Jab zulm-o-sitam ke koh-e-garan
Rooi ki tarha ur jaenge
Hum mehkoomon ke paaon tale
Ye dharti dhar dhar dharkegi
Aur ahl-e-hakam ke sar oopar
Jab bijli kar kar karkegi
-Faiz Ahmed Faiz
Equality between all genders is not a dream, it is a reality made possible by the fearless women of the world who stood against patriarchy striving for a better society. The voice that had been murdered in the corners of the bedrooms rose against the judgements and followed a decade long war for equality between the sexes. A woman’s sole purposes for the society was to please a man and bear his children, and were considered as the gender that always needed rescue – a stereotype imprinted in the minds of each individual from the day of his or her birth. The fairy tales that we read as children were often about a female who is helpless and in need of a man to relieve her off the misery. However with time this equation between the genders begun to change.
The first movement as per se in India, against the evils that women had to go through, was when the British colonizers spoke about Sati. A horrifying practice of burning the woman on her husband’s pyre, Sati was a ritual that was highly opposed in Pre-Independence era. Widow re-marriage was considered a sin in the country, with widows usually banished from the society and as the fight for better conditions started, it began to highly discussed upon. It was Savitribai Phule who was one of the first women in the country to fight against the rules and norms of the society. Education to females was prohibited in India and she was the first woman to open a school for girls in the pre-independence era after which there was no looking back. She gave a voice to the countless women who later started the revolution to a better quality life for women in India.
As decades passed, the voices of women have gotten stronger but the challenge still remains. Thousands are rising against this patriarchal system, most recent with the #MeToo movement with women all across the globe sharing incidents on a public platform about rape and sexual harassment making the population know how common it is and how we have normalised it as a crime. Undeniably, the Constitution of India has been progressive about women and their right to equality and vote, they fail to inculcate the idea of an equal society. While, the idea of equality in India differs highly from the west in terms of the differences we have in caste and communities but the wave of feminism from the west was not unknowing to the country. They begun to shatter stereotypes and discover themselves in new lights, challenging the notion of females being inferior to males and excelling in every field. Class or caste differences no longer mattered as they marched to equality holding hands, together.
And so on this woman’s day, let us celebrate each woman who breaks away from the forts of patriarchy and lives her life with courage and love. Celebrate every woman who dreams and every woman who helps her achieve that dream. Let us celebrate every moment when the society pulled you back but the string was burned by your passion.