Various top economists and bankers in India have been saying that the key to overall and robust economic development lies in development of nation as a whole rather than a limited segment of people. All are talking about financial inclusion! But I guess, something more important at this time would be social inclusion! After all, economy is just like a mega structure, which might be easily shattered if the social foundation is not strong enough!!
We live in a society where animals are also considered equals…there are people fighting for animal rights!! But then leave apart animals…in the same society…in the same species is a “category” of humans popularly known as “females/ women/ girls”…without whom this society…this world will fall in chaos in no time… but still why is it that we fail to respect their existence from time to time (or maybe it’s a continuous thing which just gets noticed from time to time…else they keep on suffering in silence!)
If we try to see how we have been treating the women in our society, I am afraid, I might have to say that the condition of women, on an average have remained the same if not degraded since past 800 years (before major invasions began in India)!!! I purposefully limited myself to 800 years as before that time women had a really powerful and respectful position in India and if I start comparing the present condition of women to that era, I would be really ashamed of being a part of such this society!
In historic times…the major evils that a woman faced were limited to Sati, being confined to homes, etc. (I didn’t mention child marriage, as it was a social evil that even men faced).Sati… was more based on superstitions and hence was manageable…thanks to the efforts of various revolutionaries and reformists.
With limited exposure to the world and education, slowly men started treating women as inferior beings who had little or no knowledge of “how things function” in this world or society and hence gradually, they…along with their opinions lost value in society and the society, which once valued and cherished the women, started considering them as a burden!!! This catalyzed the problem of dowry and female infanticide. And as the technology advanced (but not the social mentality) another issue came in existence: female feticide. Till some time back, it was considered that, the social status of women in this era was abysmal.
But as we moved ahead in timeline, thanks to some bold and determined women and some breakthrough revolutionary ideas, women and girls started coming out, going to schools and colleges and then they with time built their place in professional world. And now in this present time, there are Indian women in almost all the professional fields and are giving tough competition to men. Also, as a quick fix solution to various barbaric cases of dowry and domestic violence, IPC Sec 498(A) was introduced (which, I guess, has created more trouble for innocent men, than the extent to which it has helped curb dowry cases!)
As the time changed, the thinking of majority of people in society started “improving”, but what we failed to recognize, was a set of people (not just men) still held on to the primitive notion of considering women as inferior. This thinking along with the “frustration” because of increased competition or the “problems they faced” because of new law (if women complained) or jealousy because of women’s success made already notorious men turn into animals. This was the time, when instances of acid throwing, eve teasing, etc. started coming into light.
Our slow legal system and incapability of our society in properly “taking care” of such savages further encouraged them to explore the new heights of brutalism. The instances of sexual assault increased at an exponential rate. In present times, the issues like dowry, domestic violence, female feticide and infanticide have taken a back seat, but that’s not because of some social reforms or anything but because the issue of sexual harassment has managed to get all the attention. Because of constant denial, this heinous crime has reached heights of savageness.
We, in present times might have achieved amazing heights in technical or economic development, but if we consider the condition of women, I can say without doubt, that we, in present times have managed to degrade to the levels which no one could have imagined a few decades ago. The level which is capable of making whole society desperate for some measures, laws, etc to protect women in our society!
At this point, I am highly skeptical about the desperate measures that these desperate times need…
Imprisonment (Limited tenure or life)???
Some don’t look capable of stopping such psychopaths (who might not even have fear of death) and some seem like injustice to the victim. Further, all these are just reactive actions; isn’t it possible to have in place some preventive measures, which might actually eliminate these heinous crimes and restore the position and respect of women in this country where more than a million Goddesses are worshiped!!!