“Aisi ladkiyan ayengi...udyogpatiyon ki, bade bade sarakari afsaron ki...sansad mein...aisi ladkiyon ko dekh kar ladke citi bajayenge pichhe se...haan...aap dekhlijiyega," this is what Mr. Mulayam Singh has proposed as one of his logic for his opposition to Women reservation in the parliament. Now most of the feminist and people with self claimed common sense are deriding him for his cheap mentality and sexism.
But why do we forget that this is not only Mulayam Singh, who thinks in this way, but there are millions of Mr. Kathor, who have elected such leaders, are also having the same opinion. It is true to some extent that females are teased, stared at, and commented upon, and even harassed by few sick men, who probably think that this is the only way, by which they can prove their manliness. Now the most problematic part is not that women have to face such obnoxious elements but the acceptance of the parents of the girls and society in general, that only way to avoid these situations is to keep their Bahu-Betis locked into their houses, instead of fighting for their rightful space in the world. It is not only parents and elders who try to restrict the women, but the females themselves do not come forward and become the party in their own oppression.
There are many such incidents which I’ve seen and felt myself. First is education. Why do we need separated educational institutes for women? Why don’t we encourage them to study in the co-ed school and colleges, where they can grow on par with men? Yes, as I said earlier, there are many problem related to unruly psychos and accommodation in cities. But the main problem is that parents don’t have trust on their own blood. Some of them think if they send their girls to co-ed institutions, they may get involved with boys of different castes and social status. This will tarnish their reputation in the society. They don’t say it to their daughters clearly but they understand it quite well and convince themselves that they are supposed to be like that only.
Next problem is that for some unknown reason females try to hide themselves behind veil instead of coming in public and face the world as it is. I’ve seen most of the women in my village, including in my own family, covering their faces in front of males. When I ask them why it is so, the only answer that comes is that they are supposed to be like that for cultural reasons. Its not only limited to uneducated and village women. We see on the social networking websites that most of the female profiles have hidden their faces in the garb of some different pictures then their own. Why is it so? Yes, I understand that there is a continuous nuisance of hundreds of freiendophiles, who are not on friendly terms with their own female family members but want the unknown females to be their friends without even knowing. There may be chances of misusing the photos by some maniacs. But this doesn’t mean that females should just loose their identities and hide themselves behind the flowers and animations. There is a real need on their part to come forward and fight the world.
Now the solutions, as I can see, lie not in reservations in education institutes, jobs, transportation, or even in legislative assemblies or in the parliament, but in the equal encouragement and opportunity given to females at home, to begin with. In making the girls believe that they can be as good as boys and in raising the girls as tough as boys, instead of asking for reservations for them. By encouraging them for higher education rather than marrying them to suitable boys at young age.
But the irony is that I don't see it happening very soon. It is going to take time. We cant go back and change what has happened till now, but we can surely change our attitude towards women and make the difference in the times to come :)