We don’t need a Women’s day in India.
India is probably the only country that depicts the nation as a lady. Not just a lady, a beautiful, worshippable Mata. As a nation we have the most number of Devis and so many temples for these Devis. Our people fall on their feet in respect. In worship. In total submission. We have popularized a custom of Rakhi-bandhan. Where men vow to protect the women as their sisters.
But the reality stares back at us. Harshly.
The same Devi and Mata cannot but walk safely on the streets. We promoted them to be in the workforce. But we had to legislate against them working late in offices. Because of safety. The same men who tied them the Rakhi appears in front of them with hawkish eyes. The female body does not remind them of their sisters or mothers – to say least about lifeless Devi or Mata.
Of late we have some isolated coverage in the media. They are not but isolated incidents.
We are a nation of finger pointers. We now see many on the streets protesting. Against whom though? My social studies teacher used to tell us – when you raise your pointing finger at someone, remember you have three other fingers pointing towards you. The same applies. We blame the governments. We blame the leaders. We blame Bihari workers for Nirbhaya, Bengali workers for Jisha and “movie” workers for Bhavana.
We are but missing the elephant in the room. Us. You and me. Every man. And every woman too – every mother of a son, every sister of a brother, every wife of a husband.
Unless we change, nothing changes. “Others” do not exist in isolation. We are the others for the rest of us.
When we see “minor” sexual offences in a bus, we tend to keep quiet. If a girl responds to what is being done to her – she is called something else. When we see “eve-teasing” it’s a passing comment or the girl is “inviting trouble” with her dress or looks. One of my friends once reacted during a bus drive and he got beaten up by the miscreants. The “we the people” stood by keeping their “decency”. Sadly it doesn’t stop with age. My friends’s mother who is also grand mother of teenage children faced similar situation while travelling in a bus and she when turned back to see who it was and ask if he can’t even spare old ladies, the person pretended to be sleeping and didn’t answer at all.
Yes we do worship the women. Nay, we use them in our worship of our own selves. Like the tulsi. As sacred as it is, it will stay outside the home. In a special thara made for it. But never has it a place inside the home. They are to be plucked for puja and thrown away afterwards.
A woman’s day will not help us. What we need is a Day of Respect. A day to fix me. The biggest threat to women in the country is me. Me, as a son. Me, as a husband. Me, as a father. Me, as a stranger on the road.
We don’t need a Women’s day in India. Because we don’t deserve one.