A building is only as strong as it’s foundation. It’s bound to fall, if the foundation isn’t strong enough. No matter how many storeys it’s got. No matter how extremely well maintained it is.
Wondering where I’m coming at?
It was Jyoti Singh Pandey in 2012
And Jisha now, in 2016.
Among the numerous others, made victims to rape, in India.
And everytime something like this happens to happen, all we do is write about it, create and sign numerous petitions, raise a hue and cry, and erase it from our memory…until something similar or more horrendous happens again.
God knows how many protests were held and how many prayers were said, yet, it didn’t protect Jisha from being raped. It didn’t prevent the juvenile rapist from roaming scot-free in the country. It didn’t bring Jyoti Singh Pandey back. It didn’t reduce the grief her family is going through.
Nothing has changed. Nothing ever has. Nothing will, actually, unless you hit the clay when it’s being moulded.
Let’s get this straight.
How many of us speak to our fathers like we do to our mothers? The tone is always mellowed immensely when it comes to our fathers, isn’t it? The soft “Yes”, ” No”, manners seem to come back to us from nowhere, right? We don’t take our fathers for granted, do we? It’s only our mothers, on whom we seem take out our irritation, don’t we?
In how many families, are the mothers the primary decision makers? Any decision about the family, for the family, it’s always the father whose opinion is final. More so, the mother is sometimes not even asked for her opinion.
How many husbands treat their wives as their equals? The wife, who leaves her home and her family for him and his family, changes her surname, brings along wealth to save the husband and his family from misery – her identity is not even acknowledged, she loses it in the process of making her husband and her in-laws happy. The “better-half” phrase doesn’t apply for both the partners, is it?
In how many families are the daughters treated as equals to the sons? Either they are treated servile, or are over pampered, and in both the cases, the girl ends up becoming extremely fragile – she loses the ability to stand up for herself.
How many families have we not met, where the women in the house do the menial, servile jobs of the house, and the men don’t, just because they are “men”, probably the earning members of the household, and they think it’s beneath their dignity to do those?
How many families have we not seen, where only the daughters are taught from childhood to cook, wash, mend and sew, and are asked to remain silent and not argue, and only do what is said?
How many families have we not heard/seen/met where the daughters are married off in their teens or early twenties as their parents presume the sole purpose of a woman’s life is to get married and start her family?
How many parents have we met who are ready to spend more for their daughter’s education than for her marriage?
Why is it that every time, a woman has to look up to her husband/father/brother for protection from the other “men” in the world? Maybe because, the “men” respect the feelings of other men – the woman’s husband/father/brother, more than the feelings of the woman? And why is there a need for protection for a woman in the first place?
A child who grows up in this kind of atmosphere, which exists in every household in India, barring very few, can scarcely be expected to respect women, and treat them as his equal.
When a boy is brought up in such an environment, he begins to believe as he grows, that he can take any woman for granted, just as his mother/sister were. He doesn’t care to respect a woman as an individual – who is as free as him, as any other man, who has self-respect, who has her own likes and dislikes, who has her own emotions, ambitions and desires; and who isn’t born to only to satisfy the needs of the men.
And we live in a country, that we call our mother land, that proudly sings
“Maa Tujhe Salaam”, and worships the cow, a country has laws that are easy enough to encourage a criminal to have the guts to commit the crime again, and again, and again; giving a subtle hint to the rest of the population to fearlessly take the plunge too, if they shamelessly desire to.
We now know where the problem is, don’t we?
There’s no use weeping over spilt milk. We can’t change what’s beyond our reach. We can’t erase what has happened already, either. But we do have a hold on what’s yet to happen and what’s pretty much in our capacity to change, don’t we? Justice delayed rather than justice denied forever.
A cure, however small, isn’t easy. Let’s defy gravity and do all it takes, to prevent what makes this place uninhabitable to live in.
It’s time to wake up and smell the coffee. It’s high time we get the adrenaline rush – to spring into action and change our attitudes.
P.S. We can’t get apples from a mango tree. We only reap what we sow, don’t we?