I understand what a gender-biased country ours is, that rape victims are ridiculed instead of the convicts.
I know how frustrating our hugely populated democracy can be. Neck-breaking competition for every little business, for employment, for even booking tickets on a train, and an endless waiting period for every court case, so that the accused has already died a natural death before his trial is judged. I have also asked, what the hell are they doing?
I agree that our society is judgmental and is based on a lot of gossip, where everyone is accepted to live life the way that satisfies others, rather than themselves. (“Don’t burp/fart, what will everyone think?” Excuse me, but it’s an essential life process that has to take place before I burst!)
I identify our education system with too much of rote-learning, one that’s neither conceptual and practical, or customized to suit every child.
Yes, I know that all this needs changing. And like many of us, I like sulking about them too.
But I’ve found out that change doesn’t come about as fast as we wish it would, and sulking definitely does not accelerate change. There are a whole list of stuff that needs to be altered and put right in our country, and the first thing we have to remember is that developing India is not just the government’s responsibility, it’s very much ours, too.
Making a better india does start with you and me. But it starts with a you and a me that hope, hope for a better progress with faith that progress will happen, with a you and a me that attempts to make a change instead of just waiting for it to, with a you and me that accepts that our country is a huge and developing one with several faults, and tries to, in every little possible way, contribute towards perfecting these- by spreading belief in our country among our people, by making a difference through helping develop the less fortunate, by standing up for ourselves as women, and for the whole of mankind as men, against sexist practices that threaten to drown all equality in our society.
It is an unchangeable fact that, just as many other societies, India has several flaws, and these cannot be wished away Improving upon an out-dated, foggy society involves tiny efforts that we, as the present generation can easily adapt to.
Let’s start with the conventional sexist practices and patriarchy. Many of our families or our elder relatives could be a bunch of chauvinist thinkers. But this doesn’t imply that we imitate them. As feminists, who believe that every human belonging to every gender on earth must obtain access to equal opportunities and respect, we can begin with sticking by our belief of gender quality through all odds, even if it requires rebellion. If we are women who have enough courage to stand up and prove to the mocking, discouraging community, that women achieve and still shine all the hurdles and odds that, itself is a huge leap of development. If we are people who lead the younger generation by example, demonstrating and encouraging the concept of absolute indiscrimination amongst all castes, races, nationalities, and genders, that is progress.
We whine about the enormous amount of corruption- several times larger than other countries’- that india boasts of. Instead, if we actually do something, by, say, stepping up into the political arena ourselves, making the new set of corruption free leaders we want, that is development. If not that, we can still form socially active groups by voting for the right people, and more importantly, by not engaging in small, corrupt activities, like bribing or accepting bribes, in everyday business.
The next issue, overpopulation reflects on the quality of every one of our lives; yet we can’t really change this fact. And how much ever we may wish to pretend otherwise, excess population has more minuses than pluses, and it’s environmentally unhealthy too.
What can we do? We can educate people. Lack of good education can be blamed nearly for everything- for overpopulation, corruption, sexism, heath-problems and superstitious practices. As citizens, believe me, if each one of us pledges to make a more literate India, by, say, funding education for a child who can’t afford it, would make a worthy contribution. We can fight against child labour. During my visit to a restaurant in India last year, I was shocked to find young boys of about my age, apparently from Nepal, who cleaned our tables after we ate. They had no sort of education, perhaps because their illiterate parents had not understood how important studying was. Illiteracy forms a vicious cycle. An uneducated parent is unlikely to educate his child thinking that he’d be of better use earning some money as a child labour; hence, the family is likely to stay poor forever. Funding for a child’s education, is better than anything else in the world, better than giving money as charity, or food or clothes. Giving education makes a self-sustaining chain and will ensure that not just the child, but all the generations that will follow him will be well provided for.
So let us each become an active citizen- one who doesn’t just observe all drawbacks and criticize them, but one who actually works towards improving on that drawback. And if we do this in a little way we can, we can build a flawless country together.
Pic credit: ntr23 (Used under a Creative Commons license)
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