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Gender issues are always a hot topic. A stereotypical worldview of the Left-liberals is that: ‘women are the deprived lot; they are always at the receiving end in the patriarchal world. Hence women perennially suffer and should fight for gender justice. Most women in India and other parts of the world are in sync with this opinion. In the world’s most progressive nation i.e. the U.S, it is said that Hillary Clinton was defeated in 2016 as a presidential candidate due to gender bias. However, Indira Gandhi ruled India for sixteen long years. Contiguous Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka have had or have women as rulers. Apart from that Indian culture and scriptures give pre-eminence to women and say in no uncertain terms that women must be respected in all circumstances. Women activists in India (albeit legitimately) concentrate on cases of abuse and discrimination and bring violations to the notice of the public. Their use of ready-made definitions such as patriarchy for a society which is organised largely in men’s interest; gender-bias, gender-blind, discrimination, women-targeted statements indicating implicit misogyny and other androcentric terms show that they are copy-cats of the West. No one is saying there are no real causes for concern but chanting, day in and day out patriarchy, discrimination, misogyny, etc. Will it bring any justice to women? Of course, the privileged elite has the leisure and pleasure of airing views and fighting the ills they perceive. That being said, they are making these slogans anodyne and their fight is further dividing society.
While women-rights activists brought some positive changes in the lives of women through legislation, they are also brain-washing women at the bottom with hyperactive thought processes. They claim that for ages women have been “confined to the kitchen” to imply that unlike men they are not free to go out and undertake some intellectual or professional work-related pursuits. All over the world, work-family policies reflect the binary of caregiving women and working men. It is commonplace. Moreover, India has a strong family system in which women play a pivotal role. Most women in India (barring a small social elite and isolated individual cases) do the traditionally assigned job of cooking and looking after the house. This is not menial work. Most enjoy cooking for their family to ensure their health and well-being. After all, that is derivational happiness to them. In fact, given the changing dynamics of the society, when women’s participation has increased in the ‘outside’ work-force, men naturally have had to share in the housework, including in the kitchen. However, the fast-food delivery outlets are replacing traditional healthy cooking, as brain-washed sections of society are seeking easy alternatives to homekeeping and creating new problems as a result of unsound lifestyles.
Now, since educated women are coming out to work, the new slogan is: women are discriminated against in the workplace. They are coming from a glass ceiling and cannot attain the highest positions. Though this complaint has some merit, there are some other deeper reasons. The first and foremost is — the educated and securely employed woman gets married quite easily in Indian society nowadays. The moment she gets married she is not a free individual. She has the burden of child-bearing and child-rearing. Of course care of in-laws is often an added responsibility. Therefore, the hurdles for a woman, being born as such, are greater. Realizing the fact, the Indian Constitution has categorized them among weaker sections. To help in their uplift the government has increased maternity and child-care leave. In contrast, a married man is free to pursue his pursuits as before. He has kept his status quo ante.
The women’s rights activists usually agree that the family is the backbone of Indian society. However, as in the West, they would like nowadays girls to assert their freedom and rights for or against marriage as an institution, the choice of being single or married, the choice to have children or not, etc. Though these freedoms are per se not bad, taken to an extreme they cause ill effects in society. Ageing and dwindling populations are a cause for concern in many nations. Hence, portraying women as generic victims of the social system has its ill-effects. Such kind of social stratification India can ill afford. The schemata followed by the western countries on gender issues cannot be applied to the country wholesale. In any case, women activists of all shades in India tend to generalise issues such as sexual violence, property, dowry and other social ills.
Actually, the women from the poorer sections are the sufferers. The poor labouring class woman has no maternity or child-care leave. She toils carrying her child on her back. She needs more support. The Chief Ministers of many states and Prime Minister Narendra Modi in particular are providing the needed help. The poor women’s essential needs for cooking gas and drinking water are met by the P.M’s Ujjwala Yojana and Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM). Once they can cook without choking from the smoke, and get water without spending time and energy to bring it from far-off places, they will be able to spare the accrued free time to aspire for higher goals. What is being done by the Government at the Centre is concrete work on the ground instead of empty sloganeering.
This article throws a different light on the common perception regarding women being victims of several vices are totally new to me. I didn’t completely understand the point of view. Started to think on this and trying to understand how would the generic branding affect women in a country like India where d feminism is driven by western thought process as such.
Excellent article as always by Mrs Indira
She articulates her points well and are always thought provoking
Such persons ( people like Mrs Indira) should be in politics to raise the standard of politics and Governance
Interesting viewpoints! I hundred percent agree actions speak louder than words. While bringing awareness is important, it is more important to set concrete examples and bring along policy changes. I am very happy to hear that the Indian government is implementing policies to help poor women attain a better quality of life. Thanks for writing this, Mrs. Indira!
An excellent insight into the issues . The article depicts the reality of woman & the role she plays but then due recognition is a long way to go to consider equality of gender on par with men . Congrats to the author to highlight the true perspectives of the issues
Real gender justice:A bottom up approach
To speak frankly genders are:male,female and neutral.
Gender justice is mostly identified whether they are exploited in name of race,colour,sex,religion,language,tribe etc.
General feeling is this is predominantly referred to fair sex. This has been focused by all sections of society and general public.
To identify they may be classified as: birth;literacy; employment;wages;marriage;dowry;relationship;relative circles etc
Even the other categories such as Male and neutral are victimised and this is mostly visible eg: employment; certain marriages,relative circles etc.
Approach to this subject has attracted huge circles yet crime rate hasn’t been diminished.To arrest this phenomena lot of orientation need to be given.It can be done provided sufficient care and caution is instrumented by people like Academicians,scientists,sociologists,psychologists,saints and family circles who are cultivated.
The benefits provided by the centre as well states do help larger benefits to weaker sections .yet caution is must that the people need to to
toil and earn their livelihood.
Lot of credit need to be given to the writer for focusing on this subtle subject that needs larger attention and kudos are must for the language,diction and style of presentation.
I strongly support the writer’s opinion. One cannot think of higher things unless and until their basic needs are satisfied. Family system will collapse if Indian women activists ape western practices. I strongly believe Indian women can be empowered with our beloved PM’s initiatives.
Very good insightful article. Western thought process is relevant to them, Indra Nooyi summarized the western thought in an interview which made her all the more famous- she called out the behaviors that encouraged to prioritize work and positions over family responsibility.
When she became the CEO of PepsiCo and wanted to share the news with her family, the first person she encounters is her mother who gentle rebukes her to get milk for the family since Indra’s hubby is tired and just came back from work. She narrates vividly how many times she used to feel guilty for not being there for her kids and for her hubby due to her work situation.
Now why am I harping on this and why is it relevant to us?
In India until two decades ago the families were in peace, the husband goes to work and gets the bread, while the wife takes care of the children and family. This used to be the routine and even though the money was not much, the relations were deep, friends were genuine, help was always around the corner and generally everyone was at peace.
Now with the corporates starting to gain traction since the late nineties with GE and HSBC landing on our shores- slowly the landscape changed, with more job opportunities the wife’s/mothers/daughters started working, naturally there was more money with both the parents earning enough and more- But the children started to suffocate, there was no mom when they returned from school, they had aaya’s who would feed them.
The self confidence levels of children nose dived because of this one reason- The Mother is now the main bread winner.
So who takes care of children- aaya’s/hubby/grandparents…
And our posh ladies who are westernized enough to keep harping on gender justice- so what do they want- Apparently they want freedom and more freedom for women, just as any Westerner lives- our wen should live equally like them is their philosophy- when anyone advises girls to even dress appropriately they have issues- who are you to ask us, we will wear what we want….this is one.example…
So what happens to us culturally- we are westernized, go to pubs, wear their dresses, ‘I will do what I want’ is their attitude.
In conclusion I completely endorse the authors views, let’s be proud of our culture, let’s reduce selfishness and self interest and be more nationalistic, our freedom fighters both men and women have sacrificed their lives so that we Live our culture and not to ape the west.
May my India awake to its former glory, where our women were powerful..a Rani Lakshmibai, a Savitri, a Sudha Murthy, an Indira Gandhi, an Indra nooyi, a nirmala sitharaman, Smt.Sushma swaraj, Sheila dixit etc are powerful women that we all.can look up to.
Real Gender Justice it self controversial . Every body will have their reservation s
But what was there in Bhagawad Gita is relevant. In Chapter 10 Vibhuti Yoga. The Sloka 34 it is said “Murtju Sarvasya aham.
….Dhuryi khama”. Meaning I am distroyer of all. Also creator. In Ladies I am fame, వాక్, స్మృతిర్, మేధా, క్షమా నేనే. ఇన్ని భగవంతుడు ఆడవాళ్ళు కు ఎందుకు ఇచ్చాడు. తన యెక్క శృష్టిని ముందు కు తీసుకొని పొవుటకు
ఆ గొప్పతనం ఎప్పుడూ ఆడవారిదే .మానవాళికి వారి కాంట్రిబ్యూషన్ ఎనలేనిది.స్వామి ఎవరు చేసే పని వారికి ఇచ్చారు . Real Gender Justice to be taken in Border view.
Smt Indira’s article is well articulated
Gender justice is a complicated issue especially in this highly technological world. It is not only for traditional male and female but of transgenders , same sex marriages, surrogacy etc. As Swami Vivekananda expressed the idea of woman in western world is completely different from that of indian woman and hence the aggressive attitude of Feminism has percolated into Bharath thanks to our left liberals by and large. No doubt women in our country were given a very important and respectable role in the family and society in ancient times. But mostly because of colonial rule which has spoiled our educational system and culture and also the influence of western culture in the recent times that appears to be very progressive, altered the outlook of our women. We know pretty well the status of women in western world is no better than ours. It is true family system is the best part of our culture which is slowly dwindling. Mostly because of the patriarchal mindset of our men who lecture about gender equality on public platforms but not in practice. Domestic violence, rapes, eve teasing, honour killings etc are rampant. What is the role of women at this juncture? We have been told women being more tolerant should uphold the value of family. Maintaining the house and looking after the children and elderly is not an easy task especially when women start working outside. Marriage is not compulsory for all. Women who have higher goals in their pursuits like music, dance, research, politics or any other field can choose not to marry. But once married and beget children total commitment to family at least until the children are well settled is a must. Domestic work is not to be treated as menial job by women and more so by men. we are already witnessing the ill effects of broken marriages.
Yes our present government is committed to the uplift of women and all political parties should support this wholeheartedly. Also our educational policy should give more impetus to gender justice. As a silver lining we see a change in the attitude of young educated men which is a welcome sign. Let us hope for better future for women in general.