International Women’s Day not just celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women but also calls for action to achieve gender parity. A challenged world is an alert world, and from challenge comes change. So, let’s all choose to challenge this Women’s Day.
In the present era we call ourselves advanced but if we introspect, we will notice this is far from reality. In every part of the globe, women remain a soft target for every ridicule and harassment. To talk about Kashmir, women face a lot of issues related to health, education, domestic violence, female feticide, late marriages, dowry harassment, eve-teasing, etc.
Women are the worst victims of multiple kinds of tortures. Our women are dying due to maternity problems because of negligence in medical care. They are the biggest victims of domestic violence. If they will not take dowry along, their in-laws will not treat them well in any manner. In some regions they are still not allowed to go to school. Once a female baby is born in the family, a storm is raised over why the woman has given birth to a girl. The practice of female feticide still is going on stealthily in many areas.
Kashmir, the so called Rish Waer, contains a plethora of grim stories of women in distress. Both outside and inside their homes, women in Kashmir are unsafe. Inside their homes they are tormented by their spouses on petty issues while outside they are harassed by many more. Marriage is a sacred relation made in heaven, but now it is just pomp and show. An expensive marriage has become the norm of the day, and has led to hundreds of poor girls to suffer sinless. We have made this marriage so extravagant that it has become nuisance for a poor man. It’s because of this extravagance that late marriages or no marriages are occurring. There are hundreds of marriageable girls who aren’t getting married and the reason for this is evident to all of us, which is pomp and show and ill practices like dowry.
Divorces, suicides and domestic violence has become a trend now. This is clear indication of inhuman nature, chauvinism and patriarchy. Some stories are so touching that tears trickle down the cheeks when they are given ear to. Recently, a video went viral on social media of Ayesha, a 23-year-old woman, who ended her life by jumping into a river in Ahmedabad Gujarat. Her emotional video before this extreme step made everyone feel emotional. Such examples can be found in Kashmir as well.
Every year March 8 arrives to make us aware about all these grave problems. It is a day when we all are supposed to delve deep into the issues pertaining to our women. The real aim of this day is to wake us up to make sure that women are truly happy, because ‘Wajood-e- Zun Say Hai Tasveer-e-Kayanat Main Rung’ (the universe is beautiful only because of woman) as Iqbal said. The day reminds us to tackle all such difficulties which our women are undergoing because the strongest foundation of any nation depends on its women. The need of the hour is to introspect. A speech on an event, a poster on the wall, etc, surely has some message for all of us, but more is required to be done. Coming out from the comfort zones and seeing the plight of so many beloved daughters who are unable to dream of higher education makes one feel miserable. There are so many of our sisters who have crossed the marital age but are hopeless of prospects of marriage. Some people are offering their contribution to diminish the burden of dowry and marriage expenses, but a collective approach is required. Praise to the people who in different areas collect donation and get orphan girls married with dignity.
Celebrating a day is fantastic, but every day caring for women would definitely add something to their happiness. Let’s change ourselves and create awareness about the problems of women in our society.
The writer is a doctoral fellow at Dept of English, University of Kashmir. [email protected]