Strongest yet the weakest; powerful yet powerless; THAT is “the Indian Woman”- a complex being. Talking of the urban Indian woman, a question occurs to me, “has there been significant change in the status and position of women in the Indian society?” The answer is yes and no, both. Considering both the educated and uneducated women masses, there has been little to no change in the position of women in the society. Agreed that the modern Indian woman is independent, both financially and otherwise, but does her position in her family and in-laws change? Be it the so called forward-minded educated families or the uneducated ones, is there much difference, except for the handful number of families where the status and opinions of a women do really matter? The answer is a disheartening no.
Recently, I was working with an NGO under the “Women Rights Wing” Mumbai. What caught my attention was the number of domestic violence (DV) cases that came to us. The number was devastatingly high! And divorce cases, the number could touch skies! In spite of this, we have our “Hon’ble Courts” celebrating joyously the success of saving a very infinitesimal number of marriages or mending families where DV takes place. To my surprise, these aggrieved women who came to us were actually quite strong! Women of all classes, even the high society, faced the same ruthless behavior of their in-laws or fathers who shamelessly would torment them. So again, has it made a difference to the position of women, even after girls being educated, women reservation schemes, etc? That too in their own households! The reason, action is not taken or taken late is “I did not want my family to bear the humiliation of the society by dragging it to Court.” OR “whatever and however he is, he is my Husband/ Father, how can I even think of filing a suit against him!” Shockingly, it is usually the women from greater financial backgrounds who give such excuses and on the contrary, the slum-dwelling women or the lower middle class women would actually have the courage to come to us. It’s not obvious about the rural women, but still why do women even the urban areas face all this in spite of urban societies being far ahead of rural societies?
Like I said earlier, women are powerful yet powerless, who takes away their power and why? Who has the authority to do so? A man? NO. It’s the women themselves who make themselves vulnerable and give their selves away to society and its meaningless people and norms. A case1 of a 62 year old women, who is the CEO of a well-known firm, having more than enough money and power to survive herself makes me think of why her plight is what it is. This woman has a daughter from her first marriage and after the death of her first husband married another man. For the last 20 year she has been subject to his and his son’s torture and violence. She has, in all these years, just filed one NC, and now her case stands weak in Court.
The Protection of Women against Domestic Violence Act, 20052 talks about the right of women to maintenance from their husbands. But, in this case, the victim does not need maintenance but a dignified life. She needs respect and love from her family. What’s the point if a woman is earning and is still ill-treated? And when she seeks legal recourse to protect herself, it is not available because of her successful career? So, does the law not support women becoming financially independent? It is a sad and unfortunate thing to watch such things happen to senior citizens, who just wish that their last years end in peace and happiness which they deserve from their family.
All said and done, the Indian woman has to face the humiliation and violence of the man in the house for the sole reason that our society has made powerless and taken for granted, the position and status of women. The ones who try to rise up and take a stand are oppressed and put down. It is time now, that women get what they deserve and are treated with respect and dignity.
About the Author
A young and dynamic girl, Lakshika is a rebel at heart and is a strong believer in change in trends of the Indian society. She is currently pursuing her studies in socio-legal sciences and bachelors in law and holds great interest in human rights, criminal and international law. She holds an outgoing and bold persona and never steps back from doing her part to prevent any wrong or to right to a wrong. Apart from interests in social sciences and legal studies, Lakshika is interested in travelling and discovering as many places as possible to understand the story of different people worldwide and to have a better idea about their lifestyles and culture and the problems they face.
 Aruna Doshi vs. Pradeep Doshi (Pending case. No judgements passed till date.)
 Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005