Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Whimpers of a Silenced Woman

It is indeed quite remorseful to admit how every morning nowadays seems to be bringing some news or the other about how Women have become easy targets of exploitation. While some influential women are celebrated, the inner pages of the newspapers showcase the vacuum in our society when it comes to the Aam Aurat.

Her Veil is her ornament, her beauty.
It would be wrong to ascertain such exploitations only to the Indian civilisation. Women in almost every spectra of society, in overwhelmingly all periods of time have been the easiest targets. It is with the innate knowledge of being accused to be a "feminist" I assert my proposition. I wish to assert my independence. To not just speak for myself, but for the women who are flummoxed into silence. The woman who is supposed to be the upholder of all traditions within the four walls of the house with utmost poignancy.

Be it the Civilisations like the Aztecs and Mayan, where Mother Cults were in use. She then, became the God of Fertility. Worshipped. But constrained. She was feared to be "too sexually enticing" with bulging breasts and voluptuous anatomy. Or the Egyptian, where she could be a Queen but not a woman. She had to assert her rights, in the realm of the Men. The Queens had to kill their male counterparts to prove their hegemony. She tried to take power in her hands and was poisoned. Not just once but time and again, as silently quoted by the walls of the mighty Pyramids- their eternal abode. Where they were worshipped, out of fear and not humility.
This was the story of the rich and the influential. Things got worse when it came to the common women. They were accused to be adulteresses, heretical and witches.
The Coy Her

The Renaissance society, is the astonishing of all. It is usually said to be the "Age of Enlightenment". But on the contrary, it took away the little power that women had earlier, in the Medieval Ages enjoyed. Woman was to be part of the Private Sphere of the man. They were to educate themselves but not for their own knowledge and expertise but in order to become an eligible companion to the Enlightened Man. She was supposed to be a Good daughter..wife..mother..and so on. Everything but a Woman. She could think about her father, her husband or her son..but not about her Self. Be it the Renaissance in Europe where books on how women should educate herself to be a good companion to the intellectual Man were written in great numbers.Or the Indian mythology, where a woman was married to the Pandavas and then she was betted in a game, to the opponent, who won.

All this makes me wonder.. Homo Sapiens have had a long trajectory of Evolution. But have Women been a part of this Big Evolutionary process too? Man has experienced changes- from forest dweller to a businessman; from raw to cooked sophisticated food; from caves to furnished marble floored flats and bungalows, from drapes to suits. Changes in mode of production made Man change himself and his surroundings accordingly. But what has not changed is the role of Women in his life. His mother is still expected to love him unconditionally. His wife should satiate his sexual and emotional desires and take care of his children. His daughter is supposed to uphold the "traditions" of his family till she is wed off.The circle of things continue.

The Naughty Her
Such chains need to be broken. Not that attempts haven't been made. Whenever Man has reached his point of exasperation, women have always showcased brilliant portrayal as a conquistador of her own rights and beliefs. But instead, they have always been used as buttresses for Man's own longing for evolution in the name of Revolutions. But then, she is quietened, mostly by her own kin. In the name of her family's respect or her dear ones, she has had to take back those crucial steps to her own freedom.

To say India achieved her freedom on 15th August, 1947 would be exaggeration. Because India wasn't just about those thousands of odd freedom fighters (mainly men), but also about those women who according to Gandhi should be upholders of morality and abstinence. Gandhi himself was a patriarch who encouraged women to stay domesticated and loyal to their households and "produce finer sons" for the motherland.

Hurt her and you hurt God

Patriarchy has been omni-present. Almost synonymous with God. Over and above histories and time. Silence is Golden, they say. But every cloud has a silver lining. Silver, however strong, breaks down when the cloud bursts. Thus when the strength of a woman is tested, her anger comes in bursts. Be it the Burn Bra movement of the 1980s, or the Pink Chaddi movement in the 2000s. But then Gold is tougher. It is like that Golden bangle women are often gifted  after they are born. She is supposed to wear it. And keep wearing it till it cuts the skin. Then it is cut through by a metal cutter and taken out. Silence is the kind of double-edged weapon that strikes both-the victim and the victor. During the entire process, women have been processed to learn the art of "Keeping Quiet".

The muted Goddess, she expresses with her chores, her work.
Her tears define her happiness and sorrow  
And her fists, her love or anger. 
Her cries show her passion and pain.  
That reside behind the layered lips 
concealed beneath the unrequited love 
that was never hers.

If there is this One single thing I would want to change, it is this Muted-ness.Women from all strata of the society must speak out for their selves-and narrate the stories of their struggle, their experiences. It is high time they let their voices to be heard. It saddens me to see how women themselves force each other to keep mum about the atrocities. Women are not sexual objects or maid-servants. Mothers, Daughter and Wives are to be loved and respected. But more than men, I would urge the ladies to realize their worth. If we ourselves do not realise our worth, then how do we expect anyone else to realize how special we are?
I have already started discussion societies in my college and my faculty, where we, both girls and boys sit down and discuss issues pertaining to the development of a holistic society which would have the desired awareness about how implicit and explicit exploitation prevails in our society and obtain solutions for them. These are then published in a journal, we call Saheli. More efforts such as this should be started in rural areas, where women feel embarrassed to talk of their self, their sexuality and personality.
The Change Must come, and it must come, Now.

She Hides so much in those Eyes..          

Let Her Smile..
Her innocence, is in her eyes

To sum it up, I would use a beautiful quote by Salma Hayek,

This post has been written as per the theme- Time to Change by Stayfree in association with Indiblogger.in