In the world of feminism, we deny to call ourselves to be feminists. We are afraid to be labeled as man haters and home breakers. But excuse me, take a second off and browse through the meaning of feminism in any dictionary. It says, ‘feminism is the belief and aim that women should have the same rights, power and opportunities as men.’ Hence the whole myth of feminists being man haters and home breakers arise once women start questioning their position in society.
The guy instantly denied. Then the professor asked him if he wanted his sister to have the same freedom and rights he enjoyed. Thankfully the guy said,”Yes mam!”
Subsequently the professor said smilingly, “Congratulations, you are a feminist!”
We have a misconception about feminism. But it’s not the problem. The problem arises when we don’t put that little effort to clear our misconception and hence create a whole new world of hurdles for the already troubled and abused feminists.
Well there is no one definite definition of feminism as it is a heterogeneous concept. But its common goal is to stand for women rights, equality, liberation and emancipation. Feminists are opposed to the malaises of gender inequality and patriarchy. Feminists can be both men and women and they uphold the dignity of both the sexes.
In India, we do not see any long run feminist movement as such, may be because feminism is still considered to be something wrong or a taboo in Indian society. But since the times of Raja Rammohan Roy, who is considered to be the Father of Social Reforms in India, we have seen women issues cropping up every now and then. The question of women dignity and security is being considered to be a priority in the political manifestos.
Well Sampat Pal is a personality I have been always curious to know about. She made pink a bold colour to watch out. And after reading this book called Warrior in a Pink Sari, I am fervent to share her journey with you.
Donning pink saris and holding sticks in their hands, the Gulabi Gang is a threat to every policeman who refuses to file a report on violence against a dalit, every husband who beats up his wife, and every goon who grabs land that does not belong to him. Sampat Pal is the founder and has become the leader of the most feared group of women vigilantes in the country -the Gulabi Gang. Her rebellious instinct, fervor for justice and her desire to free women from their everyday oppression led her to organize the women in and around her village in Uttar Pradesh into a gang.
Once the kids in the top primary class at school were asked a question- “If your mother’s funeral was on the day of your final exam, what you would do?”
In villages, educating a girl or not is not even considered to be an issue of discussion. Kitchens are considered to be the women zones. It’s not because women are not capable of sounding sensible but for the age old patriarchal society which prevents women to know the world and change their lives. But the fact is patriarchy dominates not just Indian villages but every nook and corner of the world. Why the powerful Taliban tried to kill little Malala?
Feminism questions the feminine and masculine qualities constructed by the society. Why girls are not allowed to climb trees? Why cooking is an eligibility of marriage? Do men marry to get wives or slaves? Why the society is okay with a housewife and not with a stay-at-home husband?
She initially lived at Kairi with her family. Then they moved to Hanuman Dhara,Chitrakoot. She was married off at Rauli. She became a trouble-maker for her mother-in-law because she dared to speak out the truth loud. She questioned the ill motives of her husband’s Brahmin friend advancing her and she brought into light how the women of the community were exploiting their own stores of rice and lentils and stealing their husbands’ crops to a local shopkeeper. He gave them a very little price in lieu. Consequently Sampat Pal was thrown out of house by her mother-in-law. She resided with her husband and children at the rustic woodshed they inherited from the property split.
Sampat Pal tried her best to give justice to a lower caste person being slapped by a Brahmin. She had food with a lower caste Pradhan. Her life was threatened. She left Rauli and moved to Badausa. She started sewing classes and taught the girls to sew blouses and skirts. She had put up a stall outside her place selling tea and betel. She bought her husband a bicycle and made him sell vegetables because they left their fields during the property partition. She believed that sharing of responsibilities is necessary for the two married adults both in public and private spheres.
Why women lie to men? Do men give them the space to put their views?
In 2003, she formed her first official organization- Organization for the Promotion of Tribal Women in Rural Industry. In 2006, she formed the Gulabi Gang. Some of the issues taken up by these organizations are-
ii)Awareness regarding hygiene, environment and water conservation by building tanks.
iii)To make the women know that they have the right to inherit a share of the legacy left by their parents-in-law.
v) Counseling of young girls before marriage.
vi)To let women know of the family planning centers in order to have a small family they can support and avoid unwanted pregnancies.
vii)Awareness about the exploitation, independence and emancipation of women.
viii)To necessitate parents-children communication.
ix)To glorify the necessity of education for one and all.
x) To help women form small self-help groups by sharing ideas as they don’t have funds except for the little membership fees.
xi) Educate women in villages about banking facilities.
It’s different to give alms to a beggar or a sweeper, but will we be instantly at their service if we see him/her injured lying on the streets?
Our education system teaches us about communalism, why not feminism? What’s the use of studying feminism only by the students of Social Science? Can’t it be a subject in the high school?
At the end, all I want to say that the real feminist movement in India will begin on the day when all Indians irrespective of caste, color, religion, creed, sex etc., are educated. But patriarchy is still a hindrance on the path of education!