In India, Judging and objectifying a woman happens more often than praising her for her accomplishments.
The other day, my friends and I were just lazying around and talking. You know how girls’ talks just switch from topic to topic, right? So that’s what was happening and in midst of it all we ended up talking about eve teasing.
We started sharing our experiences. First they were just about eve teasing and how it is such a normal occurrence in day to day life of an Indian woman. Then it switched to molestation and it led to some more story telling. This time about how one of my friends and her sister have been inappropriately touched in temples. Yes you heard it right, in temples!
She is from a very religious family. They have been to many holy places in India. So she has loads of adventurous stories to share and some, that are horrifying.
She told us about the time when a priest grabbed her in public (read crowd in which everyone is just trying to push their way through to get to the idol and has no idea what’s happening around and no one has space to even breath properly) and that too not just once but multiple times. Then she told us about the time when her sister was inappropriately touched by a guy who was standing behind her in the queue in a temple.
“Ironically”, both incidents happened in Goddess’ temples.
When she was telling me about what she went through, I could sense the horror in her voice. I could see her trying not to shiver and cry and that made me shudder.
Is this what we have become? A nation where women get molested even at places of worship? To top it all, by a priest? I don’t think that man should be even called that but he is still fooling people with that fake identity.
People usually go to a place of worship to connect with God. Even if they are just enthusiastic travelers, the main intention is the same or maybe they just went to have some fun with their friends.
Whatever the reason may be but none justifies why women have to go through such a traumatic experience when they just want to have a peaceful time connecting to the holy divine!
Are women safe nowhere?
We swear by our country’s beautiful diverse culture. We take pride in our religious beliefs and mythological stories. We believe that India has given great gifts to the whole world through everything it is.
But are we also the ones who are forgetting our own culture?
Do we even believe in what preach?
Aren’t we just making it all go down the drain by how we treat women?
Every year, we celebrate Navratri (twice), The festival of worshiping Goddesses. People fast for nine days and on the ninth day, invite nine girls at their home, worship them and feed them. Still, we have thousands of cases of rapes and violence against women every year. Still, we are a country where a woman cannot dare to go out alone at night.
All our Goddesses portray strength. Still, we are a country which is intimated by the idea of women being in power.
None of the mythological stories have any trace of women being considered weak. Mahabharata is a proof that violence against women was considered ungodly and offenders were punished with nothing less than death.
Even after all this, if this is what is happening in India, we really need to reconsider our identity as a nation.
Why boast about it when we do not even believe in it?
Maybe we should just stop worshiping Goddesses. Why worship them when we do not even consider women as humans?