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Friday, November 28, 2014

Kyunki Bolega Nahin Toh Badlega Kaise

Female foeticide/infanticide is one of the major problems that plagues India (and quite a few other nations too). Not surprisingly, it is a reflection of the status of women in such societies. The girl child grows up into a woman and is married off, and therefore she is hardly able to contribute to her parents' family. An additional burden is incurred in the form of her food cum clothing expenses, education and an evil called dowry. On the other hand, the male child contributes to the family wealth once he completes his education. An additional incentive is the prospect of his bringing home a handsome dowry if his parents are able to able to showcase his correct value in the marriage mart.

It somehow affects the standing of women in overall society with women receiving less pay as compared to men in some of the work sectors. Our Bollywood and Hollywood stars are a such an example with lead actresses getting paid lesser remuneration as compared to their male co-stars. This disparity is also apparent at the other end of the economic spectrum as is the case with the daily wage laborers.

It also affects our day to day life with Indian women doing the lion's share of the household work. The Times Of India recently ran an article which was headlined "Indian men spend a mere 19 mins a day on housework". Such negative attitude is so deep rooted in our minds that even working women do not get any help from their spouse or in-laws in completing the daily household chores.

Unfortunately even our teachers are not exempt from such thinking. Many years ago when I was in school, the class teacher had appointed the students to clean the classroom, scrub the blackboard and arrange the desks everyday before the first period begin. This was to be done on a rotation basis and boys were exempt from carrying out such duties. While everyone meekly followed her instructions, I was not too happy to toe along. My protests resulted in a punishment which involved kneeling down outside the classroom for the entire day. This brought the matter to the open as other teachers stopped along and questioned why I had been punished. It helped that I was a good student. Though not immediately, there was a change over the next few weeks. New housekeeping (we used to call then 'ayah') was appointed to take care of such duties instead of students doing the cleaning. That incident instilled in my mind that any change is possible if we have the courage to stand up and speak for ourselves.

This post is written for http://www.abmontubolega.com/. With the Swach Bharat wave sweeping India, let us all take the initiative to sweep out the dirt from everywhere including people's minds. Find out more about the #AbMontuBolega campaign on their Facebook and Twitter page. Afterall, this is your chance to speak up and be heard.

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