Predominantly the male-dominated society has always tried to create a salubrious balance between the male and the female sections of the society. But in reality, whenever we try to draw a picture of this much-required equaliser, we fail to colour the portion of liberty and freedom for women in a proper way. This comes amid a lot of discussions and attempts of deliberations, even in the present era as well. Yet, most of the time women have been robbed of their own liberty of decision making as they don’t get enough representation in those very “discussions” that try to uplift them.
What about equality?
If we take the society as a weighing scale metaphorically, keep both men and women on the two plates of it, and measure them in terms of liberty, freedom, pressure inflicted etc, then normally, the balance should have been proportional and indistinguishable on both the sides. However, surprisingly, more often than not a disparity has been always observed in this regard, and that is where the society as a whole has failed to bridge the gap between the two sections of the society. Men seem to enjoy much more freedom and liberty than women. Indeed, both have their fair share of problems but the exposure to it seems to be more volatile on the female side due to the dual oppressive nature of sufferings: one is the cause and second is the added dimension in lieu of being a woman.
Many a time we also come across issues like fraud marriages, witch hunting, dowry death etc. In fact, these issues pop up because of the society’s apprehension that the female section of the society is to be controlled and dominated. And this societal perspective can be broken into simple terms by bringing into surface many relatable instances.
How they are targetted in a systematic way
A biological process that every woman undergoes is the menstruation cycle. Although this process is very natural, most of the time, society considers it to be impure and thus isolates the girl from the outer world. Rituals regarding menstrual cycle might vary from one place to another but more often than not when a girl experiences this biological cycle, she is deprived of her liberty in various aspects, some of which are quite relevant. But similar is not the case when boys experience the age of puberty. The transition period from being a boy to men and a girl to women are treated differently. This is how it all starts.
The next major issue is the pressure inflicted by the society upon the girls to get married after attaining a certain age. Even the most so-called rational person at times opine that a girl should get married after she reaches a particular age, irrespective of whether or not she is mentally prepared. And when a girl decides to get married out of extreme pressure, rather than the desire that is when she might come across a lot of problems or life-threatening issues.
In a peculiar case, this girl from Guwahati got married to a guy without even knowing him properly just as she was coerced under the society’s pressure to get married at the earliest. And the end result of it was that within one year of the marriage, she came to know that the guy had a different kind of ailments, anxiety issues, plus he consumed anti-psychotic drugs. Her marriage was broken then and there, she did not suffer from any kind of physical torture. But in certain cases, things would have been even worse than this. Hence rather than imposing pressure upon a girl to get married, the society should give her the liberty to decide on her own the right time and the right person to get married to.
Moreover, the mindset of just forcing a girl to get married without allowing her the ample amount of time to decide doesn’t only lead to fraud marriages at times, but if we carefully analyze, issues like dowry death, witch hunting etc in a broader perspective, also can be related to the mindset of ‘getting the girl married’. But the question that would now linger is: How getting a girl married by force or compulsion, at times can lead to issues like dowry death or witch-hunting?
Before trying to answer this question, it’s important for us to know the statistics regarding dowry death and witch-hunting. Reports show that the number of cases filed under the Dowry Prohibition Act witnessed a rise from 690 in 2018 to 739 in 2019. The number of dowry deaths saw a jump from 48 in 2018 to 52 in 2019. And according to a report by the Assam Government, there have been 107 witch-hunt deaths in 8 years. So the statistics are staggering for both the issues.
The matter of the fact is that be it the witch-hunting or cases of physical abuse due to dowry or dowry death, all have many reasons associated with it. But down the line, if we carefully scrutinize, we would also find that the tendency to get the girl married without even properly examining the in-laws house or the greater community, where she would get married, can also lead to the creation of these issues. This is because when the society’s only motive is to get the girl married after attaining a certain age, some people do not inspect the things properly and hence they knowingly or unknowingly push the girl to a particular community, where superstitious beliefs like witch-hunting prevail or where girls are tortured in the name of dowry. So for all these reasons, it’s important for the society to realize the fact that focus should be laid upon securing the girl’s future after marriage rather than dragging and pushing the girl to get married. Also, the choice to marry or even not should be on the person and not on the family to decide.
Moreover, over the years, many conversations and dialogues have been exchanged among people, to come out with ACTs that can secure a woman’s life from various aspects. But before any ACT can come in handy, it’s important for the society to change their mindset and stop considering woman as a burden. Further, if this continues in the same manner, someday we might have to conclude that in a patriarchal society, women would never reach the level of equity that is pertinent for every human being.
Hence, in the broader context, it’s important for the society to gift the women fraternity something called freedom and liberty and let them be free birds rather than making them caged with force and compulsion. Lastly, permit them to make their own mistakes rather than directing their path for them.
Abour the author: Bishaldeep Kakati, is an Editor, Poetry World Organization, Assistant General Secretary, North East Debaters Association, Lifetime Member Assam Sahitya Sabha. Youth writer and poet and a passionate debater and cook.
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