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!

3 A Rule needed … Part 1

The 3 A Rule – needed after the landmark judgement of SC on 377:

  1. Awareness
  2. Acceptance
  3. (Fighting) Angst

Awareness

  • WHAT the judgement is?
  • WHY the judgement was needed in the first place?
  • WHO does the judgement protect? WHY so they need to be protected?
  • WHAT does LGBTQ mean?
  • WHY was 377 introduced 157 yrs ago by the British? WHAT was there need?
  • WHAT does Ancient India have to say about LGBTQ?
  • WHAT do various religions practised in India say today? And what was their historical stand?

Acceptance

  • Accepting the LGBTQ community as Humans
  • Accepting the LGBTQ as Indians

(fighting) Angst

  • Fighting ourselves and our own 157 year old belief systems
  • Believing that what the British did historically wasn’t humane
  • Fighting society for all LGBTQ people and taking a stand
  • And having the ability to admit that probably if we cannot embrace “them” – then we shall “stand aside” and not hound “them”

The SC has upheld their rights to be treated like Indians and Humans.

But the true fight of acceptance begins only now…

Women make BESTest Friends

Are you one of those women who has at one time with pride or exasperation or annoyance claimed any of these:

  • Women can never be true to you if you are a woman!
  • Women can never hold secrets!
  • I have never ever had a woman friend…

I am dedicating my life experiences (some 11 of them) – to YOU… you who don’t have women friends…

Continue reading Women make BESTest Friends

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 Dulhaniya … Chand-ki-Chakor

Chand was 13 and Chakor was 11 when the talk around their marriage happened for the 1st time.

Both girls had seen many many girls get married from Katihar and claimed to know “many many things” and yet there were things which they never could quite understand.

(Katihar is a district of Bihar)

And they knew way too much…. (thats what their mothers laughingly complained)

 

Chand-ki-Chakor

Chand was named by her great grand mother on her dying bed as a last wish – and when Chakor came 2 years later in the neighboring house – she simply became Chand’s shadow….

Continue reading O Dulhaniya … Chand-ki-Chakor

O Dulhaniya … Heer

Heer of the Heer-Ranjha tale fame was declared Miss Patiala in 2014 – her preening mother emphasized this at her “marriage negotiations”.

Sattpal Singh Randhawa’s mother and grandmother only “hmmmpphedd” and smiled indulgently.

They had known of Heer’s beauty and thats what drew them to Patiala to ask for Heer’s hand for Sattpal.

She was going to be the “answer to their prayers”….

The Summer of Love and Life

She was the right kind of beauty with brains – and could speak English! To the Randhawa family that mattered as their son has studied in England for 3 years and then returned to join the family business…

Continue reading O Dulhaniya … Heer

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

 

Mein Sita

It has been 4 years and Sita is still a “Dulhaniya”.

She dresses each day in red and applies mehendi and alta – as if it were a daily ritual.

Her churis often break – and she rushes to replace them.

Her sindoor is deep red and always omni present… her smile a permanent fixture…

O Dulhaniya … Sita

BUT – sita does NOT tie her hair! She hasn’t tied them for the last 4 years…

Continue reading Mein Sita

Me Like Moment – women can retain their “OWN” names on their Passport … BUT

The PM in “a bold change from the past kind of move” announced women can retain their “OWN” names on their Passport.

Its a BOLD move – as the deeply entrenched patriarchal systems in India automatically assume that post marriage the woman becomes the property of the husband – hence needs to be “stamped” as such…

This move gives a woman her the right to “retain her old (own) identity”.

                                                                                        Freedom

A FREEDOM introduced……..indeed………..

BUT….

Continue reading Me Like Moment – women can retain their “OWN” names on their Passport … BUT

I stood up – to SHAME body SHAMERS…

8th April late night saw me “rant” on FB about Body-shaming! (the excerpt is below)

 

WHY did I write on FB ?

  • I meant to actually get things off my chest and tell each body shamer I know personally to “take a hike”
  • I meant to stand up for myself – and TEACH others around me who watch me – to stand up for herself/himself

I got some very lovely and empowering responses in terms of around 250 plus likes and 65 msgs (this number is still rising)

Sharing a few with you (there were 65 comments):

Continue reading I stood up – to SHAME body SHAMERS…