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Women have been experiencing a kind of lockdown since a long, long, time, because patriarchy dictated that they remain inside homes if they have to be deemed ‘good’, ‘worthy’ women.
What is it like to live like a prisoner? How could any man ever feel? When a prisoner is confined in jail, all his rights are taken away, and he cannot step out of his prescribed area. Wondering what I am speaking of? Lockdown.
Look at the very definition of lockdown – ‘a state of isolation or restricted access’, and you’ll soon realise that women have been under lockdown since centuries, living in a patriarchy that takes away all their rights as human beings. Men have been keeping them under physical or emotional lockdown for ever, and still do.
Just in one day of having a public curfew, the condition of people has deteriorated. Now can we women ask men how they feel living even one day under such conditions? How would they feel if it becomes one week of curfew? One month? Six months? More? Did you feel like a prisoner? How did you feel about not doing anything at all according to your will? Just try to put yourself inside the mind of women who have been experiencing a variation of this since ages, mister! You will probably break down at the very idea!
Perhaps the men in society need to experience more of this, to really ‘get’ what this kind of confinement, the way women have been controlled, feels. A state to which men have been, all this time, deaf and blind.
A women becomes a hard worker after undergoing years of torture, spends all her life virtually a prisoner. Yet, you say her ‘life is lived’, don’t you? Wrong. Life is lived only if one can live it free, according to what one is, what one wants and needs. Otherwise, the life just passes, women under patriarchal lockdown just exist.
Today, due to the COVID-19 crisis, people feel imprisoned, because you can’t go wherever you want to, can’t do what you want. But this is exactly what society expects of the women of the house – mother, sister, daughter, daughter-in-law, wife – just so that they be deemed ‘good’ women. I have seen this happen in my society and even in my house and raised my voice, but this voice is often unheard, silenced.
Women who do not abide by these societal rules are vilified, slut-shamed, and often face gender based violence.
Think, dear men! I have written this just to open your eyes and minds to the realities of women in India. Maybe you can think and empathise. And maybe work towards equality of human rights.
By comparing women with prisoners, one remembers this song by the one and only Lata Mangeshkar in the film Sadhana.
The end of this song goes –
Mardo ke liye har julm raavan, aurat ke liye rona bhee khata
(men can do anything they want, women cannot even cry freely)
Mardo ke liye laakho seje, aurat ke liye bas ek chita
(men have many beds they can lie on, but a woman gets only the fiery pyre)
Mardo ke liye har aish kaa hak, aurat ke liye jina bhee saja
(men have a right to many pleasures, for women, even living their life is a punishment)
Aurat ne janam diya mardo ko…
(this woman, who has given birth to men…)
Image source: a still from the Tamil movie Srirangam
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