Dr Jyotsna Bhattacharjee
My friend’s son Raju was decidedly upset. There was not even a trace of his usual smile and chirpiness on that day when he came to see us. Because of my age factor possibly, I am regarded as a universal aunt and confidante of the locality by the children. So some of them often come to my place with endless complaints regarding something or the other. I do not mind at all. Actually I like children. Their complaints are so absurd that you might term them as laughable. But I don’t mean to antagonize them by calling them ridiculous. So to keep them happy I have to attend to their complaints with fake seriousness. After all, I cannot hurt their feelings by dismissing their grievances as absurd. If necessary I stick to white lies to keep them happy.
I looked at Raju .He looked morose and bad-tempered. On enquiry I learnt that he always got raw treatment at home, while his sister walked away with the plum. He remarked bitterly, “You know Aunty, all these talks about victimization of the girl is trash. Actually it pays to be a woman. Girls always get preferential treatment at home and everywhere else. Last year, when my elder sister was admitted into the collage she got so much love and attention that I was surprised. There was nothing extraordinary in her result. She passed her examination – that’s all. It was not a kind of brilliant achievement. Still she got several gifts. I too have joined college this year. But did I get anything new? Of course not. I have to manage with my old faded jeans and T-Shirt. The girls are the pampered species. The world is their oyster. They get everything for the asking. I wonder why they often grumble about not getting what they deserve. I think they have got more than enough.”
Was there perhaps some truth in his outburst? Are the girls really the adored species, as he said? Still I tried to make a feeble protest. But he was firm in his views and he advanced some quite logical arguments. He said that though usually parents-in-waiting wished for a male child, still once the female baby was born, she was the adored one in the family. So in the opinion of the boy the girls have all the luck and the male child does not get all that attention.
Raju continued his tirade against girls. According to him, there is much noise over atrocities against women. The media gives such news full coverage and wide publicity. Television makes repeated visual display of any crime committed against a woman or a young girl. But when a man gets killed or assaulted, it is projected as a simple crime story and given a small space.
The young boy stopped after opening his heart to the full. His arguments did convince me that the boys are ill-used. Well, almost. But I am totally confused.
Yet it is also a fact that girls are not welcome in Indian society. The birth of a boy is an occasion for celebration while the birth of a girl brings gloom and depression to the house. I wonder why this happens. The reason may be that parents perhaps think that when the girl grows up she would have to be married off to some young man and she would have to be sent to some other home and they will have no authority on her. We also often hear about cases of bride-burning. It is very sad.
But today girls have come a long way from the primitive age. At present they are working along with boys. Once girls were considered as suitable only for the jobs of teachers, nurses and receptionists. But nowadays women have invaded those areas which were exclusively reserved for men only. We have women in army and police as well. They have even gone to explore space. Who can forget Kalpana Chawala and Sunita Williams? So whatever my friend’s son may have said, I do not think that there is much discrepancy between man and woman.
I think man and woman are on equal footing. Neither is superior or inferior to the other. It is said that women are treated as second-class citizens and much atrocities are committed against women. Nowadays we often hear about incidents of dowry deaths and bride-burning. This is an inhuman practice. But I think that women should show courage and they should boldly assert themselves. They may be physically weaker than men. But they may rectify the defect by making determined efforts. At present, women have learnt a lot. Now there are women shining in boxing, in weight-lifting and in various body-building exercises. They must not think that they are weaker than men. Rather they should have confidence in themselves. Mind is stronger than the body. Self-confidence is very necessary to make women confident of their abilities. For the process of creation, both men and women are equally necessary.
No man can expect a self-respecting and self-confident woman to act his way. Women should respect themselves and should have abundance of self-confidence. Then no power on earth can suppress them. To have a happy life it is imperative for man and woman to realize that they are equal partners in the life process. I believe that God created man and woman to make the world of creation possible. There is no question of any controversy.
I have not been able to make any decisive remarks on Raju’s views. I leave it to you to give your opinion, dear reader. I only hope that both man and woman live in harmony and be happy.