Our nation takes pride in our deeply rooted culture and the unity in diverse ethnicities. We shout from the highest peaks about how great our traditions are. But, is this fact closer to reality, or is it a fictitious lie that most of us are living? Is Indian culture really that great, especially when it comes to the treatment of women?
Even as our traditions speak of women as deities, and address the nation as our mother, each day several girls are subjected to eve teasing, harassment and rape.
Reason – our culture that wants its Goddesses to be everything but a free spirited woman, who can decide what she wants to wear. In this progressive society, where women are making their mark in every field, and standing tall in a world dominated by men, it’s a shame that they are still judged on the basis of their attire (or so is the famous alibi).
Instead of accepting the monster that raids the inside of men, take a look at the past records, documentaries and movies, and you will find that men have blamed women’s asking-for-it clothes. Instead of embracing the reality that their thoughts are libidinous, a woman’s outfit is labelled provocative. Even though in most of the cases, the victims were found to be wearing saree or salwar kurta, our very own traditional attires, men’s mentality is ignored and clothes are seen crying out loud!
Most recently, a 17-year-old girl was molested by a mob in Guwahati in a bazaar, in full public view, for wearing a short skirt. So many rape cases happen inDelhiand the surrounding National Capital Region every week that we have even stopped to keep a count, and it is astonishing, when at times, even the police blames the women for it. For instance, earlier this year a woman was abducted right outside a mall in Gurgaon, where a police van was also stationed, and the police did not prevent it. Rather, a few days after the incident, women were asked to not step out of their homes after 8 p.m.
The harsh reality is that the consequent outrage eventually subsides. People get back to their goddess-worshipping, but still treat their women like sex objects. These men, in the form of asur (demons) are devotees of goddesses Vaishno devi or Durga maa, yet, ignorant of the female power.
What is it about a short skirt that isn’t as western as the shirt and pant? “Ye humari sanskriti nahi” (This is not our culture) is meant only for women? Why is it that in the times of globalization, these men accept western lifestyles with arms wide open, but cannot see a woman keeping herself updated to the globally accepted fashion trends? Why is it that in such a culturally rich country, appearances are put before respect? A girl in a tube top or hot pants does not imply that she is inviting every other pervert that crosses her path; it certainly does not imply that she has no values and it does not imply that just because she is an independent woman exercising her freedom to wear clothes of her choice, she is a slut.
I, for one, like to wear western clothes. It does not make me respect my elders any less, it does not make me forget humanity, and it does not make me forget my civic sense.
Why is it that despite all these, I would be whistled at a street? Is that a part of our age old tradition?
Sadly, it’s not really about the customs and traditions, it’s a men’s world where rules are bent, according to the level of their hypocrisy. They may be delusional but the truth is, there won’t be a world without women, the creator of life and when she chooses to exercise her powers, she can destroy too.
To all the women out there, wear your courage and to all the men, our clothes are not an invitation card.