S M Jameel

Breaking through the layers of patriarchy!

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No human society can survive for long if it’s one half members are subjected to unjust treatment. Our women have come a long way from being mere objects of lust and gratification for their male counterparts who didn’t consider them above serfs and bonded labour. Historically, women were restricted to their homes and were believed to do all the drudgery there .They were not a part of any decision making in domestic affairs. Their own will or choice didn’t matter when it came to their marriages. Child marriage was a common practice and it played havoc with their physical, emotional and psychological well being.

Then came the wave of mass education that saw a girl being as talented and efficient as a boy. Modern education taught that a woman can be as useful and important to the society as man could be, provided she gets unrestricted opportunities to grow and prosper in life. As such, for more than a century we have seen great women in the fields of education, medicine, space sciences and politics. The fact remains that in the third world of which we are a part, a great number of women remain far away from the benefits of modern life. Patriarchy, lack of education, superstitions and many more things are responsible for this condition of women. However, efforts by societies and their govt’s everywhere are on to remove exploitation and discrimination against women.

Continuing with the topic of women and their importance in society, it pains to see some of them suffering worst at the hands of their husbands / in – laws. Family feuds, long separation of spouses, separated children, divorces and horrifying dowry deaths are a result of a perverted mindset and sinful actions of a few who end up destroying peace and harmony in homes and in society.

Just have a look at bus-stops in the morning and see how mothers lovingly escort their young children to protect them from potential dog-bite and help them board their school-buses. These women repeat the exercise in the afternoons on the return of their sweeties. This has become a custom over the years. A mother, after preparing them with their breakfast, Tiffin box and school bags joins her child/children on his/her/ their way to school and back, on every school day and the practice continues for years together. Fortunately , with mass awareness created over the past decades and with increased incomes, parents have been giving an equal importance to girl education, with the result that the no of female students at school and college levels is round about a half of the total student strength.  Some of these young women reach the University level and a remarkable no go for vocational trainings. Keeping the cost of living that goes on increasing with each fall, one can imagine the huge cost of education on every student who, in the course of time , completes his/ her education. Among them are some fortunate young women who find jobs to be financially independent in life.

Imagine, after marriage, some of these brides who are well educated, with jobs or no jobs, are mistreated by their spouses and their relatives on one pretext or the other. Sanity declares that education in itself is the greatest asset of the bride apart from her physical well-being. How unfortunate that they demand heavy dowries in cash and kind from these talented young women. With the intention of extracting these huge sums, the in-laws go on mistreating the bride so much so that she finds life miserable and full of her shattered dreams. At a stage, she, in a fit, ends her life.

Parents of these luckless brides find it hard to pay off the ransom- money as demanded .They have already spent much on their upbringing , education and on the consecration of their marriages. Besides, they have got other children to take care of.

Our society that boasts of being run on solid ethical grounds must feel the pinch and pangs of the suffering lot and galvanize itself to stop discrimination and atrocities on women who, otherwise, are the core of our social fabric. Those who carry on with the perverted views and inequitable actions should be isolated by naming and shaming them. The administration also needs to come to the rescue of the complaining women by actively rehabilitating them with dignity and respect.

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