India is the country where people worship their gods and goddesses with full faith and devotion. India is the country where the goddesses are found, in one form or the other, in each and every house. It is the country where knowledge, education, wealth, love, care are all attached to the devis, the goddesses. It is the country which gives its land and nature the status of a mother. It is the country where a girl child is considered as lakshmi (goddess of wealth), an auspicious blessing. And YET it is the same country where when a girl is born, she is looked down upon. It is the same country where cases of girl child killing take place in enormous numbers. It is the same country where a girl, woman or lady, of any age, has to think twice before wearing something or going out.
Recently, in an article published by The Times of India it was stated that India has become the deadliest or the most dangerous place in the world for a girl child. About 75,000 girls are aborted in India every year. Punjab and Haryana have the highest numbers of abortions even though these two states are considered amongst one of the most developed states in the country. Advanced technology has it made it possible to determine the sex of an unborn child. Techniques like biopsy, ultrasound, and scan tests etc. which are actually meant for detecting genetic problems are rather being misused for the purpose detecting an unborn child’s gender. A lot of cases of abortions happen because of this, mostly girl child abortions. And even after banning the performance of such tests for the wrong reasons, its practice still continues illegally. This discrimination of gender continues even after the birth of the girl child. Gender has grown to become an integral part of our lives. It sets out guidelines of ways in which both the genders have to behave or act according to. From the ancient times, girls have been taught to stay inside the four walls of their home, limiting their lives to household chores and looking after their family. They were prohibited from going to schools or participating in any activity. Most of them were married off at an early age in the so called child marriage. Even as wives or mothers, the exploitation was no less. They were denied the basic fundamental rights as well. Where boys lived a luxurious and leisurely life, girls were nothing more than household workers and child bearers. Although the scenario has changed a lot in the modern times, women still haven’t received the status they deserve. With the exceedingly growing pace at which women are eve-teased, threatened, raped and killed, India has become a very unsafe place for women. Cases of honour killing, dowry death, domestic violence get registered in huge numbers. Even after the imposition of various laws for the safety of women, the crimes don’t seem to be reducing. India surely has grown dynamically and advanced in most of the fields competing with other developed and developing countries, but it still lacks behind in terms of the mindset of its citizens. A lot of the Indian citizens continue to live with their narrow and orthodox mentality. What people need to realize is gender is not biological but a social construction.
Today women have reached the heights that they once couldn’t even dream of achieving. We have ample examples of Indian women who have made us proud and brought name to the country. Girls walk shoulder to shoulder with boys and compete with them at equal level. It is education without any doubts that has led to the empowerment of women. Every year on 8th March, we celebrate Women’s Day acknowledging their achievements and joining in the success of all that women have contributed towards the society, giving them all the respect that they deserve. Every woman deserves respect and equality and should receive so. They all have the right to their own lives and the decisions regarding them. But even with all the development, can we really say that the times have changed? The need is to remove even the slightest possibility of the existence this question and help shape India into an ideal country for all its citizens.
[Written by Manogya Shrivastava, a 2nd year student of Hindu College, University of Delhi, pursuing B.A Hons in Sociology. An avid reader, She loves for food is as much as she loves for dance.Coffee addict.]