Friday, January 18, 2013

Ring the bell for change

Ringing the bell reminds me of a story of a kingdom in History, where the king had a huge bell suspended in the middle of the town. Any victim or citizen pleading for justice was to ring that huge bell. His/her pleading would be immediately paid heed to. Fantastic idea, wasn't it? Agreed we cannot have that implemented now, but sure, we have descended the ladder of humanity with time. Talk about technology, we are progressing each day. Talk about humanity and rights; we have not even gone a step ahead.

When was the last time we peeped into our howling neighbours house and report violence against women? I guess we do that rarely. People often call it their “personal matter” and do not let others interfere in it. The passing neighbours too, get used to such incidents and ignore the violence vetted on women. The least we should do is to keep our eyes and ears open. Do not let your neighbour suffer alone, when this is an issue of the whole country.
Violence on women here is not only bracketed within domestic violence but also sexual harassment and likewise civil violence.

In the age of growing women empowerment and rights, such heinous cases when reported are such a tip of the iceberg. The stats that reveal the curse on women, in reality is much higher that is unreported. Do women have no right to be treated with respect? Or are women mere objects to play with?

Our so called culture teaches women to be the quieter lot and endure every pain she faces after marriage. On one hand, women are worshipped as Durga, Kali, Laxmi while on the other hand she is subjected to cruelty beyond humanity. Thrashing by husbands, dowry death by in laws, physical and mental torture by demanding for a baby boy, tell us the pitiful story of our civilization.

Thanks to Raja Ram Mohan Roy who got Sati system abolished inIndia. We need reformers like him who stand for a cause without a selfish motive. When Sati was wiped off from the society, the story did not end there. Widows were not allowed to remarry and were expected to confine within the walls of the house, with scanty options to eat and wear. Their life was colorless, joyless, and dark, devoid of every pleasure which they deserved. Even worse was the life of the young girls who were widowed at young age and were forced to practice celibacy. The renowned Vidyasagar cleaned the mindset and brought about the change in our cluttered society.

Where has the sensitivity of people vanished? Why do we now turn a deaf ear to the brutality on women?
China is not a fine example to quote in this case, but may be helpful to understand what power the Govt has there. To control population explosion, China Govt has implemented the strict rule of only one child per family, failing which the family will be heavily fined. Why doesn't our Indian Govt implement compulsory education for all girls in each family, be it rural or urban? Education is one tool that can curb the growing violence against women. They would be educated on the rights and power of women in the society. An educated lady would take a stand against the violence. More the awareness less is the crime.

Gram Panchayats, that claim to be independent bodies, should be brought under the scrutiny of the Central Govt so that they do not pass judgement as per their wishes. Punishment for witchcraft, honor killing, female infanticides are such dreadful verdicts they have passed and promoted violence on women. I wonder what century we are dwelling in!

It is apparent that our authorities cannot interfere and cannot be present everywhere for matters in many places. In such cases NGO’s and self help groups that are working towards this cause, should receive full fledged support from our Govt.

For those who have raped women or spurred acid on women, should be severely punished. Law that pronounces harshest punishment for such criminals, must be encouraged. As a minimum, it sets an example for others to follow and discourages them to commit such atrocious felony.

To bring changes in the mindset of the people, we need to come forward. Educate, communicate and eradicate is my mantra to ring the bell.