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Gender discrimination and oppression is widely prevalent. Women really need to raise their voice against male domination.
Yukti, a girl with a lot of aspirations and desires, was born in an orthodox joint family from high class society in Delhi. Money was no issue for her family as their business was widely spread and successfully running. They were living a luxurious life with all the possible modern amenities.The only thing that was not up-to-date was the way they thought.
They were highly conscious about how the women managed the house, served their family, how they communicated with others and even how they dressed up. No doubt, they spent lavishly on the women of the family, but failed when it came to their happiness, freedom to make their own choices and to let them lead their lives the way they wanted.
The women were bound by several rules and regulations. In spite of the abundant wealth, they were not in peace. The men of the family thought that it’s their privilege and right to make decisions for the entire family. Also, it was the duty of the women to just abide by those.
Yukti, now 17 is going to complete her 12th grade education this year. The hunt for a suitable match has already started. As soon as she completes her education, she will be married to a guy chosen appropriately, i.e. according to their family status. If she is lucky enough, she may get a chance to pursue her graduation.
Ekta, Yukti’s elder sister, didn’t have the same luck as her. She was married after completing her 10th grade at the age of 15. Ekta had prepared herself to undergo all these. But, Yukti has not. It’s difficult for her to accept that everything has been decided for her by others.
After completing her matriculation, she wanted to go for a co-ed college. This was against the wishes of her family members. “Why do you want to study with the boys? First of all, we have imparted enough education required for a girl. Matriculation is enough. Your sister also completed that and was then married. If you insist then we can arrange a girl’s college for you. Because girls get distracted in co-ed education. I don’t want you to go in a wrong direction and spoil the name of the family as you are its pride,” her Tauji, the head of the family explained.
Yukti got pacified for the time being, as at least she was getting a chance to continue her studies, though in a girl’s college. But when she was about to complete her 12th grade, a match came from a reputed family from their society. She was still not prepared for marriage. She approached her Tauji and put forth her wish, ”Tauji, I want to pursue graduation and go for higher studies”.
Tauji exclaimed,”You have done more than enough education. What will you do by pursuing higher education? After all, you have to take care of your family and look after them. That is your duty”. Yukti couldn’t control her emotions and vented out her anger and frustration,”Tauji, I want to achieve something in my life. I don’t want to just get married to a businessman and serve him and his family for my entire life time. I don’t want to live the life of my mother or sister or any other woman in the family. I wanted to be myself. I want to make my own choices and take decisions for myself”.
Tauji got irritated by her behavior and harshly said to her, “This is the result of letting you study more. This is the impact of the outside world on you. That is why we don’t allow girls to mingle more. Now go and change your mindset. We are going to fix your wedding soon”. But Yukti was determined at heart, that no matter what people say, one day she was going to make it for sure.
Soon the date for her wedding was fixed and only a few days were left for the same. The entire mansion was decorated. All the family were busy doing the arrangements, regardless of what Yukti felt. The final day came. Ekta had come from her sasural, 2 weeks before the marriage. She had been observing her sister since the day she had arrived and found something amiss with her charming sister.
Ekta went to Yukti, put her hands around her shoulders and asked, “What happened to you Yukti? You seem to be lost. Are you not happy?” Yukti deeply looked into her sister’s eyes and whispered, ”Di, are you? Are you happy with your life and the things around you?” Ekta was mum.
Yukti continued, ”Di, I think everyone deserves to be happy, to follow their heart. Tell me di if I’m wrong. What is freedom? Isn’t it to be free in every sense, be it physically, mentally, emotionally or financially. Everyone has equal rights to freedom be it man or a woman. But here in Indian, women don’t enjoy this luxury. They are held questionable for all their actions, every act of theirs is judged. Why is our society like this? Why does it have separate rules for men and women? Why only men have the liberty to take decisions in all the matters? Why are only women confined to being mere spectators? Why do they just have to obey whatever men dictate? Can’t she have a life of her own? Can’t she pack her bags and go wherever her heart takes her to? Why does she have to seek permission for her actions? Why di? Why?”
Ekta embraced her sister and said,” Yukti, you have grown up. You are more matured than me. It’s you who can make a change now. Get up and grab your rights. I never had the courage to boldly face the society. But, you do. Stand up for yourself. I promise I’ll follow you and support you till the end, my dear.”
She got up, hugged her sister and went straight to boldly face the entire crowd, with a twinkle in her eye.
Published earlier here.
Image Source – Pexels
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