Despite of our achievements as human beings, do you question yourself about which era we are living in? I do!
In today’s confused life or in those stringent old times...it was and is conveniently forgotten that who came to the existence on earth first. After the protozoan and single organ creatures to the multi-organ animals, “Humans” the social animals with brain came to an existence. These stone age complex creatures learned to be humans taking care of their life requirements and giving birth to the next generation. Fast forward to half a century ago, we humans had conveniently forgotten that the person exists first and that his/her right to live a free life should exist first. Different powers had come to an existence which took over the lives of some other. Again, fast forward to today, independence is achieved by all the countries but there exists a community which still needs to fight for its existence. That is the community of women!
Why does this community still need to struggle?
It is right that on an individual level all have to struggle for their own existence and better future but, even today, women have to additionally struggle for their existence because of the judgmental behaviour from their own family members, friends and the society. In Indian societies they are believed to be a blessing of goddess Lakshmi but at the same time are considered to be a burden which is handed over to another family as their possession for future.
Not all are the same! As I believe and aware of, we have plenty of good examples to follow but these are not yet enough to change the mentality of our society. Women as a child, sister, wife, daughter-in-law and mother face presumptions, judgments and oppression and eventually the consequences of these. At such times why is it forgotten that she exists as a person first and her right to exist as self cannot be denied.
Humans, Clothes and Traditions....Importance of each!
All right, let me start with the “traditions” first.
What are traditions? To me it is purely the way of living and conducting your life around your beliefs which are adapted to the time you are living in. Absolutely at all times, we get to hear that we do this and that because it is our tradition. Correct! Knowing the importance of tradition in maintaining our way of living and giving it a physical and spiritual structure, all try to keep some of these traditions alive. Many of these traditions didn’t fit well as the generations passed and some changes were made to them in order to adapt to their current time and those generations found it appropriate too. So, traditions are important to keep our identity as a society intact, but may not necessarily be for an individual.
Coming to Clothes.....this is an easy one.
Well...the biggest truth of life is that it will end one day hence, the clothes definitely get less importance over life. As believed by Hindus, our body is like a dress which is worn by the soul. Soul is immortal, whereas, the body changes following a death. With this in mind, clothes in our life should be given least importance and is a matter of choice for an individual. I agree that what we wear may make us look good and I also strongly believe that clothes have a tradition to it which should be preserved. But again clothes are not more important than the life itself.
Now let’s talk about the importance of a human life.
As I wrote earlier, humans are born with brain and capability to think and to know what they are thinking. Based on these, a human being will behave and act in this world. All these are distinguished characteristics for a living being and we should feel lucky to be born as one. Otherwise, think of yourself as a creature you hate the most and you will suddenly love the life you have got as a human. Hence, if one is born as a human then it is the biggest gift of God and, it should be given utmost respect and importance. Hence, it is most important to remember that: no society, tradition or a commodity in this world is important than a human life.
What happens when a human (a woman) gets least and the traditions get most importance?
What happens is what we see in our societies today!
We have come a long way but, still women are not allowed to live their life the way they want. Their upbringing, education, choice of clothes and a life partner, work, life and their own existence is dependent on a family’s wish. In many cases, a woman is thought to be the property of parents, husband or in laws. When this happens, she starts to lose and after a time she cannot recognize herself or the reason of her existence. This is sheer oppression!
Again, the extent to which this happens differs from family to family but it does exist and, every woman has to experience it either as a daughter or DIL or both. While talking about tradition and women, all of a sudden the bar is raised very high and to the extent that it is OK to forget their own existence but that of the tradition’s.
Here, I question myself and you should also ask yourself too, that, who formulated these traditions which the women have to still follow? Going back in time and from what we can understand, these were formulated by men surrounding their way of life and women had to blindly follow it. Girls were also raised in a way believing that these traditions are their life. No matter what they are capable of doing, they must not quit any of these traditions. With this, "the importance" which should be given to the life of an individual was given to everything else and this is not a sign of a progressing society.
How to fuel a positive change in our mentality?
Recognize and acknowledge the importance of life and the individual over the worldly matters.
Do not try to own the woman in her role but try to win her heart first and then she would be happy to accommodate important changes in new life.
Be the support for a life, not a hurdle! Meaning, how the families will treat the woman in their home will either motivate her to live and love all in her life or might result in an unhappy & disappointed sole.
Consciously make efforts to be the initiator of a progressive family and do not wait for others to lead. Your responsibility is to what you think & you do! Look only towards better examples in society! Stop thinking how good you are looking at the bad examples and free the way for your progress towards a better version of you.
At last but not the least, let the new generation bring the changes which fit better for times coming ahead. With an open mind you will find these changes more refreshing and easing your own life.