Posts Tagged With: Empowerment

Double standards

Many people in India lead double lives, have double standards, and use words which often have double meanings. There is nothing different or unique being a Marwari, Gujarati, Bengali or Marathi (and other castes which exists in India). The women have been subjugated for centuries to lead a life of secondary status and denied the freedom to pursue their own interests. This article could well be applied to any one of these with equal ease, without the tag of being a Marwari or Gujarati or Bengali. Why should we become judgemental on a particular community and feel ourselves superior?

I don't speak for others or for any community. All I know is that each one has to decide where the limits to hypocrisy and double standards as well as freedom are in one's way of life. It is not fair to paint a picture of a few instances and make them a general representative of an entire community. Mind you, I am not disputing the truth of these incidents; they exist. I know several families where older generation is far more liberal and tolerant in its attitudes towards dress, religious beliefs and food etc than expected by the younger newly married daughters-in-law in the family but they are not written about as they are not representative of the entire community.
It takes time to get rid of hypocrisy in a conservative society and accept everyone on an equal basis, particularly in our country where prejudices and restrictions against females are deep-rooted in several aspects of their life.

But it is happening…one day at a time!!

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Malala…

Although the book ‘I am Malala’ was published nearly an year back but I happen to read it now. It is an encouraging memoir of Malala Yousufzai, a product of a mother and a father‘s love inspite of the backwards, barbaric, ignorant, deceitful culture of Pakistan. Her book shows different facets of a girl since her childhood days which captivates, inspires entices you in a story of true events that can only be imagined. The book describes public floggings by the Taliban, their ban on television, dancing and music and shopping. There are numerous situations which gave me goose-bumps and often led me to imagine it. You might want to listen to her CNN interview to appreciate her brilliance, her tolerance and love for her country, despite being stalked by poverty and hardships.

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Malala: Person of the Year

Fearless Malala anonymously blogged Diary of a Pakistani school girl under a pseudonym for BBC, writing about her daily battle with extremist militants who used fear and intimidation to force girls to stay at home thus drawing the Islamist militants’ rage. She never lost hopes nor gave up on her dreams of education. She refused to cower in the face of threats and fought for education (not just for girls but particularly for girls) that she stared death in the face in 2012 when a Taliban gunman shot point-blank in the head on her way home from school in Pakistan. Not the sacrifice of rights, but the sacrifice of life. Her “crime”: advocating girls’ right to education.

But Malala survived!! This young fearless Pakistani girl escaped from the jaws of death – nothing short of a miracle.

Like father-like daughter, she embodies the very values that the civilized world craves for. She stood up to terror and showed a reasoned mind seldom seen at her age. She is a symbol of freedom, bravery, outspokenness and beacon of light for all girls/women in this world.

Excerpt from Malala’s heartening U.N. speech:

Even if there was a gun in my hand and he was standing in front of me, 
I would not shoot him. This is the compassion I have learned from Mohamed, 
the prophet of mercy, Jesus Christ and Lord Buddha. This the legacy of 
change I have inherited from Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela and 
Mohammed Ali Jinnah. This is the philosophy of nonviolence that I have 
learned from Gandhi, Bacha Khan and Mother Teresa. And this is the 
forgiveness that I have learned from my father and from my mother. 
This is what my soul is telling me: be peaceful and love everyone.

The book follows her journey from near-death to global fame. She is one of seven people featured on the cover of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people edition. She has been honored with Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, XXV International Prize of Catalonia award, International Children’s Peace Prize, Amnesty International Ambassador of Conscience Award (The award is Amnesty International’s highest honor, recognizing individuals who have promoted and enhanced the cause of human rights), Leadership in Civil Society award, Peter J. Gomes Humanitarian Award and Person of the Year.

This young girl, stood against a powerful foe for the education of the next generation. She stands for all the young people in lands where oppression puts them and all young people down.  This young girl stands for peace, freedom and education for all. She is passing her courage on to others. Her courage has awoken Pakistan’s government who says to be adopting new measures to get every child into school by end 2015.

After reading her book, my attention turned towards my country India. Quite a few million girls in India have gone missing in 3 generations through practices like infanticide, feticide, dowry, bride trafficking and honor killings. It is immoral, illegal, against all civilized norms, against the principles of most religions. I strongly urge people to spread awareness of a girl’s right to be born, to let live, to be educated and a lead a life that she dreams of.

It’s time for the parents and the children themselves to demand their right to school. Education should no longer be a slogan but a reality.

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