Women’s day again and we have the same agenda to steer….
Today again after decades, I reminisce a beautiful verse written by a highly acclaimed, prominent woman novelist, and essayist Amrita Pritam. She was a leading 20th-century poetess of Punjabi language –.. .My grandmother used to often recite her verse remembering the atrocities caused to women at the time of India Pakistan partition…
Aj aakhan Waris Shah nun kiton kabraan vichchon bol,
Te aj kitab-e-ishq daa koi agla varka phol..
Ik roi si dhi Punjab di tun likh likh maare vaen,
Aj lakhaan dhian rondian tainun Waris Shah nun kehn..
Dharti te lau vaseya, kabran paiyyan chon, Preet diyan sehzadiyan ajj vich mazaaraan ron..
Ajj sabbe Kaidon ban gaye, husan ishq de chor, Ajj kithon le aaiye labh ke waris shah ik hor..
For those who don’t understand Punjabi, an attempt to translate above stanza in English ….
Today, I call upon Waris Shah, “Speak from your grave”
And turn today the book of love’s next affectionate page
Once, a daughter of Punjab cried and you wrote a wailing saga
Today, a million daughters cry to you, Rise O’ Waris Shah!!
Today all have turned Quaidons, the tormentors of love and beauty,
Where can we find another one like Waris Shah who could cause a revolution with his poetry
Ironically, after more than six decades this verse is still as apt to our ever globalizing country and progressive society as it was when we were a conservative and right-winger society. I often wonder we are the most hypocrite society who shows respect for fairer gender only in scriptures and sculptures in temples. The moment we step out of the holy places on the road back into our houses, to our work places, we adorn our bigoted instincts and assert our power on weaker sections.
Male female ratio, women education percentage, gender neutrality and inclusivity, crime against women… you pick up any census… at what pace are we growing. While we claim to be the next big economic power in the world, we have a huge land to cover. Essentially, the status of women is the reflection of state of development of any country.
Unfortunately, we all know that we have a law in the country which cannot protect its little less than half the population. We have a constitution which cannot ensure equal rights of freedom to women. A government which takes its own pace and time to confront such crimes and police that starts reacting only when masses come on the road to protest. Does this really guarantee any solution to this problem, I am not hopeful.
So friends!! we have to make a choice between acting helpless and blame the system or do our bit!
My question to everyone is –“ Are we doing our bit, if we desire a change !! ”
How many of us are parents, guardians and have daughters, sisters who wish them an independent tomorrow. I guess most of us. But what are we doing to create a social setup where our sisters, daughters, wives can go out and work as an equal person and professional as our male friends. Have we done enough!?
Then how do we expect this transformation to happen on its own, overnight.
Mahatma Gandhi said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. It sounds banal but I am repeating it for its unsurpassed value.
If we all wish to give a true meaning to this Women’s day, Lets go home today and try bring this little change in our own life, our environment! To begin with:
1. Respect the woman at home (charity begins at home). It could be our mother, sister, wife, daughter for a person she is and value she is bringing to our life.
2. Let’s not offend her in private or in front of our children, colleagues, friends in compulsive outburst of our chauvinism.
3. Let’s not promote cheap, senseless jokes, profane language just to assert our power.
4. Teach our children, especially sons to respect women as mothers, sisters, spouses and most importantly human beings.
5. I bet it won’t take away masculinity from anyone if we exhibit this behavior and be the role model ourselves.
6. Now at work, if we genuinely wish to make our sisters, daughters safe and breathe in fear free air, let’s start respecting others’ sisters and daughters who are our colleagues today.
I know this will still take a few years to change the old wiring and completely replace with new social order. But before we know, a revolution may have already begun.