Feminism, women empowerment and India

Off late, we are hearing a lot of noise around the media that India is not a safe place for women. Every year, we get to witness few very hyped instances of women being molested / raped or dowry torture / death etc. Though the actual reported incidents would easily run into lacs in each category, only 2-3 in each category get hyped in media, and the official (NCRB) stats shows a maximum conviction rate of 20 to 30 % causing a lot of agitation amongst a section of men. And one also must wonder, if India is the only country in the world and an exception, where crime against women are reported. India as a country, having a lot of focused and specific laws for women and their issues, still there seems to be no stopping / reducing the cry of the feminists for more, making you wonder if those laws are at all effective in addressing the problems.

Now, if we try to look back we would see that feminism is a term coined in the early 19th century, popularized in the early 20th century. The basic demand were equal rights for women. Now on paper this looks very apt demand, and no human should object to this. But still, it is being criticized across the globe, hence there must be some reason for this. To understand that, let us try to figure out what feminism have achieved till date for women? Better education ? Better healthcare ?  Better lifestyle? Better social security ? Ensured equal rights of women ?

We must remember, over the past 100 years, the society has evolved a lot. If we compare education, healthcare, social security, lifestyle everything underwent a sea change over the last 100 years, and that is true for both men and women. For e.g. the feminist movement in India produced many matrimonial laws, with the aim to better the life of married women. It majorly started 30 years ago, around the early 80’s. Since then, the statistics (NCRB) published by the govt. says, death of married women are increasing every year, violence against married women at the matrimonial home is also increasing. So I really doubt if feminism can be actually credited for any betterment for women hood.

Now if we look back at it in Indian context, the first social reform for the betterment of women’s life should be attributed to uprooting the sati (widow immolation), which was led by men (social reformers), not feminists. Two most notable person who were vocal for women’s rights and education were Raja Rammohan Roy and Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar. They were social reformers not feminists. The Actual feminist movement popularized in India around 80’s and it was given a very glamorous name “Women Empowerment”. On paper this looks very fine, as it is fact that there are a lot of problems and issues that needs to be addressed when it comes to rights of women in our country. At the same time, it is also true that no one is bothered about the rights of men. While feminism tries to address the rights of women, unfortunately there is no such movement to address the rights of men. No country in the world had addressed the issues of women with gender specific laws, but here in India we are trying to do so. But the most important thing is HOW?

Let us now try to delve deep into this HOW aspect of women empowerment that feminists are shouting and the result it produced. One of the issues that were picked up was dowry harassment and bridal death. What they have achieved is enacting 498A of IPC in 1983. Since then, they way it was enacted, drawn criticism from all corners, including almost all the high courts even the Apex court for its misuse.  Then they went on to introduce Domestic Violence Act, Dowry Prohibition Act, 304B, different maintenance laws ensuring easy and life long maintenance to wives, etc etc. with the aim to better the life of married women, ensure their rights in case “they feel” they are tortured at their matrimonial home, justice in case of bride burning etc. All these majorly started 30 years ago, around the early 80’s. Since then, the statistics (NCRB) published by the govt. says, death of married women are increasing every year, violence against married women at the matrimonial home is also increasing. So, I am not sure how it addresses the actual problem of crime against married women. But one thing it surely does, ensures their rights and greed. They get sure shot maintenance and alimony if the ask for it, easily. Thus, these laws are actually greatly misused since there is no check to prevent the misuse. A simple testimony by the wife is enough to land everyone in the grooms family in jail instantly. The husband is ordered to pay hefty maintenance to the wife. While bridal death is increasing, the number of married men ending their life of almost double compared to married women (source, NCRB data, published by Govt. of India) for which these laws are to be blamed largely. Still, feminists feel that those laws are not effective enough to address the problem it is enacted for. Then what good these laws are doing? They are used an easy escaping tool for those women who do not believe in the institute of marriage, too laid back to earn a living on their own, are so called modern. Mostly these educated urban women, gets married to a reach guy, and then threatens their family with false cases and gets a huge amount as compensation / alimony and walks away scot-free. This is slowly creating social unrest, and the holy institute of marriage is under tremendous threat. Now they have proposed Sexual Harassment at Workplace Bill, Fixed salary to your wife for doing your household work, fixed 50 % asset of the matrimonial home at the time of divorce and punishment for marital rape. What all these laws are doing is just destroying the harmony, and making men and women believe they are each others enemy.

On one hand, they are proposing laws after laws for betterment of women, which if closely observed would divulge that they only help a limited section of adventurous, modern, educated women who lives in the cities and are aware of these laws and its options for misuse. These zero on morality women who misuse the provisions of legal safeguards meant for actual victim are the real danger to our society. They are equal danger to our society as of a murderer or a terrorist.

What is actually been labelled as women empowerment, is also an illusion is looked deeper. For e.g. section 498A of IPC. It has given immense power to the hands of wives, while made other women in the family (Mother in law, Sister in Law, grandmother, Aunt, etc) vulnerable. Thousands of innocent women are jailed and harassed every year. What about their empowerment ? What about their rights ? You will not find any answer. But interestingly, in another law made by them, the Domestic Violence Law, says that a women can not be a respondent, which means a woman can not do any violence to another woman. So, a woman can subject another woman to cruelty and get punished for that under 498A, but can not subject another women to violence according to DV Act. 😛 This clearly shows that they themselves (read feminists) are not clear about what they want, and how.

Similarly, what all has been done so far, has only been done with one point agenda, to create more social unrest. A very large section of our women live in rural areas, where there is no law and order, limited or no rights, forget about equal, but nobody is bothered about them. So eventually, this women empowerment does not benefit neither women nor men. More marriages are breaking, which otherwise would not, more men are willingly avoiding and ridiculing women, and slowly, the healthy male-female relationship, which is very much essential for a society so sustain, are rotting. If all these continues in this way, very soon the time will come when men will simply boycott women, socially and in all possible ways, just avoid the harassment. Will that be a very good sign? Is this what the ultimate target of feminists ? Are they (feminists) sure that we men are so fool that despite all the hardships, we will still continue to spoil the ladies as a lover does for his partner and invite all possible uncalled for troubles to fulfill their greed?

On the other hand, we need to see how these laws are actually getting enacted when proposed by the so called feminists ? Feminists are not empowered to enact any law. Here comes the interesting part. The Govt. had set up ministry for women (though there is no ministry for men, and as per latest confession, Govt. do not intend to set up one as well), under this umbrella the feminists movements taking its shape. Across India, there are more than 5000 govt funded NGO, which works for women centric issues. Each year, huge fund is allocated by the Govt. for these activities, plus more funds come from International bodies such as United Nations under its various programs for betterment of women. All these figures, if added up, runs into millions of rupees. So in a nutshell, each year, millions of rupees are being spent to create this social imbalance.

So, who actually are benefited from all these? Answer is the political parties, corporate houses and media, global economic superpower countries and a bunch of people who are the mouthpiece of feminism and holding position to various bodies working for it, who otherwise mostly would find it difficult to make a living.

Let us see, how each of them gets benefited from all these. Political parties are mostly engaged in all possible unfair practices now-a-days, every now and then we get to know about corruptions and scams which runs into billions of rupees. So they do not definitely want the common people to pay much attention to their wrong doing, thus ensuring we are busy enough in our own life in all possible ways. Global economic superpower countries also gets immensely benefited. Simply because, India as a country is seen with tremendous potential, a future superpower. Indian brains are one of the best in the business, across the world, many prestigious and powerful positions are held by Indians despite all the hardships we have today. So the so called first world countries, the global economic superpowers have realized that, if India is allowed to nurture its talent, then very soon India will suppress them. Plus market in India is one of the biggest in the world, and very much fragile. You can simply show an ad “that use this fairness creme and you will become white from black” and make good business which is simply not possible in their countries. You can very easily fool people of India to believe into something which is not true, because they are so simple and pure. So, if India raises tomorrow, it their business will reduce. So these countries have interest in ensuring that this market continue to exist. Hence they are channeling huge money via organizations like United Nations (to confirm, search and check where the major funding of UN comes from).  But why the govt and political parties are allowing this? Simply because they are benefiting from this in 2 ways. First, there are huge money that is involved. Second, by doing all this, they are ensuring that common people are enough busy with their lives that they do not get much time to raise their voices against their wrong doings.

What the British had once done here, the govt. and political parties have taken it to the next level – Divide and Rule. The political parties ensured that by making such laws and creating such an environment, the divide and rule principal is enacted in the grass root level – between man and woman and within families. What feminism has achieved so far is making men and women look at each other as enemies, thus diluting the very essential social balance to a great extent. While we man and woman fight, they will reap the benefits.

Then, the corporate houses and media, simply because of the below reason: Lets say a united family of husband , wife , grandparents and grandchildren share one house , one newspaper , one fridge , one TV and one microwave etc. The moment the wife is separated from the husband she will need a whole new set of duplicate articles for herself thereby essentially doubling the sales of all these articles. So the simple logic is that more number of times a family divides the more the consumerism increases overall . It is not just by chance that Americans consume the most in spite of having the most debt . The totally destroyed family system in US the prime contributor to the unhealthy consumerism. As a consequence we rarely ever see an article in Indian newspapers and the television preaching family harmony. In fact living with the family itself is projected oppression of women by Indian newspapers . The press seems to almost hail broken marriages and divided families and single parenthood for women is made to look as the cool thing . Women who choose to remain single are projected as role models for other women to follow and emulate. 498a is a major facilitator in family breaking since once this case is filed the chances of reconciliation are virtually reduced to zero.

Finally it comes down to those people who are the so called big shots, holding prominent positions in this whole feminism movement, are mouthpiece of the feminism, holding topmost positions in various bodies working for feminism. They are the one who are actually getting benefited from this whole drama. they are the one earning like anything, otherwise I doubt they can simply make a living. They carefully and intentionally omit the very basic step of proper education. Unless one is educated, unless one is made aware of his / her rights, made responsible enough to differentiate between right and wrong, all these provisions of laws and other facilities will not work. These people never talks about the responsibilities and duties of a woman; as if they do not have any. Only they have have demands, and more demands. More money, more assets, more freedom, no work, no responsibility. What they are simply doing is that while you are ill (read problems of women), they are producing more quacks (flawed laws and other facilities to address those issues), stating that we need more such quacks to treat so may ill people. As a result, the problems are not addressed, on the other hand, new problems are born. Neither they are interested in producing doctors ( proper laws and facilities which actually would benefit the victims) nor they are bothered about educating people about the actual problems and their actual solutions.

If a society has to develop, then proper education system and properly implemented legal system  are a must. Where people will be aware of their rights, and would not need to fear about being falsely harassed by anyone with oblique motive at the same time, would come to the rescue of anyone who is a genuine victim. You also need to have a strong family bonding, and happy family to be able to go out in the world and achieve something big. With a shoddy education system, and ensuring families keep fighting within itself by making more and more family breaking laws, corporate houses and media, political parties and the global economic superpowers ensure India remain the same and they mutually reap the benefit.

What my main point is, if a woman is not happy in a marriage, because of incompatibility or any other reason, which is very much possible, then just go ahead and seek a divorce. If you need money to sustain post divorce, then it is not the responsibility of the earlier husband to supply so. You work and earn and live your life, nobody is stopping you. But if your attitude is “I do not want to stay in a marriage, but I need my husband to pay me enough so that I can enjoy the rest of my life happily / or ensure I give my parents a handsome return for what they did for me till marriage , else file few false cases in case the husband does not agree to pay and force him to do so or simply to teach him a lesson showing your power” then that is not right.In case you are a genuine victim, then only file the cases. But we can not leave this on the people to decide if they need to file the cases or not, and even if they file false case, there is no issues, is the biggest problem. Govt. / feminists simply can not expect people (women) not to misuse a power where misuse is not punishable. History has witnessed, all of the powerful inventions / discoveries are misused more than they are used for e.g. dynamite to nuclear power to aeroplanes…. you name it and it is misused. And all these misuse has brought devastating results.

So the feminists, and their supporters including the Govt has to decide now which path they wants to follow.

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2 thoughts on “Feminism, women empowerment and India

  1. Pingback: India Raising…is it? | No Mans Land

  2. Pingback: India Rising…is it? | No Mans Land

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