“Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men.” Joseph Conrad
It s a gloomy day as far as the woman in me is concerned. Sometimes I feel how double faced and hypocrite we human can be. To think that the country which prides itself for women power and worships her in all its forms , has to witness cruelty , murder, and all sorts of atrocities on its women. The very being of womanhood is at stake and no one absolutely no one cares about it.
we have rallies, bills, law, woman’s lib activists, smartly dressed women shouting slogans and attending conferences, writing books and articles on woman’s rights and stealing the lime light for their outstanding contribution to the upliftment of women in India but the reality is far from it.
At the root of our society women are being killed, burned, raped, beaten and treated like dregs, with hardly anyone to listen to their cries.
I feel ashamed that while I sit and write about yet another “story” of such a woman, she , a 21year old , is battling for life. Her child dead in her womb. Another embryo which was taking shape of a girl child.
The girl I am talking about is my house help’s sister in law. A woman in her early 20z and a mother of a baby girl of 11 months.
Poverty and lack of resources and also the hassles of our twisted legal system leave no choice for the old helpless parents than to watch their daughter die slowly.
Since her marriage it is the second time the girl was subjected to attempt to murder by pouring kerosene on her. The first time too she was pregnant with a baby girl. At that time she managed to escape but due to social pressures, non supportive siblings and poverty of her parents, she returned to her husband and in laws.
Though the law does not allow gender determination and it is supposed to be a crime yet a large number of doctors make profits especially in rural India through this practice.
No one said anything and the matter was pushed under the carpet for various obvious reasons.
This time she could not escape the ” stove death “.
With 95% burns and a dead fetus inside her, the survival chances are nil and it is just a matter of time. Maybe as I write she may be breathing her last. The old dejected parents have no proof against her inhuman in laws as the girl is unconscious and may not be able to make a statement.
The little infant wails uncontrollably in the arms of some relative who tries in vain to console her.
Now everything depends on proof and if there is no proof, no evidence , no death statement by the victim, the murderers will go Scot Free.
There are no reliable numbers for similar cases in the rest of the country, but according to reports three women a day die as a result of stove death. In most cases the reports say that the victims attempted suicide or died as the result of an exploding stove.
The women are predominantly between the ages of 18 and 35 and around 30% are pregnant at the time of their deaths.
‘Either our country is home to “possessed stoves” which burn only young women, and are particularly fond of genitalia, or if we notice the frequency of these cases, there is a grim pattern that these women are victims of deliberate murder.
The “nari shakti” or woman as the incarnation of Goddess “shakti” which include the various incarnation of Durga including “BhadraKali” truly seems something out of mythology with nothing to do with the grim reality.
Unfortunately sometimes , as in this case except for the girl’s parents and some relatives no other family member has come forward to stand for her. They do not have ample money for the treatment and fight for justice for their only daughter.
Once again the case will be closed due to lack of proper evidence and life will go on as usual. Many more young brides will be set ablaze and the society will watch mutely the murderous proceedings. Shutting its eyes to the degradation of human values and life itself.
Ours is a cultured society, where women are killed even in womb just because their hearts dared to beat. Where laws formulated to safeguard woman’s interest seem insufficient to handle the situation.
It is a shame that in many cases women of the house are the ones who initiate the crime.. mainly the mother in law, and the husband who took seven rounds around the holy fire to protect the woman in life acts like a puppet in his mother’s hand.A mute spectator.
Sometime back I did a post on female infanticide and prayed that it will touch a chord somewhere in the hearts of people who are educated and have ample resources to take some action against these crimes against humanity and today again I hope that some blinkers will be removed and someone will rise and say,
I will be the change I want to see.
That’s Incredible India Shining for you.