Beacon of Hope
Summary of what she said is: "I so know where you are coming from, and I do want to help too but it is a hopeless cause. With rapidly new technology being introduced into the market and physicians in the racket as much as people getting sex-selective abortions done, there can't be anything done. NGOs are losing battle everywhere. What can you do to change mentality? Change might happen but it will already be too late by then. People will learn from their mistakes as it is by then." I couldn't say anything to her at the time simply because I didn't have anything to say (which is a rare feat in itself). I excused myself by promising to ring her back later when I am not sleepy. After hanging up the phone, instead of sleeping, I lied in bed wide awake thinking about what she had just told me. Was it really hopeless? Not that I would give up even it was hopeless, but is it really hopeless?
A few hours and a few glasses of water later, I came across a story that cast me out of the dilemma I was in since morning. It's a story of a group of women in one of the poorest regions of India who took it upon themselves to take care of each other and everyone else around in time of need. This group is by no-means an advocate of non-violence. They call themselves the 'gulabi gang' (pink gang) notably for their pink saris that they drape as a uniform. Gulabi Gang is known for thrashing men who beat their wives, commit any atrocity against women in their family, and the gang is also in strict opposition of government officials who misuse their power. The Gulabi women have often taken law into their hands by beating police officers when they are being unfair. You can read more about them here.
It's true that violence is not the best way to deal with abuse but what choice do these ladies really have? They live in a region notorious for its rebels and bandits and high rates of poverty and illiteracy accompanied by strict immersion in century-old traditions of caste system. Lower caste women are beat and raped just for fetching water out of an upper caste well. Police officials always are in favor of the upper caste, and maybe would even arrest the poor woman who's already been beat and raped. What choice are they really faced with except picking up weapons themselves and fight for their right to live with dignity? They are not out on a murdering rampage. They are merely fighting for freedom to live their lives with propriety.
That leads to my thought for the day: wouldn't it be great if we could instill this need of a life with dignity and respect in every woman in the country? Would it not make them value their lives? Would it not help them stand up against the pressures of their family (and society) to have a male child? Would they not start valuing their girl children just as much as the boys? Would they not teach their sons to respect women? Would they not inspire their children (sons and daughters) to not discriminate against anyone based on sex? Would they not be happy with themselves, and would that happiness not translate into a happier society?
My thoughts could just be far-fetched dreams or they could be saplings of hope that the Pink Vigilantes are sowing in the soils of their India. The cause might not be so hopeless after all.
Labels: Progress towards solutions