I like to treat people as individuals. I respect them as equals and more importantly I put personal freedom above social obligations.
I was not always like that, despite my parents treating me and my sister as equals and giving us equal opportunities, the world I grew up in, did impress on my mind, that girls are different and cannot mix with boys.
But with time I had to unlearn such stupid notions. I have been thinking a lot about such notions in the past few weeks. A few weeks ago, movie-star Aamir Khan decided to start talking about social issues haunting Indian society. I was impressed in the first 20 mins of the first episode.
I did not want to join the chorus of online fans, who were likening his new show as revolutionary or nation changing (belive it or not there have been better shows on social issues even on Indian television). Changes happen over years and generations, definitely not in a span of 12 weeks (approximately how long SMJ will run).
I must say, I have not watched all the episodes and even the ones I watch, I usually do not watch them fully. That said here is a list of all the episodes of Satyameva Jayate and the issues they tackled.
- Female Feoticide
- Child Sexual Abuse
- Dowry System in India
- Corruption in Medicine
- Intolerance of Love
- Social Problems faced by people with disabilities
- Domestic Violence
That completes seven episodes. Three issues out of seven are directly related to issues on abuse towards women. They revolve around women being treated unequally. there are many views and theories on what exactly is wrong with India, but honestly the issue comes down to asking why men and women are not considered equals.
Back in school, there was a free period in which all the students would go to the school ground and run around, play soccer or cricket. Our school was co-ed, so we did not exactly think girls came from another planet like most boys from an all boys school might tend to do.
One day, some girls decided to take part at a game of cricket. I was happy thinking it would great way to get to know some girls.
Within minutes some of the boys in the group left as they did not think girls should play cricket. Interestingly some other boys joined in. The game of cricket lasted for a few more minutes and the free period was over. Off we went back to our deary text books learning things by rote.
The girls who played cricket that day, never played it again. A few kids said it was a useless for girls to play. I must note here that none of the boys who thought girls were wasting their time playing Cricket, ended up playing even at district level.
Next free period, the girls refused to play cricket, the co-ed social sports experiment unknowingly started by 8th graders, fizzled out pretty much just as unknowingly. Why could the girls not play cricket? It really started subconsciously more than consciously, as being a boy meant I was never told not to go out and play cricket or football.
I ended up answering a lot of questions regarding what girls (mostly that would mean my kid sister and friends) should not do with these two words.
Bigots usually want to oppress smaller groups based on caste, religion and ethnicity. Men who think women are not equals are worse than bigots as they are at war with half the people who live on earth. And that is a war, everyone will lose.