“Women are made to be loved, not understood” – Oscar Wilde.
It’s not easy to be a woman in India. It is the only place where you will find varied definitions for the word – ‘woman.’ It is the only place that worships goddesses and yet fails to offer any respect to the women of their house.
In 2016, India was the 22nd in the list of best countries of the world, and this year, it has come down to 25th. And one of the reasons that have led to this downfall is the lack of safety for women (54th rank). In a time when the entire world is fighting for equal rights for both the genders, the women of India are still struggling with their basic ones.
Millions of baby girls in India are killed, only for being girls. Girls, here are starved to death, poisoned and even tortured for the mere reason of being a girl. Even today, women living in the interiors of India are not even aware of their rights. There are places where women are forced into prostitution and child marriages and yet asked to keep mum when questioned by others. And despite all difficulties, she is expected to maintain a smile on her face.
While a smile is the most beautiful curve on a woman’s body, it is also a beautiful way to hide her plights. A lot of men often feel that their women are happy looking at their beautiful smiles, and hence, hardly do they take the effort to ask ‘are you happy?’
A woman is never known for being herself, she’s always known for being someone else’s.
A woman in India, right since her birth, is given a tag. A tag of being someone’s daughter, a tag of being someone’s sister, a tag of being someone’s wife, a tag of being someone’s mother, a tag of being someone’s grandmother. Her identity is always marked by being someone’s something. And yet, she is happy. She is happy for being making someone proud. She is happy being her dad’s princess, she’s happy being her husband’s strength, she is happy being her child’s strongest support. She is happy.
A woman is never raised to be highly qualified, she is raised to become someone’s wife.
In some parts of India, the conservative society still believes that a woman needs no education. She needs to learn not to read and write, but to clean and cook. According to 2011 census, the female literacy rate in India is only 65.46% as against 82.14%. She may not have been given the liberty to educate herself, but she sure does know how to educate her family from the lessons she learns from life. For teaching those lessons that haven’t been mentioned in any books, she is happy.
A woman’s professional growth depends, not on her quality of work, but her quality of ‘assets.’
Despite being capable of higher position and better profile, a woman is India is often judged for her quality of ‘assets’ and not her quality of work. Her work, sometimes, gives rise to some sort of insecurity in those stereotypical men who believe no woman is superior or equal to a man. And despite being discriminated for her sex, she is happy. She is happy for having the ability to tackle the obstacles that come in her way of success.
A woman is not safe anywhere in India. Not even with her very own people.
Every 20th minute, a woman in India is raped. The shocking case of a 23-year-old medical student’s brutal rape not only scared everyone but even today, reminds every woman of the lack of safety in her own country. It reminds her that there is no place she can call safe or no place she can be herself. In order to not be raped, it is not the men of the society she should expect to change but her very own personality. And yet, she is happy. She is happy for believing in herself and having the courage to show up and be a part of that group that still believes and respects womanhood.
Marriage here is all about len-den, it’s about dowry, it’s about giving away the paraya dhan and nothing about love or union of souls.
From getting a girl married at 12 and 15 years of age to asking for a hefty dowry to being a victim of domestic violence to forcing her for aborting, the women of India have to face it all. Even then, she smiles. She is happy because it’s this marriage that makes her realise the beauty of womanhood. It’s this marriage that makes her realise the power she possesses – the power to change an individual, the power to raise one.
She constantly lives in fear and yet she is happy. She is happy for being a woman, for having the power to give birth to another life, for having the ability to build a family, for being able to take up responsibilities that most men are afraid of, for being able to be her child’s life support, and lastly for being a woman in a country that has hardly any love to offer to her.
She is happy.
All images sourced from iStock.