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Happy Men’s Independence Day: 67 years of ‘incomplete’ freedom

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Be it the patriotic songs, the unfurling of Tiranga, the kite flying, the powerful ministerial speeches or simply observing a day off from the routine job, all these years, the Independence Day has had more or less similar implications for all of us. However, a question that my mind often wrestle with is that, with due passage of time hasn’t the essence of independence been lost? Do we really celebrate our freedom or is it mere the rubber stamp of breaking free from the colonial shackles?

The ‘independent’ India that we live in today doesn’t allow women the freedom to dress without being noticed, to go places without being teased or to work without suppression. They are paid less compared to their male counterparts, irrespective of the work done. The women aren’t safe here, not in their homes, not in public transports or work places, the girls aren’t safe at schools. They are kidnapped, molested, raped, murdered and their bodies are dumped on roadsides or suspended with ropes on trees.

Not only this, the men have the audacity to justify their deeds saying, “she was out too late”, “she was hanging around with guys” or probably “she was wearing a short dress”, hence she was asking for it. Which human being would want to be treated like that, or would ‘ask’ to be raped? Do the children at age of 6 and women at age of 60 who are raped, ask for it too?

Of what use is a country’s independence, if the women have to think ten times before going out with friends ‘too late’ in the night? Who defines the limit of ‘too late’ in an ‘independent’ country like ours?

Is all of this merely a consequence of uncontrollable desires and whimsical fantasies of men causing sexual frustration or is there another angle to it? Isn’t the ‘independent’ India still stereotyping woman to be weak individuals? Why is it that a boy who cries watching a movie is told to “be a man”, a girl wearing boy’s clothes and no makeup is called a ‘tomboy’ or a girl who loves playing basketball is forced into learning painting? What is it with the forced appearance and behavior according to the sex you were assigned at birth? Is that what we call ‘independence’?

It is going to be almost seven decades since the independence and orthodox mentalities, stereotypes and stringent gender policing have all led to women objectification. The fault isn’t only of the men who exploit women, but also of the society that raises children in a way that females are presumed to be a subject to a man’s desires and mercy.

Our movies advocate that, when Rahul falls in love with Anjali in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai only when she ‘dresses up like a girl’ and our TV shows propagate so, as they show women to be engrossed enough in cooking, raising babies or sorting domestic quarrels with mothers in law/sisters in law. Till there isn’t a freedom to think beyond the stereotypes, how could there be independence?

Not that all is wrong, India has seen women scale great heights in all fields, but the question definitely remains – Is this what ‘independence’ really means? For if yes, then it is, only a ‘happy men’s Independence Day’ here.

Featured Image Credits: www.blogbigtime.com

Mridul Sharma is a final year B.Com (Honors) aspirant from DCAC, a patron of meaningful cinema and good soft music and has deep love for writing. He is more of a poet, feels whatever he writes and writes to understand what he feels, a little better. Currently, the Associate Web Editor at DU Beat, he is looking forward to his final year and can be contacted at [email protected]

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