Thursday, 19 July 2012

Half the sky, 19th July 2012

"Nobody minds having what is too good for them." This line by Jane Austen, got me thinking. What is too good? If I am a 16 year old girl in a village in western UP where a Khap Panchayat decides what is good for me, do I still not mind having it? Or I am a girl in Guwahati in Assam and some random man on the street thinks he knows whats good for me, do I still want it? Or I am an unborn female foetus and my parents think its best if I did not come into the world, is that what is good for me?

Members of the National Commission of Women think it appropriate to comment on how girls and women should dress to protect themselves. Its for their own good they say. The police feel that women in Gurgaon should not venture out of their houses after 8 pm. Its for our good it seems. The High Court says that a muslim girl who has attained puberty can be married. Its for her good they claim.

Why is everyone else helping us decide what is good for us suddenly?

We are living in the generation of the internet, social networking, smart phones, tablets, space tourism- even the God Particle is not a myth anymore! India is no far behind in all this growth. We had a woman as the mission leader of the testing of a new missile, we had a woman president (despite her legacy), the first few countries of the world to have a woman leader of the state years back, women CEOs, film makers, teachers, academicians, authors that won Bookers and Pulitzers, Chief Ministers.... the list is endless! And yet we have not evolved enough to understand what is good for us- if you believe the Khaps, the mob molestors, the NCW, the police and the countless others that everyday sit and decide on our 'good'.

I am reading the news today and its full of the story of Rajesh Khanna's funeral. The whole nation watches as despite having two lovely, accomplished, in our eyes empowered daughters, it is his son-in-law who does the last rites. The girls are not good enough? Years back in my small back of the beyond town where I grew up and was looked upon with disdain when I landed in the University of Delhi, my friend had the courage to insist on doing the last rites for her father. It left an impact on me. And despite my 'small town' upbringing, I knew that day that norms could be challenged and could be made better. And yet I see a family with all its wealth, power and influence letting the whole world know that their women are no good.

I am a woman. I laugh, cry, work, sing, dance, drink, love, hate, want, desire, desist - I live. I know what is good for me. I know what is 'too good' for me. And I am teaching my daughter to know what is 'too good' for her and to want without any regrets or any doubts. I am teaching her how to reach out for her half of the sky. Join me if you think you can make a difference to even the life of one girl or woman in your life.


  1. Excellent happy that you have brought out this, and all this does make me think...All the best and Cheers, Gargi

    1. Thanks Gargi. Change will only happen with each one of us making a difference in our own lives.