Intro: The most effective key for successful revolution on social issues is pubic awakening. Whenever, the masses begin to believe in the need for positive change, a social revolution transforms the society.
Today, we look ahead with renewed hope to realise our vision of a developed and modern India. But we must also understand that unless each one of us contributes, a vision can never be realised.
If India has to be made strong and flexible and its citizens freed from the shackles, they are burdened with – whether social, political, economical or cultural, the women world over will play a crucial role. However, this ‘better half’ of the population is presently battling a constant security problem in India. If the energy of half of the population is focused on just ensuring personal security on a day-to-day basis, then how can the nation progress?
First of all, women must make up their mind to take action. The day they stand up with confidence, and say a firm ‘NO’ to gender-related nonsense, they will be liberated. The basic rule has to be: Fulfill all duties with complete devotion, but never allow anyone to oppress you.
More and more women are realising that only collective strength and action will allow us to be free to work for positive growth. So, stand up for each other at every instance. Junk the old adage ‘a woman is a woman’s worst enemy’. From now on, let all women be a large community of friends who can rely on each other for support. Start the ball rolling right away. If you stand up for someone today, surely the favour will be returned to you in your hour of need sooner or later.
Female foeticide and human trafficking are diseases that have to be cured too. And only women can do that. Object vociferously to the killing of an unborn girl. Refuse to support human traffickers, who supply housemaids who have been duped to leave their homes.
Let us all start a campaign to thwart the evil designs of rapists, molesters and harassers. Conduct self-defence training sessions in every school, college, institution, corporate company, Resident's Welfare Associations (RWAs) etc. This should be accompanied with special counseling to educate girls about how to identify and handle dangers. There are many NGOs already working in this field, which can be approached for conducting these sessions. The police can also be approached for support.
Speak up whenever you see a woman being harassed – be it at home, institutes, public transport, public places, offices etc. Don’t look away – because public indifference only emboldens the harasser, and weakens the woman. If people start objecting strongly, these criminals wouldn’t dare.
Secondly, and most importantly, men must learn to be heroes not villains. A hero is he who protects. Whistlers, harassers and rapists can only be loathed, not loved. Right from young age, boys have to be taught that physical strength is for protection, not for inflicting injury.
Gender counseling must start from a tender age. The role of a ‘guru’ is of crucial importance here. All teachers must educate their wards about the rights and wrongs. In fact, we must demand a dedicated curriculum on the lines of ‘moral science’ beginning at school level which teaches students how to maintain healthy gender relationships.
Let us also be clear that teaching morals is different to moral policing. Let us therefore contribute to build a healthy and robust society. Since the role of the government and the law enforcement agencies is secondary to the role of the public, let each one of us take the lead.
Abha Khanna Gupta (The writer is a senior Journalist and Social worker)