Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I love Women

Shravan Kumar
In India, we follow the instructions, point to point, exactly as told to us by our parents. As part of a  
I Love Women
generation and culture of doing what we are told, always knowing that our passion lies outside the confines of what we had been told was ‘good’ for us, each one of us would have had our own problems and issues growing up. But ultimately we urban kids did come out of this groove and follow up with our passion, but this may not be the case with everyone everywhere, especially rural women. In a society like ours, which is primarily built upon strong traditional patriarchal views, women are subject to various ridicules and hardships. They often bear the brunt of the workload. Sadly they lack the voice and the agency, the space to make their voices heard. Which is why, we, the common people, must strive to achieve equality for women in the society and stand up against gender based violence.

Let me begin by saying this – “I love women”. 

Now, allow me to quantify that: I am what I am today because of women. Be it my amazing friends, or my high school lady or my boring school teacher who still cared for my marks despite me despising her, and of course the first woman I ever loved in my life – my mom. Each of them are amazing in their own unique ways and I would love to watch them reach their potential; to grow, develop and ultimately reach the stars. Quite obviously, I don’t want to see them boxed in by other people’s opinions, ignored and be leered at for being ‘just another woman’! Frankly, there’s no depth to the debate at all. I firmly believe that, a world without equality for women and girls is like flying a plane with just a single wing.  To solve any issue of our day, from poverty alleviation to defending everyone’s human rights, we need to include all potential agents for a change, which includes implementing women’s rights and their equality in the society.

Women are always at the receiving end of any gender based violence. It is rooted in a global culture of discrimination which denies women equal rights with men, and legitimizes the appropriation of women's bodies for individual gratification or political ends. However, from the local to the global level, all issues are interconnected. It is necessary that women think and work together to ensure that they have a voice and make it heard. This will come through education and addressing basic needs such as health care, maternal and child care and sanitation. We cannot separate social and economic issues as we strive to uplift women. I am no businessman or a political aspirant. I think about issues in a holistic manner. And I believe that none of this can be accomplished without a government and society which strongly encourages women’s rights and denounces violence against them.

As of today, much of what has been gained for with regard to women's human rights has been due to the efforts of women activists. Despite potential risks of imprisonment, harassment and torture and sometimes even death, they’ve broken social norms and cultural taboos to speak out, leading brave and inspiring campaigns for their rights. Notable ones are Ellen Johnson and Malala Yousafzai. Given the abrasive nature and the ‘let’s mind our own business attitude’ of the general society, unfortunately, the very notion of activism leads to negative stereotyping.  By aggressively promoting change through mass speeches and advocating unconventional practices like hunger strikes, etc., activists become associated with hostile militancy and unconventionality or eccentricity. Furthermore, this tendency to associate activists with negative stereotypes and perceiving them as people with whom it would be unpleasant to affiliate with, it reduces an individuals’ motivation to adopt the pro-change behaviours that activists advocate. The society doesn’t realize that, without these activists and their so called ‘radical’ behaviour, it is absolutely impossible that changes might occur. Guaranteed, small time articles and photographs published here and there might result in some small scale changes in certain areas. However, on the long run, if you need a successful, long-lasting, working model, we need to give in a strong push to create an impact huge enough. Precisely what these activists have tried and accomplished over the years, create a dent large enough in everyone’s mind to make them aware, cause them to step up and act.

We all, at some point in our lives do realize that despite having appreciated our privileged upbringing and the opportunities that it had afforded us with, there’s more that we could do to lead a happy fulfilling happy life. Give back to the community which groomed us. This can be done in various forms, some choose education, some choose financial helping. Personally, I choose to strive hard for the social upbringing of women in our society. Stand against irrational judgements and acts against women, and fight for women’s equality rights. Not just by doing some on field work and manual chores, but also by creating awareness about the same. I want men to be men. To learn and work hard to be an amazing dad, a good husband, the awesomest brother and the ultimate friend. I urge you to regard women as how you’d treat your boss when you run onto him on the road. With respect. Women deserve as much respect as that plump local politician or that huge pot-bellied cop. Say no to gender based violence, and stand up against anyone who indulges in such actions. And only when you’ve done that, can you feel proud, and say that you are a Real Man.

Shravan Kumar is many things, and ergo could be nothing too. Let’s go with nothing, he says. Currently in his sophomore year, pursuing Computer Science in SNU Noida, despite being a going-to-be engineer by academic proficiency, he prefers to be known as the guy who knows nothing, much like Jon Snow. Errorless compilation of a code is an orgasmic bliss to me. A foodie who loves to travel and can talk about almost all random things ranging from Arsenal to whether a guy is friend-zoned or not depending on the last seen on a girl's WhatsApp. Shravan is good at not being good at sports, and is a geek [as seen by many], a bibliophile and a master procrastinator. Passionate about maths and quizzing, he occasionally writes. If there’s no Wi-Fi around, he is more of a philosopher and an amateur psychologist.