Thursday, April 10, 2008
A Tale of Two Females in India
From Merinews.com ritu sejwal, 10 April 2008, Thursday Scene one: People worshipping goddess Lakshmi. Scene two: A woman brutally tortured by her in-laws for dowry! What a contrast! And you can witness both in India. One female is revered and the other is burnt! Why? RIYA (NAME changed) – a girl with a dream to be like her idol Barkha Dutt. A dream to have her individual identity, and to prove the allegations wrong that ‘women are made for kitchen’. Riya belongs to Chappra district of Bihar. She has an aim to do something new that has never been tried by anyone from her district. Riya, with big dreams but with fewer options, came to Delhi to crack an all India journalism entrance exam – a first step towards her dream. Being from a middle class joint family, she never got the due attention she deserved. She always received halfhearted support from her family. “I always wanted to perform well in my exams but due to my family restraints, I was not able to give proper attention to my studies, and did not score up to my expectations,” she said in a disappointing tone. In Delhi, she manages her studies, along with household work that includes cleaning, cooking, filling water, to name a few. “My aunty, who lives with me in Delhi, is unwell and never tries to understand my problems.” She always sacrificed her feelings and her desires for the good of the family. “I am aware that I will be competing for an all India level entrance, I need to give time to my studies and for that, one should be mentally satisfied and do roti pet mein honi chahiye (stomach should be full), only then one can study properly,” she said with a helpless tone. Full of frustration and a will to achieve her dreams, she is a true fighter! After an interaction with her, my problems looked so small! India is a country where goddesses are worshiped. Girls are associated with ’Durga’, ’Lakshmi’, and as powerful as Rani Lakshmi Bai. But, still women die within the ‘four walls’ of the house, serving the family without complaining. Number of schemes are introduced for empowerment of women, but how many of those benefit hundreds of girls like Riya, who are made to sacrifice at every point, from their childhood till their marriage and by in-laws after marriage?