For a democratic country with several women in important political positions, the future still seems bleak and dangerous for women and girls all across India’s vast landscape. The idea of constitutional or personal freedom doesn’t seem to exist in the countless towns and villages bound by unwritten antiquated policies of personal freedom, life and love. The same can be said of India’s many cosmopolitan cities as well.
Scarcely does anyone challenge the status-quo, lawlessness and anarchy abound and women continue to live in repression, with autocratic male figures within the family and in their societies at large, dominating their lives – orchestrating their every move. This mentality is almost medieval in nature, and women generally have no say in the living of their own lives.
Now and then, horror stories emerge and come to light. There is sudden media frenzy, fingers are pointed, policies and promises are made but the vicious cycle continues.
Earlier this year, in a In bizarre decree that people are referring to as Talibanesque in nature, the backward panchayat of Asara village in India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh banned love marriages, banned the use of mobile phones and decreed that women below the age of 40 years must not leave their homes unescorted. A couple of days ago, a young teenage girl was molested by a gang of 50 men in the heart of Guwahati while countless callous bystanders looked on. But these are just two stories which are at present in the middle of a media circus. There are however, countless other untold stories, thousands of lives affected, hopes and dreams destroyed on a daily basis. This is not the first time India has faced these evils, it doesn’t seem like this will be the last time either. Will this ever stop? Where is our sense of morality?
For too long now, India women have been denied complete freedom in every sense possible and have been treated as second-class citizens. For a country whose mythology is replete with stories of gods deriving their powers from goddesses, where women were celebrated and respected, what have we come down to? Are we really the liberal and progressive nation we profess to be or will our archaic beliefs and phony philosophies of male supremacy continue to be our undoing?
I shudder to think of where we are heading