Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Attitude towards women – need for a change in mindset- Col RD Singh

Attitude towards women – need for a change in mindset- Col RD Singh.
26 December 2012
Pictures and Videos: Amar Singh Jyani, GS Mann.
The ongoing protests against the gruesome gang rape case in Delhi, reminds me of my childhood memories in a village in Haryana in 1960s, of how women used to lead a second fiddle  life.  A bride,  normally at 15 or 16 years,  the moment she came to her husband’s house, she was launched into full fledged household duties. Rising at 5 am, milking the buffalos/cows, sweeping the house, and then preparing food for the entire family. That would be about 10 am, without she getting a breather, under a veil, and becoming a ‘statue’  when elders passed by. Food prepared, she had to ferry it to the fields, where her husband and other  family members were working. Food served, she would have to come back with a heavy load of fodder for the cattle on her head. After returning home, there was no respite, as she had to wash dirty clothes, and utensils,  of the entire family. Thereafter, she had to grind wheat in a ‘chakki’ to make flour, and grind the 'masalas' for dinner. Now it is  evening, and time to feed the cattle as also milk them. All done by this  poor girl, whose feelings and emotions were all hidden behind the thick red ‘odhani’.  It is sun set and time to cook dinner for the men folk who would be soon back from the fields, and demanding. The young bride had to make sure that every one has had his/her food, before she could think of taking a bite herself. Oh, no! she can not yet go to her husband. She has to ‘press’ the feet of her mother in law for atleast half an hour. She is excused to depart for her bed, only if the ‘saas’ is satisfied and ready to snooze. Finally the poor young lady goes to the room or on the roof where her husband is waiting. His primary  interest is only to have sex and not listen to his wife’s feelings. That is if he is not drunk. Else, he could also be violent.

The next morning the same grind starts again. The problem of the young woman will multiply as she soon becomes pregnant and begets child after child. You can imagine her condition when she has to do all the above household chores,  as also look after three to four children, at the same time. No recreation, no personal space, no voice. Such was the condition of a woman at that time. Things have improved over the years due to modern facilities, but she still plays the second fiddle at home. Man still rules the roost as evident from the khap panchayats. Molestation and rape cases do take place in villages but only few are reported. Most are hushed up in the name of family honour. The victim is married to the first groom available, without bothering about her wishes.

The gruesome gang rape of the 23 year old girl, in a running bus, on 16 December in South Delhi, has for the first time, shook the conscience of the nation towards the way we treat women, in general. The nation wide protests have shaken the govt and the authorities out of complescence.  Enough of talks and promises, now is the high time for action. And action should result into three things – life sentence for the ‘beasts’;  fast track courts to try out rape cases;  and three, the society to realise its own responsibility.  It is sad but true that 95 percent of rape cases take place within houses ( most not reported) and by the known persons. When the 23 year old was lying unconscious and naked, after being flung out of the bus, none of the many gathered onlookers even bothered to cover her, leave alone taking her to a hospital. This is not in tune with the national rage that we are showing today.  Lets be sensitive in our actions towards the victims, next door, or on the streets, in our day to day life. It is a collective action by the govt, the authorities, the police, and the people. By nature, we got to be respectful to women, and not treat them as a weaker sex. The mindset has to change and women have to be made secure. So, lets join hands to remove the gender bias and treat women with dignity and equality.
Colonel R D Singh, a star blood donor, and a decorated soldier, belongs to Village Pilimandori (now in Distt. Fatehabad). He is also a life member of INTACH, and his entire family believes in giving back to the society.  Wife is a senior teacher in the Army Public School, daughter (LLM topper from the DU Law Faculty) is a member of the Delhi Bar Association, recently married to an IIT, IIM fine young man. son, is a young Lieutenant in Army (third generation).  Col. Ripu Daman Singh writes regularly for news papers, and The Sirsa News.

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