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Mire Behind The Myth
|by Smitha Abraham|
Experts say many Indian girls remain illiterate not only because they are expected to run the house and raise their siblings while their parents work, but also because working women have no safe nurseries for their young daughters. Yet when girls do go to school, government statistics show that they consistently perform better than their male peers. In 1994, more than 75 percent of the girls who took India's final high school examination passed ' fewer than 64 percent of the boys cleared it. In 1992, fewer than half the boys passed while 68 percent of the girls did.
Well, well, well ' the best things in life are an American salary, British house, Chinese food and an Indian wife.
If perchance she happens to have a helpful life partner she is lucky. No one bothers to think of it as a reasonable need. Even mother remind their daughters of how lucky or blessed they are if their husbands cook. Ever heard of a mother telling her son to be lucky to find a girl who cooks? Even today with most of the urban women being highly educated and holding responsible posts, marital columns are full of advertisements seeking beautiful homely girls who are highly educated. When parents of even a very specialized doctor is on lookout for a match the first question asked is 'Can she cook?' 'Is she homely? ' If she has had a broken affair before marriage she is promiscuous, if a man had the same he was romantic and virile.
Fast forward to a few years after marriage. If she is relaxing in the sofa after a long day at work, she is lazy, if hubby dearest is doing the same he is tired. If the husband returns home late, his work demands it, if the wife does it she is termed a negligent women who is selfish.
Women in India find it impossible to break out of the mother-wife-daughter role-stereotype, or the breeder-feeder role. Her health remains neglected because she has never learnt to pay attention to her own health. With the nation's enthusiasm to bring down the birth rate as much as possible and as speedily as possible, the women finds herself at the receiving end of all kinds of technology that are being invented for the rationing of the family-size. She is now being forced to get rid of the girl-child even before it is born and to produce children of the male sex alone. On the other hand, if she is infertile, all kinds of fertility tests including the production of the test-tube baby has to be faced by her alone. Despite these socio-economic handicaps, she is still groping for an identity for herself through her individual performance at the market-place without alienating herself from her traditional role. It is more of a transition she is passing through as she moves between these two roles and tries to fix her priorities. Will she succeed?
When will the things she thinks of privileges now be a way of life to her. And whose fault is it anyway? A friend once mentioned that the fault of an Indian woman lay in loving too much. In hindsight it is such a powerful statement covering and explaining so much. She bears everything because she loves. She doesn't complain because she loves. She doesn't think of her comforts because she loves. If only she loved herself half as much and took care of herself she would be a happier person. But an Indian woman thinks loving herself is 'selfish'. She is reluctant even to spare an hour out of 24 hours in a day to herself. All this builds up in her heart. Though hidden behind a smokescreen of contentment it nevertheless exists and erupts later in her life either turning her into a vertigo who snaps at everyone or a depressed soul frightened of her own shadow When will this stop? When will be stop celebrating a single day in a year as Women's Day mouthing words we don't mean, crusading movements that mean nothing and benefit people who really need them?
Till we really start respecting women and think of ways to make her life simpler the cry is going to continue. Till we let her live her own life, our life is going to be full of women crying a silent plea for understanding. Woman don't need a day dedicated to them or movements launched for them , all they need is a world where they are allowed to survive as they are. Where they are equal. All they are asking for is acceptance in their terms ' equality. Is it too much to ask? Is it unfair to demand what the other part of population takes for granted?
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