8 years of womensweb

#FreedomIs: The Illusion Of Independence

Posted: August 16, 2014

Are we independent women in this independent country of ours? Women in India still have a long way to go.

Our #FreedomIs campaign asked readers to share their idea of what freedom is, and what freedoms they wanted, through a selfie with a message. You can see the collection of #FreedomIs selfies here, and contribute yours too.

67 years ago, we, as a nation, claimed what was rightfully ours – Swaraj , Freedom, Independence  – and we got it all. The day after this Independence Day, I can’t help but think if, we, as a nation have really got freedom?

Half of the nation sure did. For the other half, a struggle still continues on a day to day basis. Independent India is a reality since a long time now. But, did the women of this great nation ever got independence?

India has always been symbolised by the Bharat Mata, both during the independence struggle and afterwards. The nation freed itself from the chains of slavery but the women of India are still chained by stereotypes, gender bias, age old traditions and beliefs which need serious change. Isn’t it ironic that we are a free nation but Bharat Mata is still chained and her freedom struggle has only begun?

It is even harder to be a chained individual in a free country. No one knows how long will it take for the country to accept men and women as equal human beings irrespective of  the differences that nature intended for us. No one knows how any battles need to be fought to change the illusion of freedom to real freedom.

Being a woman in India is a struggle on a day to day basis, and I am not exaggerating. I am not even touching upon situations like female infanticide, dowry, rapes or honour killings. Even if we keep all these aside for a moment (though these horrendous crimes against the fairer sex are an integral part of our culture and society now), the daily life of an average Indian female from an urban background is no less than a fight she fights to just be herself. Being born a woman in this great nation that worships a thousand goddesses but can’t respect its own women is not a joy ride.

The nation is independent, but if a lady dares to choose her career over men, dares to choose whom she wants to marry, dares to choose to support her parents after she is married, dares to choose not to cook, dares to choose to not have children, dares to choose not to marry – or frankly, dares to choose her own battles which she wants to fight – she is frowned upon as a bad influence on the Indian Society. I am one of these women, and I might be a bad influence to a certain Indian Society which only knows how to suppress women because, well, they are women.

I am a proud freedom fighter who might not live to see the India which treats its women as equals, but just being part of the movement (I am not even sure if we can call it that) is enough. Like the Father of the Nation said, I am being the change I want to see – by saying No to gender bias, in whatever form it comes up in life.

I hate to admit this fact, but truth doesn’t need to be published for it to be true. I spent the last one year in England and I tasted real freedom there – a freedom my own nation never gave me. It was then that the illusion of freedom under which women in India are living broke and gave way to a truth which I reluctantly accepted. India might be a free, but Indian women still aren’t and need to break the invisible chains around them.

This Independence Day, lets pledge to free our women.

Jai Hind!

p.s

Let us not bask in the false glory of how much we have changed and how women are getting equal opportunities today, because, there is still a long way to go. Instead, invest that time and energy into things that still aren’t quite right irrespective of the equal opportunities on paper.

pic credit: pasotraspaso (Used under a CC license)

A software engineer, a realist, and a cribber by the day. A chef, a writer,

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