Today, the world is celebrating the International Women’s Day. It was earlier known as International Working Women’s Day to express the fight for women’s rights. It was not always celebrated on March 8th but on February 28th from 1909 in New York. Delhi Commission for Women (DCW) organized an event just like last year to honor the 30 unsung heroes of the real world who irrespective of their commoners’ status have done extraordinary things.
Since morning, I was so excited that I woke up at 6am and around 8:30am, reached the venue of the DCW event. I was feeling really special due to wishes pouring from everywhere and especially from my male friends as well. My emotions had to be that way, after all, I was witnessing how the chief guests of the day like Delhi Chief Minister – Mr. Arvind Kejriwal; Member of Parliament – Derek O’Brien and others were presenting awards to the 30 women.
We still can’t say if men are only doing this to leave an impression or they actually mean it. But the turning point to me was when DCW Chief – Swati Maliwal mentioned that, this time, we are not only honoring the women but also the men for their contribution to the women’s life so that we can invite the change in Indian mindset. Our mindset is what we become, isn’t it? Nil Battey Sannata famed Actor Swara Bhaskar advised the women in the function “Ab besharm ho jao! ab kya hoga sochna chhod do, aur apne liye jeena shuru karo.” Similarly, the olympic bronze medalist wrestler, Sakshi Malik shared how she had to fight patriarchy to become a wrestler which is one of the most uncommon professions for a girl in a nation like India.
Union Minister Maneka Gandhi asked CM Kejriwal to start a single day for men as we celebrate women’s day only once and we should have events for men as well only for a single day; to congratulate and wish them “Happy Men’s Day”. The whole amalgamation was so interesting and exceptional for me until my memories forced me to walk back to the lane of Govindpuri Market to revisit an incident from yesterday.
I went to a temple to meet a family living inside it with a question and the lady who was brooming the house said she can’t answer it. Later, an aged woman came out from inside and answered my question. I thought maybe the first young lady does not belong to the house. After few minutes, I was standing on their terrace with more questions. The young lady was standing with me so, I turned towards her with my next query, hoping for an answer this time. The woman said, “Humara ghar nahin hai, hum apni taraf se kuch kaise bata de?”. Now, it was clear to me that this woman does not belong to the house. But her next statement broke my heart into pieces when she said: “Hum bahu hain is ghar ki, sasu maa hi sab kuch bata sakti hain.” I felt so helpless that everyday, I am standing with a lady who does not have any opinion, forget about the decision-making right in her house (I mean in her mother-in-law’s house). She does not consider herself as a member of the family. It seemed like I am not living in the 21st century but in some dark ages.
On one hand, today, there are many women selected from all corners of India who have been respected and credited for being courageous, and on the other hand, there are women who do not even has a voice to speak in their own homes. And when a lady curtails another lady’s right to speak then how does one expect CHANGE? We really need to introspect first, otherwise, no CHANGE will be possible and by chance, if there will be any due to exemplary grit and courage, that will be too less and will be restricted to recognition and celebration once a year.
With the hope for better tomorrow and a better India where a woman can breathe as easily as a man, Happy International Women’s Day to all!