Sharbatanu chatterjee

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Information about Sharbatanu chatterjee

Published on February 27, 2014

Author: socialscribblers



This article has been written for Techkriti Blog for a Cause Contest.
The topic was:
“The hand that rocks the cradle rules the World.” Write about a particular issue concerning the position of women in today’s society.

For more information visit:

The Hand that Rocks the Cradle, Rules the World One cannot ever justifiably express the role a woman plays in society. Generations of people have expressed unequivocally the role of the mother, the wife, the sister and the friend in society; the pivotal axis in the family; the quintessential yin to the yang. However, I shall refrain from talking about this here and instead focus on how the evolution of society has made these philosophers seem a rare breed. Discrimination against women has been a rampant open secret in society since society first became patriarchal, possibly during the settling of nomadic humans. Starting from numerous not-so-subtle hints in ‘shastras’ of ancient times, to heavy subjugation so deep-rooted that it even made women think of themselves as somehow inferior to the ‘stronger sex’. If I take the case of India, ironically, this shameful attitude is actually something that became truly ‘national’, cutting across the boundaries of caste, creed, religion, ethnicity, language or age. And it is nothing but an expression of corrupted ideals, an urge to cling to power by our patriarchal society and the hypocritic refusal to accept justice and equality at the most basic of levels while clamouring for other lofty ideals. Moving forward from the superstition-ridden highly partial Indian society of the middle ages, we arrive at the 19th and 20th centuries, when all over the world, an assertive movement for the right of the hand that rocks the cradle starts. India too is not far behind. Successful women are there in all fields of human endeavour. Though there are incidents starting from the dowry-related suicide of Snehalata Mukhopadhyay in January 1914, exactly a 100 years ago, to the recent gruesome case in Delhi, 2012; they have triggered ever­increasing outrage from the public

in general. On paper too, the abstraction known as the Government tries to provide justice, with Indian women being given voting rights before many of their European counterparts. I would agree, flowing with the optimistic tone of many that improvement has been phenomenal. But that is all relative. In absolute terms, things are not as they seem. Years of a particular social order has ingrained in a majority male mind a sense of superiority that he little wishes to change. And ironically, this is there in a female mind as well! How else would the prejudice pass, if not ingrained by the mother, who plays an unparalleled role in the upbringing of a child? The reasons for this prejudice are not clear, maybe the insecurity of a man who can never enjoy the exalted position of a mother in a child’s life, or maybe simple desires of keeping the scale of power tipped towards oneself. Whatever the reasons be for trying to establish the superiority, the manifestations of these urges through dowry, acid-attacks, female foeticide and infanticide, as well as sexual harassment point to the fact that this is indeed one of the most pressing problems of the current generation. What, do I believe, can be the solution to this multi-faceted problem? It is not something easy or quick, but it is relatively simple. I agree that strict laws and punitive action might do away with some of the problems, but this is but the cliched ‘cure of the symptoms’, not the disease. The disease can only be uprooted by a two thronged attack, from the male society on one side and the women on the other.

The least and first thing a man can do is to accept that there is a problem and members of his own sex are perpetrating the most heinous of acts on women, with there being no fault on the part of the woman whatsoever in a majority of cases. The next thing is to rid oneself of the mental picture of a girl child being undesirable. Seriously, in today’s world, there is absolutely no sphere or discipline that a girl cannot excel in when a man can. Third, the acceptance of the fact that both men and women are equally responsible for a family. Expecting women to keep on their traditional roles and men to not work for the home is irrational in 2014 and beyond. Next, and importantly, making sure that that there is protest against any kind of even mental harassment against the opposite sex, for only when a woman can feel as safe and dignified as a man in all walks of public and private life can sustainable social development occur. Being at the golden mean of understanding just right and yet not being too patronizing (which is a problem of a different kind, but nevertheless a problem for it too undermines the woman’s capabilities) is the need of the hour. As for women, too, there must be the element of throwing away the age-old prejudices themselves are bound to. It may often be seen that the Indian ‘in­law’ is a cause of torture for the lady of the house. This might be a classic case of I-have-suffered-and-you-shall-too that is plaguing even other evils like ragging. This chain needs to be cut off at one point by a group of conscientious ladies. The women need to come together for their brethren in times of need, be it against seemingly insurmountable odds. But, most importantly, a woman needs to shun fear, which might seem impractical today with crimes being rampant; and this is where the man comes in. It is the duty of the man to make sure that society is fair, to not stand by when shouting is needed and to make sure that the entire

society feels safe. A nagging fear eats away from the inside, that many may not have felt. The price of being the majority discriminating group is now to be eternally vigilant. The entire society has to lose if the woman is suppressed. Generations of poets, of nation-builders, of reformers, of great human beings who bestow greatness on this divine creation will have done all in vain if the current scenario does not improve. And it is the duty of a well-intentioned group, may be a minority, among the men and the women, to come forward and manifest an idea whose time may well have come, the idea that yatra naryastu pujyante, ramante tarta devata (the idea that divinity or just society blossoms where women are honoured.) Sharbatanu Chatterjee, Roll 12658, IIT Kanpur, TechID - TECH55748

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