Wednesday, March 13, 2013
For the last few days I am receiving hundreds of calls/mails requesting my gracious presence for International Women’s Day. There is a sudden radical spurt in activities in organizing women’s programs. And of course ‘so called’ inspirational women like me are in great demand. Some of the calls came through this morning ie 7th March….and I was wondering whether I was part of a back up plan, inspiration1-not available….Insp2-not available….Insp3- Not available….so okay lets try Insp10!!! What is Women’s Day for all these people? Is it a day when we remember lost souls…or a day to honor so called women leaders…or a day to remind us all about gender-related crimes/violence…or day to look back on how we have progressed…or a day to acknowledge women are still part of humanity..or a day to organize an event. Having done that for one day…for the next 365 days you can forget half the humanity…continue the violence…the discrimination…the violations….and marginalization in our minds and souls. Across the world, year after year International Women’s Day is CELEBRATED!...and across the world young ones as young as 3yrs old are raped and sold…interestingly year after year the numbers are only increasing….Two days back a little one who was sleeping with her mother on the footpath in Kerala, was dragged away…raped and thrown….on valentine’s day when one billion people rose to protest sexual violence….three little ones…all sisters 6yr, 8yrs and 11yrs were raped and murdered in Bhandara, Maharshtra…during the same time a 7yr old was raped in Municipal School in the national Capital New Delhi. In many African countries, rape is used as a weapon of war…in many others genital mutilation is followed…young activist are gunned at close range for they chose to speak for girl child education…every country in the world can boast about the increasing gender-based violence in their communities… I wonder where is the change? Can things change because of events/TV shows or programs on a particular day? Can things change because we went and lit a candle? Can things change because we acknowledged a powerful woman? Can things change because we participated in a public event? To me “NO”…nothing can change for women and children till it is symbolic gesture…nothing can change if we consider it as women’s rights…nothing can change till our basic attitude and perception does not undergo sea change. It is gives me great amusement whenever there is a national uproar about sexual violence, I get thousands of mails/calls asking “what can I do”? That is the attitude I am talking about…so long as you think it happens to them and not us…you will keep asking what to do? The day each one of us realize that this can happen to anyone including us…or to somebody dear to us, then each one of us will know what to do… I feel this question is asked so that one can actually avoid doing anything and yet not feel guilty(you will keep quite till somebody tells/guides you on what to do, will that be the same attitude if somebody dear to you is violated). If one wants to respond…there is no need for anybody’s guidance… For me until and unless women’s right’s is not accepted as basic human rights nothing can change. And then the fight is not just for a few women to come together…but for every person who is human. It is not about a few hundred women coming together on Women’s Day(while all the men go about doing their work!!!). The fight is not just for a day…but it for 365 days till these basic human rights are realized. The fight is not about women…it also about men…how can half the humanity survive if the other half is mutilated and violated. Tomorrow as we observe Women’s Day…I hope we will remember people like Irom Sharmila who are consistently fighting without a break for the last 4380 days(12yrs)….and all the activists fighting a spectrum of issues across the world for whom every day is a day to fight for human rights...thanking them for their perseverance…thanking them for having faith in change.