around a slap – the prompt answer is it’s just a slap”. No one sees it as an act of authority and complete dominance – first to judge you and then to get physically violent with you! And off course the fact that “she was asking for it”…. something commonly told to us to explain away THE SLAP.
  4. Educated and well-placed women don’t want girl kids: Do you know women who are educated and working with a good salary want ONLY sons? They are fine with aborting a girl child – then it’s not about education and the money you earn – it’s about a DISGUSTING mindset! A mindset which says girls are inferior and a liability! Patriarchy and misogyny! An argument with such women leads to the defense that “don’t you know the status of women in society etc etc, also how unsafe it is…. etc etc” – and somehow they seem to forget that they too are women who were educated by their parents…
  5. WHY do horrible Patriarchal Marriage rituals still exist? Why do educated women allow for patriarchal marriage rituals like Bidai to happen? It gives complete control to the male of the house – where a father does “kanya-daan” to the husband – as if the girl/woman is an inanimate object. Are you aware that in some places the rituals are preposterous enough where the father of the bride goes down on his knees and washes the feet of the groom to be as a “mark of respect” (for God’s sake the guy is as old as his son – WHY this respect? Lets call a spade a spade – its NOT respect – its all about “DOMINANCE”)
  6. DOWRY is a CRIME – why do women allow it being given? Why don’t women refuse to marry men demanding dowry or mothers/fathers of the boy demanding dowry? If a man or his family has to be paid to marry your daughter – then why doesn’t he move into your home – after all you are buying him?If it’s about property rights of the girls etc etc – then let there be a property division where the girl gets what’s hers – and NOT the husband or in-laws! This shall ensure that no girl is killed! For if they kill the girl then the property would revert back to the father’s family in case of no heir or goto the child of the dead girl – the husband and in-laws would not be gaining… WHY don’t we push for this awareness?
  7. Why don’t we shame the rapists??? Why do we always shame the rape survivor? See any immediate hush hush reaction to a rape report! Do you know even the police try to hush up matters… So the moment any girls runs to you or anyone speaking of her rape – the immediate reaction is “Shhhh…. “WHY – shy should she Shhh? She hasnt dont anything wrong! She has been violated in the worst possible way… BTW – in cases of marital rape the Shhhhh is followed by “ye to hota hi hai, its his right” – so the woman has no control over her body?
  8. India has pedophiles! Why aren’t we acknowledging pedophiles? And creating strict laws and punishments around it? And why are we blaming western culture for everything? We never spoke about it earlier…. That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen?
  9. Why do the women members of a rapist’s family never stand in favour of the victim? Why do they look the other way? Why do they justify the ACT as “boys will be boys”? And push for “mere ladke ki zindagi kharab ho jaayegi” – thus implying that the ACT itself didn’t ruin his life – and possibly that the girl’s life isn’t important enough…
  10. Domestic violence is an acceptable part of marriage: The family elders – on both sides tell the woman to “suck it up and brave it – it happens to everyone” and further add “You should try to please him and not annoy/anger him”. Adding to this is the fact that the police also tell the women that only…. and add “madam aap kaise thaane ke chakkar lagaogi…. ye sab to hota rahta hai”
Even lawyers discourage the woman from going to court unless she is rich! They simply see it as “normal occurance” and a matter of rights of the husband – and they claim that in any case the woman shall go back to the husband – so why bother…. (loads of arguements around fees for lawyers and paper work for police people)
These 10 thoughts are from women who have spent time in trying to change themselves and the society around them!
#changeByTalking 

O Womaniya … Bubbles

“Bubbles” they called her – for the day she opened her eyes, happiness and joy simply bubbled out of her.

Her pink face, her cherub smile, her goldenish hair which curled up just right, her twinkling eyes, her hyper active need to attract attention and make people smile – she simply “bubbled”!

So Bubbles Mehta – it was!

She had spent 20 years studying harder than all of her cousins, friends and neighbours. And had been getting the best grades amongst all – her energy never waned for a minute… she was after all Bubbles.

She had her fair share of scrapes with the school and college authorities. She did end up in detention many many times.

Once she was almost thrown out of school. And that was the one scrape she was most proud of – she had climbed the school clock tower 22 feet off the ground to save 3 abandoned kittens. The Principal and Warden – both after having a near coronary attack on seeing Bubbles’ vertical climb; sent for her parents when she finally came down.

The next scene was simply 2 shouting women, a set of sheepish parents, an ever smiling Bubbles with 3 kittens who must surely be wondering why the decibel levels were so high. The end result was Bubbles simply dumping all 3 kittens in the screaming Principal’s lap. And the rest, as school legend had it – was history.

Bubbles seemingly lived from one mess to another – but nothing serious or earth shattering ever resulted from it. She bounced right back with the beatific smile on her face and more joy to spread.

Her worst critics – criticised her with a smile on their faces. It was as though a naughty angel had ‘struck lightening’ in their backyard, and they didn’t know whether to feel blessed or exasperated or annoyed!

Now this “Naughty Angel” did have her own Vice…

Her only vice was TRAVELLING!

 

She loved visiting new places and meeting new people. And as her Deeda (Granny) always joked – “making the lives of new people miserable was her hobby”.

 

It was this very VICE which changed Bubble Mehta’s life forever….


To read the full story, read my book:

A Normal Indian by Malavika Sharma

SuRekha

8 years had passed – and Surekha still wondered if she had lived a dream…

She often found her “free time” thinking about those times….. times when she was alone with her birds. (Surekha was very fond of pigeons)

 


Mumbai – March, 2010

A bright day and lots and lots of visitors from all over the country and abroad had come to see the Gateway Of India.

Surekha and her new husband had gone to visit Mumbai for their “Honeymoon”. And thats where for the 1st time 1 pigeon actually came and sat on her hand.

Since Surekha wasn’t allowed to take his name and always called him “ai-ji”…..For our ease lets just call him Raja.

 

Since Surekha wasn’t allowed to take his name and always called him “ai-ji”…..For our ease lets just call him Raja.


To read the full story, read my book:

A Normal Indian by Malavika Sharma

 

Radha Teri Chunari

Radha – lay quietly weeping on the floor, she had physically curled up like a fetus!

Her hair was a mess, her bangles broken, her clothes ripped, her face battered and bruised, her hands scratched…


Next morning she was woken up by a sound on the door – and she rushed to open it – to realize that she didn’t even have proper clothes on (hers were torn).

A woman and her MIL came in – and sniggered – “Looks like they had fun…”

 


FUN : This word echoed in Radha’s mind. How the F*** have fun when someone is beating you, cussing at you, tearing your clothes off, scratching you, forcibly entering you…

Continue reading Radha Teri Chunari

THE GIRL WHO NEVER laughed

Rukku was all dressed up in this amazing long red flowing gown. Her hair was perfectly set as straight waterfall like shiney and smooth black depths. Her lips were a ruby red.

The ocean beyond beckoned but she looked onto the stars – as if tempting them to come to her.

“Rukku – where are you?” , came a loving male voice (almost like a caress)

Rukku in Red (this is a free image used from the internet)

Continue reading THE GIRL WHO NEVER laughed

Mere Papa Feminist hain…

“Mere papa feminist hain…” – this is a heartfelt comment made by this gaggle of girls – more as a sense of wonderment than proclamation…

Happy to have interacted with 50 rural and semi – urban girls – of the age group of 10 to 13 yrs in the Ranchi District area.

Our discussion point veered right from what adolescence is to what feminism is – and why is there “so much halla against feminism”

And then the shining moment on how men can be feminists – and then the “Mere papa feminist hain…” moment!

This is a dedication to all girls who have feminist Dads and all Dads who aspire to be feminists – I am sharing ALL that was shared with me today:

Mere Papa Feminist hain

Continue reading Mere Papa Feminist hain…

Dear Mom …. Please Raise me as a Feminist Son!

Drawing inspiration from ALL amazing Moms (and Dads) who are raising amazingly Feminist Sons

These are normal people from all walks of life, from working professionals, to stay at home moms and a few stay at home dads, to some vibrant parents from the Bottom of the Pyramid…

Dear Mom ,

Please Raise me as a Feminist Son!

A Boy – needing to be a Feminist!

Continue reading Dear Mom …. Please Raise me as a Feminist Son!

What do YOU say to someone who has been raped….

I had the most awful moment of awkward silence a few months back, a woman whom I had been speaking to and counselling about her career and job – just blurted“I was raped…”

This is a 23 year old woman who has been struggling to hold down 1 job and juggle a possible degree! She has always had this haunted and almost vacant look about her – which I could never explain!

The discussion that day was me scolding her for not taking her life seriously – and I was actually reprimanding her – when she had been bunking her evening classes….

And she said the “R” word – and that lead me to the discovery that I lacked the vocabulary to speak to her!

So WHAT should you say/not say or do/not do when someone close to you or someone comes up and says “I was raped….”

                                                                         A woman in PAIN! Continue reading What do YOU say to someone who has been raped….

Is she ACTUALLY being Sexually Harassed?

Men and Women BOTH always question if a woman ACTUALLY being Sexually Harassed , or did she misunderstand? Or it wasn’t meant to be? Or she was over-reacting?

 Then the uglier spectrum of – oh she was just “asking for it”, – look at the way she dresses, look at the way she drinks at office parties, look at the way she stays back late to work, look at the way she always works in men only teams

                                                                        Woman at WORK!

So De-Coding ACTUAL Sexual Harassment in 10 quick steps:

Continue reading Is she ACTUALLY being Sexually Harassed?