Indian Woman - An Unborn Personality
By Farha Iman *
Delhi’s moving bus gang rape case brought ‘shining India,’ in the lime light for wrong reasons. It did not merely shake the country but also knock at the conscience of middle class Delhites. It was not the only rape occurred in Delhi; however it was the first time when violated woman treated as heroine.
Personally, I wonder why ‘this episode’ gave birth to protest and a wave of anger and frustration among people. There are many horrifying and atrocious rape cases; raped by friends, gang , boyfriends, friends of boyfriends/husband, police, army, colleagues, father, brother, old lady raped by teenager, old man raped 3 years old child, raped then killed/beaten/burned so on and so forth. You just name it, we have it.
So, what was the unique about this case? Why thousands of people came out and protest in chilled weather, clashed with Rapid Action Force, were being shot with water cannons and tear gas and arrested?
The answer is Courage; Courage of the victim’s family who choose not to hide in shame from society and courage of the victim, who fought till her last breath and passed it to Delhites to protest and demand for women’s safety.
In India, rape is a crime which brands victim as a perpetrator and offender does not get disrepute by society let alone the punishment, why? Because he is a MAN, if a girl was being raped by him, it must be the girl’s fault. Whether she would be wearing western clothes or hanging out alone/with friends during night time. Actually, it was the girl who solicited man to rape her. This is the common view point of our society.
India is really ‘incredible’. It is a country of contradictions. Here generalization does not work. On one hand Indian women are Ministers, President, journalists, businessman, and police even present in Territorial Army. On the other hand they are being raped, killed for dowry, victim of domestic violence and discrimination. In short, treated as lower being and faces enormous challenges to avail basic rights such as education, health and sanitation facilities, choice of career, husband and even taking small decisions such as what to wear.
There are civil society organizations genuinely working for upliftment and empowerment of women. I am a diehard supporter of women empowerment however against the western concept of hollow feminism. It brings a woman at double disadvantage. Now, they have to look after home, children, husband, office work, project deadlines. The concept of ‘tiger mom’ is indirectly forcing women to handle every work single handedly with smiling faces. If you will complain, you will be thrown out of celebrated tiger mom’s category.
Working in offices, speaking English is the not at all the sign of empowerment. I do not find my educated doctor friend who is being beaten by her boyfriend (and unable to break the relation because of his fear) in comparison to my paternal aunt who is an uneducated farmer, a decision maker and live in a remote village.
Empowerment is about the right of taking decision and making informed choices. The concept of women as strong ‘personality’ is yet to born. Thus far, they are seen as beautiful female bodies roaming around to fulfill men’s desires.
* Farha Iman did her M.A in Conflict Analysis and Peace Building from JMI, New Delhi. Currently, she is working in an NGO called National Social Watch as Advocacy and Communication Officer. The views expressed in any of her article/s should not be attributed to her organization.