life

She felt ‘Empowered’ by Riding a Bike 

bike

 Women Day spree has become a sizable snippet in leading up with the best way to show women’s seized, instead of inherited power. Power of femininity, power of liberation, power which we have earned or battled for. Hoodlum excluded, I feel good about the whole transition. Looking at this transition from a macro aspect is so incredible, but when go down at the micro level, it reminds me of some silly concepts and examples like, Deepika Padukone’s campaign for Vogue. “Don’t question me if I am back home at 4am after party, MY CHOICE”… Really? Is that what you call empowerment?

Congress MP Ranjeet Ranjan rides on Harley Davidson to parliament on Women’s Day, to show what? That she owns a Harley or she could ride one? How does it impact her belief in empowering women or having reservation for women in Lok Sabha? Ranjeet said she does not allow even her husband Rajesh Ranjan, also a Lok Sabha member from Bihar, to touch the bike, which she had purchased from her own earnings. However, he does get a chance to sit pillion as she rides the American monster. Is this how one perceives or should look at women empowerment? Feminists should ponder this situation intensely. First of all why do men felt the need to form “Save Indian Families’’ forum?

In my view, Women Empowerment has been mis-perceived by most of the people going gung-ho about this matter absurdly instead of taking informed stand. Women do not demand a comparison with men to feel empowered. At the same time, men do not need to wear heels to understand women power (Arjun Kapoor, you can support better campaigns than the frivolous campaigns like ‘Wear Her Heels’). Women empowerment is when she breaks code which was set against her – to make her feel belittled. Empowerment is when few women went out to break some rules in a fruitful way and as a result India will see its first batch of Female Fighter Pilots on June 18. Previously women were not allowed to join Indian Airforce as Fighter Pilots on the ground of physical limitations. Currently, the Female Trainees are undergoing the rigorous training same as their male counterparts.

Fighter Pilots

 Empowerment is when a tribal woman in Chattisgarh sells off her three goats to make a toilet in her house. This is the power, power of a woman to take charge and turn situations. Situations and paths do not change to accommodate people, we have to make our own path if we are not happy with the one ahead of us. There are so many women around riding bikes, driving cars, does that mean they are empowered?

The question of empowerment started way back in 90s, when there was disparity between men and women – voting rights, family and social pressures, treating woman like commodity instead of an equal human being. It was not only women, but also men who equally contributed towards bringing in this change. The women who feel empowered should sit back and think about all those men who helped them who they are today. My answer would be my father to provide me education and treating me no less than a son, my husband who respects my point of view.

Empowerment is not buying luxury with your salary and expect men to provide the rest without any help. Help here does not only means monetary but emotional too. Empowerment is hand holding your family in bad times and do whatever you could do. Mrs. Sudha Murthy is the best example.

So, the question is – Where do we actually need to empower women? It is hard to fathom how slow-moving the cultural exchange within India is when you find out that there are several places across the country where harmful customs of the ancient world coexist with modern appliances and thought. Women empowerment should be seen as the creation of an environment where women can make independent decisions on their personal development as well as shine as equals in society. And the most important factor to bring in a change is literacy. Not only is an illiterate woman at the mercy of her husband or father, she also does not know that this is not the way of life for women across the world. There is a need for empowerment to women who are not treated equally and have little or no say in decision-making. The health and safety concerns of women are paramount for the wellbeing of a country, and are important factors in gauging the empowerment of women in a country. However there are alarming concerns where maternal healthcare is concerned.

Its time to rise up and take a stand. To do whatever we could do along with the greatest support we find in men. Its time to question the work of Ministry for Women & Child Development and Nation Commission for Women. To truly understand what is women empowerment, there needs to be a sea-change in the mind-set of the people in the country.

 

 

 

 

Prioritizing Shiny Cars, Big Bungalows, Iphones over “People” is the new trend

Cogitating about 80s or 90s, people had a mindset to own an accommodation. It was like – acquiring a piece of land and build their “Dream House” was the only purpose of life. They deep-laid their finances and future to ‘bring home the bacon’ or accomplish this purpose successfully. During my childhood, away from all the worldly-minded mundane, I observed my parents toiled up this topic every now and then. To my surprise, this was the topic of discussion when I visited my friends too. Very often, these uncles and aunties (in India, we address every elder gentleman as ‘uncle’ and elder lady as ‘aunty’, whether they are our relatives or not), so I would continue…. these uncles and aunties would ask if we own a house or paying rent to stay.

Father, being the financier of the house – left no stone unturned for his family. Rendering the basics (food, clothing and shelter), occasionally throwing parties and arranging for holidays, he would always encourage us to save. Save electricity, water, environment, a little from the pocket-money – to imbibe the habit of saving from our early childhood. My mother – being the home minister would supervise if we could cut any extravaganzas. That is how, the down-payment for the house was arranged and rest was taken care by a housing loan. My friends who were staying on rent, also shifted to their new houses proudly. It was then considered a status symbol. People at this stage had small dreams and held strong family values, emotional bonding with others and used to socialize a lot. Two decades later, with the advancements, globalization and increasing purchasing power (thanks to the various direct or indirect credit facilities theses financial institutions came up with) people’s interest has wobbled. Once a person starts earning and saves some money, the first thing they do is – buying a car or a high-end mobile phone.

Since people are now busy with their own life and seldom find time to visit any friends, one thing for sure everyone does – getting out of their houses. Getting out to work, shopping, partying, long drive etc. – in these cars. On the street or highway, one can actually predict the financial condition of a person – by just looking at the cars they own. I remember, how people tried hard to look inside a brand new red Ferrari through the glasses and mirrors – just to recognize the person sitting inside. Is it Sachin (Tendulkar) or Imran or xyz. Funny!!! isn’t it?

Another rung of people would compete on the kind of bikes they own – 120cc, 220cc, 500cc, 1000cc and what not cc… the phones they own – “You don’t have an Iphone?” very commonly mentioned by people who own it to those who do not. During a Christmas party at one of my friend’s place, her 12 years old son’s friend asked in front of the entire lot of people attending – if they an Iphone’s charger at home since his phone battery was down and when my friend said “sorry, none of us uses an Iphone”, “Impossible, how can you guys not have an Iphone” – the kid replied, much to the embarrassment of my friend’s son, who then insisted on buying an Iphone, if not for him, at least for his father. On the same rhyme, companies are now promoting their products. People are running around, day and night because they want more, even if it is at the cost of their own health, personal life or others.

Materialism

One thing missing from all this bizarre of materialism is human values – to reach our ultimate goal – goal to live a peaceful life, contributing to other’s welfare and bonding of love. One can see people fighting on property issues, legacy they want to receive and enjoy worldly comforts, ignoring the value of “Earning People”. ‘Earning People’ is the most difficult and important part of our life. Some would argue that money can even buy people, true – to some extent, but we have good examples in Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela just to name a few. Were they rich? Yes, because they had “Earned People”. If earning money was the ultimate aim, why don’t people transfer money to their homes in heaven or hell post life on earth. Really strange that one spends entire life running after money and then dies leaving everything behind. Just to state, ‘understanding our very meaning of life’ on mother Earth is crucial ‘to be happy’. The after life is just another topic of discussion.