Who Empowers?

Merriam-Webster says to empower is to give official authority or legal power to act on ones behalf.

It could also mean to enable

It could also be to promote the self-actualization or to influence.

Do we need someone to really empower us? Doesn’t the constitution already empower every citizen of the country immaterial of the sex? The fundamental rights go

  1. Right to equality
  2. Right to freedom
  3. Right against exploitation
  4. Right to freedom of religion
  5. Cultural and educational rights
  6. Right to constitutional remedies.

On one hand we have given the rights to patriarchy, age, and whatever suits us and the other hand we talk oppression. The issue here is actually ignorance, we know not either of our duties or of our rights, how many women actually ask their spouse what they are signing up for when they get married? Think of it, college women are typically given to declaring for one or the other thing, my mother’s generation it was marriage, my generation we were confused, now it is career, and only later did they find to their surprise that they should cope with both – while men try to figure out how to get out doing either.

Like my grandmother told me, that we need to be more generous and favourable to the men than our ancestors, particularly the ones from the north, and we do this by not putting unlimited power into the hands of the husband, the saddest thing a girl can do is to dumb herself for a man; at the end of the day, all men could be tyrants if they could.  How dare someone, be it a masculine gender or his mother, tell me how to dress, how to talk, how to behave any being who does that is not human. The fact is all women can make it on their own, it’s not about needing a man or not – it just means every woman knows she can do whatever she sets out to do—the disempowerment here is not knowing what she wants to do.

The north Indian society, has always been patriarchal and male chauvinistic they would rather deal man to man than a woman, when they have to deal with a woman, particularly an articulate woman, they struggle to place her, she is not married to any man, clearly she is not the mother of a son, she has not gone to school with his sister, and she is definitely not going to bed with him.. That leaves him asking what the hell is happening here? What is she here for?

True that we begun raising our daughters like sons… we still do not have the courage to raise our sons like our daughters. If only one generation would take action, in raising their children as humans instead of raising boys and girls then the society can get rid of this misogyny lot earlier. woman power

Let’s take a pause…  think this over, when your parents choose your groom, the criteria is…more qualified than you, higher income than you… older than you… all the power equation…for every woman who we know who has been given substandard treatment by her parents, used by her husband or boyfriend, discriminated by her employers, and ridiculed by society is a man who has been burdened with family responsibility since childhood, humiliated by his girlfriend, bullied at work, pushed by society and harassed by his wife, everybody is fight a battle of their own.

Through life there are distinctions, clothing for men, and clothing for women, etiquette for men, and etiquette for women, toilets for men, and toilets for women but at life’s end it is the same six feet under or the pyre of wood for everyone.

Barking up the same tree —



Telling a story that empowers.

The Banni tree
The speaking tree

I met my friend Malavika after a long while. For the past 10yrs, I have been hearing the same story, how, her partner took advantage of her at work, her husband was loving yet detached, financial challenges, tension with sibling.  Coming to think of this most of us are dealing with similar issues not that she is unique, but what struck was the reinforcement that was occurring that was playing out her story.

We all have stories to say, but quite a few of us are stuck in a story and it becomes our reigning drama. When we are stuck in one drama maybe it is time to look at the story we are creating, and rewriting it to a more empowered storytelling. After all, each of us have our own life story it is filled with relationships and events, that help us shape who we are and what we believe to be true about the world. Depending on our perceptions and willingness to grow. Our experiences can feed negativity and patterns of playing victim or it fuel a life of empowerment and continue self development. It is the story we tell ourselves about what happens that makes all the difference.

Let’s take a moment and look at the story we have been creating for ourselves on an ongoing basis.  If we are feeling empowered, peaceful and have confidence to handle things, then we have been framing circumstances in a manner that serves us well. On the other hand if we have a lot of resentment and guilt and feel that life is pulling us down we need to retell stories of past and present events from another point of view. No matter who the characters of our stories are or what they have done we are the only ones who can define the role we play in our lives. Taking responsibility for our story allows us to learn, grow forgive and find compassion. Most importantly it allows us to move on to a better future.

When we understand, that what we are telling is just a story, it is not happening anymore, it just a string of words, we can just crumble and throw our past in a trash can, then we could figure who we are going to be.

We can pick a story that empowers us, it could be the proof our own resilience and creativity.  This generosity also allows learning what we need to know.

Giving Power Away By Suppressing The Inner Voice.

kallu chappara (2)

“The Voice

There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
“I feel this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong.”
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend
Or wise man can decide
What’s right for you–just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.”
― Shel Silverstein

My brother’s son bent to touch my feet, I told him, don’t do it unless you really feel doing it, for I sensed a certain kind of reluctance in him to do so. This triggered a huge war in our house. of course my sister-in-law being well brought she did not tell me anything upfront, but she was very articulate in expressing her displeasure to my mother. For her it was an issue where I refused to wish her kids well.

For me, it was an issue where the child was giving his power away to others, it could be his mother or it could even be norms. I would bless the boy take a stand on what he wants and stand by it.   we have all faced this kind of repression one way or ther, in schools and in various situation, we reach a point that we do not know how to hold our power because giving it away is ingrained. We have let the noises of other’s opinions drown our own inner voice.

There are times when we feel we have to give our energy to other people just as part of social contract, and we feel we have to do it in order to survive.  But it is possible to exchange energy in a way that preserves our inner integrity and stability, this begins with listening to our inner voice.  The refusal to listen to our inner voice is so ingrained that people sometimes have to be forced to things they would rather not articulate just s that they could hear their own words. It is interesting the way people know things and not know them at the same time. Denial is like a thick stone wall.

When we think about it, buying into trends, letting other people make decisions for us, not exericising our franchise, not voicing our opinion on things, are all occasions when we give up power. Somewhere we are told that if we take a stand, we are being stubborn, aggressive, the difference is very fine, careful listening to our inner voice will let us take a stand, without being aggressive. After all aggression is also a form of fear.

What we do not realize is that unexpressed emotions don’t die they are buried alive and will come forth later in uglier ways.

Standing up for who we are , respecting our self and ignite the divine spark in us, accessing our powers, choosing our rights and working with others brings blessing into our lives, for these relations are built with  our power and we follow it.