Why is it that we need a Court to step in and empower daughters that they too can and should support their parents? Are laws and rulings alone enough to eradicate patriarchy from India?
A Bombay High Court verdict in a particular Vasant vs. Govindrao Upasrao Naik case earlier this year, is a progressive one and a step in the right direction. As per the judgement, as the married daughter had sufficient means, she is also obliged to support her parents.
Unfortunately, this also reflects that patriarchy is so deep rooted in our society, that something as simple and fair as a child supporting her parents, also needs to go to court and needs a judge to deliver a verdict!
Law amendments empowering women definitely make one feel that we are moving towards being a progressive nation; however does it really create considerable change at the grassroots? I am not so sure.
The Dowry Prohibition Act has been in place since 1961 and the section 498A which makes it a criminal offence, since 1983 – close to 55 years and 33 years respectively. One would think that even if any change in the society takes time to come around, half a century should have been good enough to completely eradicate dowry and the menaces which tag along with it. However it is not so. Dowry is rampant and so are dowry related crimes.
A particular article in the Telegraph UK a couple of years ago says that there were close to 8000 deaths in the year 2012. Another article from 2015 quotes a number close to 24,000 is the prior 3 years. And these numbers are just deaths and official figures around deaths. There would be so many not reported, and so many women who might not die but go through living hell.
This does not mean that we do not need these laws; we definitely do. Along with it, we need a highly focused educational system in place which calls out all our societal evils and educates young minds on the need for fairness and empathy. Empowering our girls and boys and sensitizing them should go hand in hand and it has to start young.
Only then can we have hope to see a society which we are currently trying to enforce by law, but are not yet completely able to.
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