Sunday, May 24, 2015

India is no land for unmarried/divorcee/widow

We Indians are good at judging people. We judge people based on anything and everything. One’s marital status is one such thing. If you have attained a certain age and are unmarried or if you are a divorcee or a widow, then be prepared to be judged.

In India it’s tough to be a woman. If you have attained a certain age and are still unmarried, this means that there is definitely some fault in you, there is something wrong because of which you are not getting married. This is still better, in-fact much better than being a divorcee or a widow. I don’t like the way we treat a divorcee or a widow. I grew up learning about Raja Ram Mohan Roy’s efforts to abolish the practice of Sati from India. The practice may have been abolished but the aftermath is equally dreadful. I remember watching Deepa Mehta’s Water which was about the life of widows. However, I do agree that their lives may have been improved a bit (in urban India) compared to the previous couple of decades but it still has a long way to go before widows can live freely. There are so many restrictions imposed on widows; they are supposed to live their entire life in a certain way even if they would not want to.
I once read a post by one of my batch mates. She had lost her husband after just one year into the marriage. One day she pays a visit to a Church and was introduced to someone as “The girl who lost her husband” She said that this one incident changed her identity and all she was now was the girl who had lost her husband, a widow.

This is still better; what angers me the most is the way we treat a divorcee. We at times even use it as slang; use it to hurl abuses at someone. I remember watching a reality show where two contestants were fighting and were hurling abuses at each other and it was only when one said to another: “Saali Divorcee” that the fight ended because it was too much to take for that contestant who was just out of a bad marriage. As if the trauma of going through a bad marriage/divorce is not enough, we have to remind them that they are a divorcee and most of the times make it look like it’s their fault. It is ok to remain married to a wrong person but it is not ok to set yourself free.

What scares me the most is that it’s us, the so-called-educated class of urban India, who don’t shy from treating women in such a manner.  There is this friend who used to like a girl. All used to address that girl as “His Girl”. One day he told us that she is a divorcee. Since that day, that girl became from “His Girl” to “That Divorcee”. As we got to know that she is a divorcee, she ceased to exist as a friend, a daughter, a sister; all she was now was a divorcee. One of my friends was persuading me to get married. She said that if I will not marry now, at a later age, I will only get a divorcee. I replied that so what if I get a divorcee. If I am able to connect with the girl then what’s wrong in marrying a divorcee or a widow. The look at my friends face said it all; it said everything about how we feel for a divorcee or a widow. If you are young and it’s your first marriage, it’s not ok to marry a divorcee or a widow.
It’s tough to be a woman. I don’t even wish to mention the countless honor killings, female feticide, rape, domestic violence etc. Men may have more physical strength than women but women are stronger than men both: mentally and emotionally. Still, all that I see around make me feel lucky that I don’t belong to the so-called-weaker sex.

I have not travelled much and have not seen the rural India. But from what all I have seen in urban India, I don’t even want to imagine the scene in rural India. I often wonder that why can’t we treat women in a normal way. Why can’t we mind our own business and leave them alone, why do we tend to outcast them as if they have committed some crime and hold them responsible for all the bad that had happened to them? They have gone through some pretty bad phases in their lives. The least we could do is to not make their lives more miserable by treating them differently. Why is it so difficult to understand that they are not different; they are just like anyone else. Last week I read an article which said that in Paleolithic era, people used to believe in gender quality; women had equal rights and it was they who invented and began using farming and agriculture. What happened to us in the modern era? Guess we evolved!!

1 comment:

Mehak Siddiqui said...

:(

Things are even worse in certain rural areas. On a trip to Mehboobnagar district of Andhra Pradesh (or Telangana now, I don't know), I came across some real horrifying stories of the jogini system where young girls and women are literally prostituted in the name of religion.