To auspiciousness of all auspiciousness, to the Good, to the accomplisher of all objectives, to the Source of Refuge, to the mother of the three worlds, to the Goddess who is Rays of Light, Exposure of consciousness, we bow to you again and again. We worship you.
Thus goes the prayer to MaaDurga the invincible Goddess of strength and power. The woman is the bedrock of our society. We begin the day in prayer to her, she is the wife and the mother who toils in the kitchen for us, she is the colleague who works with us, she is the friend who shares a laugh with us. As long as she is conscientiously fills her part we never feel her absence. As long as she sticks to the prescribed duties she is admirable. As long as she is submissive and respectful, she is the most stunning of God’s creations. But the moment she starts to have her own thoughts and opinions, she is scorned upon as an ignominy to the family, community and environment.
Deference and docility are imbued in her right from an early age. Every small decision in her life is governed by the family, be it the elders or siblings. She is taught that sacrifice is a woman’s karma in life and marriage the finis ultimo. She is taught to respect, co-operate with and treat as her own the new family she goes into. At every stage in her life she eschews her identity, respect, thoughts, and opportunities to grow, to be there for every need of her family. And thus silently stands the Goddess who is revered only in mythology. Just a flicker of thoughts, dreams and wants of her own and the very same family who should be giving her strength and courage to stand tall, shun her as a disgrace. The society points fingers at her as she turns into the wretched derelict you show your daughters as an example.
Does she not deserve to be an equal in the family or society? Why can’t we make her strong and independent like our men? Why shouldn’t she be an unyielding pillar of the family? Why can’t we accept that the sky is hers to fly too? Why shouldn’t she be an individual with her own thoughts and dreams?
From childhood, I have seen girls in their unrelenting struggle to fulfil their dreams. But a woman’s dreams are encumbered with obstacles be it family or society. She is continuously weighed down by her family’s dependence on her instead of being strengthened by their support. She is presented as the quintessential caretaker of the house- a good cook, the one who runs the household chores, the self-effacing nurse in the family. This was the mould created centuries ago for her safety in the time Mughal's regime. Little has changed since then. This is now proudly proclaimed as the Indian Tradition.
She has no say in her dreams, her hobbies, her goals in life or her motivation towards it. Her dreams could be anything. It could be becoming a housewife, loving mother, professional in some field, social worker etc. This article is not against those who are doing all these. I appreciate their efforts and it is by no means an easy job to handle every day. But it is for those who left their dreams and identity way behind feel lost in their lives.
A woman can play a big role in changing this panorama of women in our country. This begins at home by creating an environment which treats each member impartially ergo reflecting it in the community. It is not about abandoning the home or family but about nurturing a culture that promotes equality keeping gender discrimination aside. Let us teach our sons everything we teach to our daughters. Let us begin equality from home. Let us create freedom for everyone to share their dreams and thoughts. It is said good things to start from home. So be it.
You are right.