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 —



Women Journalists of Kashmir.

hijabiWomen Journalists of Kashmir.

Sameer Yasir is a favourite writer of mine, and I like the way he thinks, this time round he shared the emerging women journalists of Kashmir. Here were some things that struck a chord.

Emerging young women of Kashmir, something has changed in the valley, women are opting to be journalist in a turbulent valley. They are talking about, moving beyond talking causalities to look back on devastation, that seem to be call of the Kashmiri women journalists. Though conventionally women are allotted women centric roles, it is an interesting observation that the women have to keep fighting since a dead person is son, brother , husband to someone, and their war is on.

The challenges are unannounced curfews, encounters and killings, Shahana Butt, a reporter since the age of 21 says that Kashmiri women were never bound to gender specific roles.

We take separate washrooms for granted. Yet Greater Kashmir didn’t take women staff because they did not have that facility.

I am ashamed that I do not know but I have to ask, who are half widows?


The author can be reached on Twitter @Adnan__Bhat


World Hijaab Day

image courtesy google

My sister and I were in the Bombay local, it was just after Eid. Since my burn scars were visible I had taken to wearing the Hijaab.  Hijaab is the traditional covering for the hair and neck that is worn by Muslim women.

At Dadar, a woman entered since it was a time and day when the train was not crowded, the women decided to make conversation. She looked at me and said,”Eid Mubarak.” It didn’t do harm to reply so my sister and I greeted her back. She then said,”Oh! The Kheer that you make for Eid I really enjoy It.” it then occurred to us that she thought we were Muslims and was trying to be secular. I know it sounds bitchy but that seems to be a major attitude.hijabi

Too many people look at the Hijaab as though it has bizarre powers sewn into its microfibers. Powers that transform Muslim women into UCO’s that is the unidentified covered objects, which in turn converts the Muslim women from us to them.

The trail of the covered head, came to India with the conquering Muslims, the elite women first wore them, like copying the stars, the people then began covering head to copy the elite… the reference to this can be found in kalhana’s ragatarangini. Eventually it became part of the wardrobe, I think parallel journeys are travelled by the ubiquitous “nighties” and now the “Salwaar Kameez.” Any way February 1st is the world Hijaab Day and 116 countries participate in it. it was founded by Nazma Khan in 2013. hijabi 2

The idea is for both Muslim and non-Muslim women to wear the Hijaab for a day and experience life from the other side, that is experience the life of a Hijaabi woman. Of course people do look at it as a venture to create converts, and convert the converts to fanatics.

The Hijaab is viewed as a method of oppression to quote Yasmin Mogahed, in Reclaim Your Heart personal insights on Breaking Free from Life’s shackles —. “With my veil I put my faith on display—rather than my beauty. My value as a human is defined by my relationship with God, not by my looks. I cover the irrelevant. And when you look at me, you don’t see a body. You view me only for what I am: a servant of my Creator.
You see, as a Muslim woman, I’ve been liberated from a silent kind of bondage. I don’t answer to the slaves of God on earth. I answer to their King.” hijabi

As for feminism, its purpose isn’t to make a particular type of woman, the idea that there are inherently wrong and right types of woman  it’s so judgmental, this belief, we don’t accept  dim birds, birds that bitch, birds who stay at home and look aft kids, birds that drive the pink Nano with powered by fairy dust , birds saris, birds in burkas, birds that like to pretend that they are  Hrithik Roshan’s dream dancer partners, feminism is all of us, and feminism is that simple belief that women should be as free as men, however nuts, dim, deluded, dowdy, fat, lazy , smug they might be.

All of you feminist watch dogs, next time you are heading out of the door, pause at the mirror and make sure that what you see reflects your purpose and value. That does not mean donning a Hijaab but it probably doesn’t mean having words on your butt either.#Fantstico (7)

At the end of the day, the decision of to wear a hijaab or not should be that of the individual. Western opinion on the hijaab or burkas is rather irrelevant.  It would be right that we don’t decide for any woman, what does or does not oppress them no matter how highly we think of ourselves…” coming to modesty quote –“Modesty and decency dwell in the mind, not in a burka.”
Author: Nadeem Aslam



<p>This blog post is inspired by the blogging marathon hosted on <a href=”https://www.indiblogger.in”>IndiBlogger</a&gt; for the launch of the <a href=”http://madeofgreat.tatamotors.com/tata-zica-social-center&#8221; target=”_blank”>#Fantastico Zica from Tata Motors</a>. You can  apply for a <a href=”http://madeofgreat.tatamotors.com/tata-zica&#8221; target=”_blank”>test drive of the hatchback Zica</a> today.</p>

Rights of a Victim

2nd october2
image courtesy google

Rights of a Victim
Should sexual abuse be reported?
I shall not give three reasons why they should because the reasons why they need not are also there.
Amnesty claims only 1 in 100 sexual abuses get reported in India… well the statistics worldwide is not much different. so stop projecting the issue as an Indian thing.
Will reporting sexual abuse make a difference? I am not really sure.
Dealing with sexual abuse happens in two planes… one is the healing of the victim. There is a deep sense of violation, there is a sense of being vulnerable and a sense of shamed. “I just want to sleep. A coma would be nice, or amnesia, anything just to get rid of this, these thoughts, whispers in my mind. did he rape my head too?” this was as the query of a rape victim. The pacifiers often say time eases the pain but does it?
I think not, the shame, the fear it does not fade in time, instead the things that the victims remembered were the little details, that seemed to grow stronger to the point where they could feel the predators weight on their chest. What seems to stick the most is a memory of stepping into a dark spaces, and what they experience it and how light took that nightmare and made it really.
Every victim has trust issues, and one of the hardest parts to deal with is the feeling of not being believed or supported…this happens when you report sexual abuse. And if it is abuse within the family, then the rest of the family not believing. People go through so much of pain and hurt and they have to live with scars every day. Knowing that you are being brushed off, or treated as if you made it up, still worse becoming a Media story is infuriating . the same family and friends who were with you through the smiling selfie suddenly cease to know you, no one ever tells the victim, “I am sorry you had to go through all this” or does anyone say, “I am there for you”. Sexual abuse is sexual abuse, but denial is what people would like for they cannot accept the truth.
In practise the standard for what constitutes a rape is set not at the level of a woman’s experience of violation but just above the level of coercion acceptable to men.
Should we treat women as independent agents, responsible for themselves? Of course. But being responsible has nothing to do with being raped. Women don’t get raped because they were drinking or took drugs. Women do not get raped because they were not careful enough; women get raped because someone raped them.
The reporting of abuse, the subsequent investigation, the follow up and the media blare makes the victim relive the trauma over and over again. Until we are able to find a way to support the victim, tell her or him, “I’m sorry you had to go through this pain, I there by you while you fight it” we have no business demanding people to report abuse.
There are far too many silent sufferers of sexual abuse, not because we don’t yearn to reach out, but because they tried to reach out and they have found out no one who cares..
Prevention of rape requires a complete different handling that begins with changing our attitudes, the way bring up our children, the values we inculcate, even the television serials we watch add.
Coming back to rape, it is one of the most terrible crimes on earth and it happens every few minutes. The problem with the groups who deal with rape is that they are busy trying to educate women about how to defend themselves and what really needs to be done teaching men not to rape… this is not about crime and punishment. Go to the source and start there.
Maybe we could start, with, precedent.. The title president stays with the person even if they served only term. The same should go for rapist.
As for my rights, I would like to reserve the right to report the abuse until I am in a mental framework of dealing with it.
I’m writing this blog post to support Amnesty International’s#KnowYourRights campaign at BlogAdda. You can also contribute to the cause by donating or spreading the word.”

musings on women’s day

forgottenMarch 8th,

Every institution, marketing guru, NGO’s get into bandwagon of women’s day, I wonder how many of them actually translate into actions. Question routinely raised—

  • Equality of opportunity
  • Financial empowerment
  • Healthcare

Fine, but sometimes I wonder…

if the society gives the woman her issue. Woman’s education what if the woman herself does not want great academic alphabets her world of contentment … after all that’s what all self-healing talks about maybe in a different ring.

I remember this particular cousin of my mother’s. A very nice individual. Her parents were great people too, who have helped and shaped so many people’s destiny. But somehow this Aunt of mine (I refer to her as Aunt) stopped school after high school and the “groom hunting drama ” had begun.

Around this time my grandparents returned to hearth from their wanderings my grandfather had a job that took him round to many places. My grandmother being urban and educated could not accept the fact that here was a 20 yr. Old school dropout. To her it was repression vile, that this girl had to stay home waiting to get married.

After rounds of debate and argument my grandmother thought she bought time for this girl, by telling her parents okay, let her study we’ll help her and when you ‘fix’ the marriage her future husband and she can take a call.

She sifted to Udupi from remote town, one year down the line, she did complete her standard 10, then my grandfather counselled her to do D.Ed.  as soon as she returned from college, my grandmother would give her something to eat and if she came in to help her in the housework my grandmother would tell, no you study.

A month later my grandmother noticed a change in this person, she became very subdued, she would be crying in the evenings. My grandfather with all his wisdom assumed she had a love affair, one day she asked my grandfather if she could shift to her sister’s house which was a full extended family with four school going kids and about 4 college going ones, three bachelors working. Reluctantly my grandparents agreed on the condition that she would come from college to my grandparents house grandpa would check on her work progress and then she could go to her sister’s house.

Well-wishers, family and friends sniggered, “Oh! If she could not study at Parwati’s place how on earth will she do it at her sisters.”

Guess what she did do better when she shifted to her sister’s house, of course she completed D.Ed and Mr.Right came along so she got married, today she has been married for god knows how long a grandmother. She has used her innate talents to help her married family create a healing center rest assured her D.Ed is a non contributor to the exercise.

I’m not against education. It should be a choice. It’s not as if a school dropout is being repressed it just may not be the forte.

Hen stain up fur yerself.

iniblogger-- women's empowermentring the bell–www.bellbajao.org

How wrong is it for a woman to expect the man to build the world she wants, rather than to create it herself? Anais Nin.

Urmi’s niece has just put her yet to be two to a school, and Urmi was scandalized, why have a baby if you want to outsource its care. For a minute she was stood stunned, for she realized that it was the generation before speaking through her, without realizing that her niece had different challenges to face.

Urmi, now in her mid forties wondered how relevant this was, yes her generation maybe the generation of ambitious women and changing values and morals, like Madonna put it, “I’m tough, I’m ambitious and I know exactly what I want. If that makes me a bitch, okay” only the last part did not work for the average young Indian girl of the ‘80’s

“I wanted to become a doctor; I could not so my daughter and her daughter will full fill my dreams.” If the sins of the ancestors visit the youngsters their ambitions came to haunt the next generation. Sometimes Urmi wondered then what my secret dreams I enforce on the next generation. Isn’t this living in the past?

The new age life coach’s drone, “reality is something we create for ourselves, our imaginary fears get transmitted to the universe and we call it a premonition”

Whatever happened to Good Old Newton’s third law and the universal law of Karma Urmi wondered. A hazy memory slowly awakening her…

“We now break for tea, and return I want you to open the worksheet 2 and fill in what your dreams are.”
Uri’s older sister Anagha was on Uri’s case, the last 10 yrs had seen Uri turn from a bubbly fun-loving vibrant person to a withdrawn subdued personality. It looked like life was drained out her. Anagha being a trainer with ‘laws of attraction ’decided to try that to bring Uri out of her shell.
“I want you ladies to fill in what you want and not what your mother-father- or aunty next door want for you. You don’t have play safe you only need to express.”
Uri picked up her pen but when blank—- there was a sense of déjà vu –5yrs back
“I’m Dr. Sequera here, could I meet you this evening, not to talk work but to discuss a concept with you”
“What’s it about”
“Well. Yes Maria…Dr, Iyer I shall see you this evening my patient has turned up right now.”
In the evening Patricia Sequera asked Uri to list her dreams, Uri realized she had forgotten how to dream,

What did she want before she got married? Being a doctor was of course there she also wanted to travel. Even her choice of career, archaeology her first choice, had created a havoc at home, you won’t get a job, but today after medicine, and with anthropology as a hobby went to various digs, scheduling it in between her husbands, vacations and numerable trips to his ashram so that kinds schedule would not be interrupted.

Urmi’s daughter did tell her,”mama glad you are my mother, you don’t limit me.” But then she had forgotten to dream, being a mother, wife, daughter-in-law, she had put herself last each time, still
“You are troubling my son, your ambitions are too demanding”—when Uri knew for a fact that she didn’t even ask her husband to take her out for a cup of tea. If she needed a break she took it alone, for her husband, had his spiritual commitments as priority, “why don’t you divorce him “what her mother-in-law asked of her only last week. Is that the price she paid for killing her dreams? Well Urmi had done her dream list, which was part of the Amway training that’s were Uri changed too; she started awakening her dreams and talents.
“Blanking out doc?”Manini’s voice brought Uri back to earth, “it happens to all of us, what I want you to do over the week, is pick up career magazines, leisure, and life style magazines at least 10 each and pick up all the pictures that you like, then put up all those that make you smile, we take on from there”
indiblogger 4The vision board as Manini called it, was ready, now display it where you can see it.
— Déjà vu. “Put it up where you can see it” Patricia had said. Uri had made a board with places she wanted to travel.
“Uri, take this nonsense, by doing this you are pressuring your husband do you realize? You can’t have impossible ambitions do realize what it will do to your marriage”–this was Uri’s mother “don’t you realize that your children are your priority, focus on them, your dreams and ambitions should not be at their cost.”—Uri had hidden the board.
Uri had immediately felt guilty for dreaming or evening nursing those ambitions.
“What’s up doc?” Uri told manini about the past,
“Doc, you put up your dreams and your focus for yourself. Your children will also share them with you. If your husband feels pressurized it’s his problem. You are not demanding anything from anyone, this is the second barrier to overcome, what do you urmila want do you realize that you have been mrs.Iyer, Sarayu – swati’s mother, Uma Shiva Raman’ daughter for so long that you have killed Urmila. When Urmila is present, aware active, she will have the energy to do the role play, to choose and prioritize this is the reality you need to create.

It is considered normal and right for the woman to come last every bloody serial aired by the Hindi channels glorifies the long-suffering, sacrificing woman. The saddest part is when a man marries a woman knowing her ambitions and talent, he demands no expects her to step down.

A woman has to live her life, or live to repent not having lived it, D.H. Lawrence, said in Lady Chatterley’s lover.

Shamed– a book by Sarbjit Kaur


Here we are talking about ringing the bell,

Crime against women,

When I say this is attitudinal, it is groomed over generations. In the south the Nair, and the Shetty community were matriarchal and matrilineal so were the tribes of Nagaland, until the Indian govt. When that is dominated by the UP-Bihar and partial Punjab ethos has pushed its civil society values, this is the follow out of the thought process.