Women of rural India are asked to cover bodies but are forced to pee in public.
They have been through a lot of struggles and hardships all their lives and it is all because of lack of facilities and guidance. Recently, one of the largest Khap bodies in the nation asked it's women to unveil their ghoonghats and embrace freedom.
The step has been taken to curb the problems of that backward part of India, which never thinks of its women. As Indian citizens, we might not have achieved the desired but we have come a really long way in terms of showing patriarchy a thumbs down. Despite so much happening in the society, the good news is that we are talking about small issues and are taking baby steps towards achieving a big goal.
Women in the villages have been facing this issue for quite some time, they are judged on the length of their ghoonghat. Elders in the family consider their bahu sanskaari only if she can do all the household chores without men of the house seeing their face. Fortunately, this method of conceding faces has been questioned after much banter and debates.
The Malik Gathwala Khap made an announcement according to which the ghoonghat pratha was considered as something foolish. It is definitely not a measure to judge a woman's character and how much respect she is paying to the men in the house.
Currently, more than 700 villages across the states of Haryana, Punjab, UP and Rajasthan will be following this rule.
The 66-year-old chief of the Malik Gathwala Khap was also reported saying this to Mirror Now.
"Time has come to end the age-old traditions that are not relevant today. Expecting women to remain confined under veils is foolishness. It blocks their vision and does not let them breathe properly. Happiness and peace come to those houses where daughters-in-law are loved like real daughters."
This tradition dates back to the time when most of us were not even born. Jauhar is a practice of mass-immolation where women and queens of a kingdom committed suicide so that they are not enslaved or captured by foreign invaders.
We never talked or discussed this collaterally damaging practice until Karni Sena raised an issue around the film Padmaavat.
In glorifying her demise, this Queen whose existence is still a question taught us to accept things and to be able to accept and debate on something, itself is a step towards addressing some issue. Most people who were unaware of the entire controversy searched about Jauhar and then there was no looking back.
Those were the days when you had to carry a packet of a sanitary napkin in black polythene so that people don't see it. Women were often asked to shut their mouth and never discuss menstruation openly. But, then there came a revolutionary time when people miraculously started posting pictures of them holding a pad. It was the Padman Challenge, initiated by the makers of Akshay Kumar's film Padman and his writer wife Twinkle Khanna.
Arunachalam is a social entrepreneur and the man behind the revolutionary movement. He made it a point that women of all sections of the society are able to avail the lost cost sanitary napkins that he created. He made mini-machines for the same and his machines have been installed in 23 states of India.
The film that was made on this man who compelled people to start considering menstruation as a normal thing has become a next big thing which made people think.
Most people, especially women would defecate in open in rural areas and the one's who sit in air-conditioned rooms of urban areas wouldn't effin care about it. The issue was again highlighted when a sane woman decided to raise her voice against it.
Anita Narre decided to leave her husband in 2011 because her in-laws didn't have a toilet in their house in Jeetudhana. She was the first woman in the country who mustered the courage and raised her voice against an issue that sounded normal to many.
Anita's story was so inspiring that Bollywood made a film on her. The film revolved around the same issue and again made many people address the problem of sanitation and health care in rural India. It also supported the government's campaign of eradicating open-defecation.
Various cases have been reported when it comes to honour killing. People have also stepped out on the streets to protests, films like NH10 have been made to make a larger mass understand the repercussions of how sensitive killing in the name of honour is.
Fraudulent conversions of Hindu women into Islam is what women have been facing, the fact that cases are being reported, highlights that there is an awareness. As a society, we still have to go a long way but all these instances and awareness among people shows that we are taking action to mark some change and do the best that we can.
Cover image source: India Times
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