India is celebrating its 70th Independence today. But are women in today’s independent India ‘independent’ and ‘liberated’ in the truest sense? Even after gaining ‘independence’ for 70 years, women in India, especially those living in rural areas continue to live in fear, oppression and indignity. Are Indian women safe enough to roam around alone and ‘independent’ at night? The answer is a big NO! Women issues in India are a perennial problem. So what’s this show of being ‘independent’ and celebrating Independence Day with pomp and grandeur? Women in India are ‘free’ but not ‘independent’. Women are still sexually assaulted, brutally raped, murdered, abused and subject to domestic violence in ‘independent India.’ In spite of running regular campaigns and articles on women empowerment in India, situation of women in India hasn’t improved much over the years. Hence, the term ‘independence’ is really in jeopardy!
Women Development in India – Lagging Behind In Basics
When I say we’re lagging behind in basics, I mean the basic education, outlook and mindset of Indians as a whole. We have miles to go before we can be at par with other first-world nations. Cases in point are our American, European or Australian counterparts – they are the perfect embodiment of empowerment, liberation and independence wherein they can travel and move around alone, safe and tension-free. They rarely have to deal with lecherous gaze or lewd remarks if they are traveling alone, wearing something of their choice, drinking or partying at night. In India, majority of women, urban or rural, still have to put in a lot of ‘effort’ to deal with perverts, illiterate miscreants, obscene comments, disrespectful behavior and opportunists – be it a public place, office or elsewhere. Indian women are still considered the ‘weaker sex’ who would sacrifice their professional life and career for rearing children, taking care of family and husband (yeah, like a cattle!). This psyche describes greater India and is running through generations. This isn’t prevalent in the West. A woman in the West is ‘independent’ enough to take her own decisions, choose her priorities, wear and do what she likes and even something basic as living in with a partner of her choice or being a single mother. For most women in India, having such rights or living on own terms is still a luxury and a distant dream! The reason behind this is lack of proper education, refinement, improper attitude and antediluvian thoughts!
Know The True ‘Spirit’ Of Independence
The fundamental nature of ‘Independent’ India lies in respecting women and ensuring safety of women and girl child in India. We are independent in terms of constitution and legality, but we need to understand that independence doesn’t mean timely elections, political authority and rallies. Independence doesn’t mean hoisting the tricolor flag. It means independence from all forms of dependency, oppression, primitive thoughts, prejudice, poverty, taking decisions and living life independently, and yes, putting an end to corruption, caste and religion-based politics, feudalism and nepotism in political parties and crimes.
Unless women in India can really live, roam around freely without fear or threat, have the freedom to speak or express, we are not fully ‘independent’. Although we have received our independence from the British 70 years ago, we are still not ‘independent’. So, it’s high time we give it a thought and become responsible citizens!