Saturday, October 13, 2012

Status of Women in India




Haryana and West Bengal are two different states in the union of India. Two states cannot be more different starting from geography to language and food habbit. Haryana is a prosperous agrarian state. Outwardly state is progressive and development oriented. West Bengal is relatively much less prosperous. However, this state led the way in Indian renesaiisance in 1800 to middle of 1900 centuries. Poet Rabindra Nath Tagore, Indian nobel laureate in literature was born in this state. What West Bengal lacked in prosperity, it made up by rich culture.


In recent months both states are acquiring notoriety because of incidences of rape of women. It is not that in other states of India, women are treated like gods.  However, for two reasons these two states have drawn attention, and that is reflected in the mindset of leaders and administrators.

West Bengal state is ruled by a All India Trina Mool Congress.  Chief minister of the state is a lady, Ms. Mamata Banerjee. Manifesto of the party says chief motto of the party is respect for Maa (mother) – Maati (land) – Maanush (people). Ever since the party came to power, there have been instances of rape of women that came to light. In one instance the accused belonged to the ruling party. A party that propounds such lofty ideals, response of her leader to repeated incidences of rape is these are being orchestrated by her opponents. Firstly, will a woman stage an incidence of rape just to malign another party? What about respect for Maa, that is pronounced in the motto of the party? Every woman whether she is from rich or poor background, irrespective of her political inclination, and independent of her social status must be guaranteed of her dignity and modesty. This is not conspiracy but upholding human dignity against violence. This is all about culture of Bengal.

Although we have similar story of violation from Haryana. Here the problem is different. Haryana is a patriarchical society where boys are considered more valuable than girls. This state has one of the most skewed ratio of boy to girl, favoring boys. This state has a feudal mindset dominated by upper caste jats that issue diktat about how women must behave and whom they should marry. In recent months there have been several instances of rapes, where dalit women have been raped by upper caste men, including men from jat community. Father of one girl father committed suicide, when he felt he cannot protect his daughters honor. Another girl committed suicide by dousing herself in gasoline. She could not bear the insult.

In this background, one would be amazed and amused at the reaction of upper caste men, including politician from opposition  who is likely be the next chief minister of state, and another leader from ruling congress party. These worthy leaders of the state believe women want sex badly so they get themselves raped. They also propose that women must be married of early, so that their husband will fulfill their sexual needs. Not a single one of these people ever said that boys must be educated and reprimanded seriously so that they do not dare to commit such atrocities ever in future.

Whether it is West Bengal or Haryana, women are treated badly everywhere. These states are not exception, similar situation is prevalent all over India. Why we talk of these two states only, because one is supposedly culturally rich but materially poor. Other is materially poor, but less said about the culture is better. Mindset, however, is the same in both places. In a country or state, where 50% population is mistreated, is their real hope of progress? It is important to know all over India we worship our gods in female form. However, how gods children are treated reflects our sincerity and honesty. West Bengal was materially poor for a long time, however, the sate is losing its cultural moorings as well. Haryana is making a lot of effort towards development, however, with the kind of mindset in display such development sounds utterly hollow.









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