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It’s time to empower the women of India    

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By Simran Sehgal

Freedom fighter Bal Gangadhar Tilak, the maker of ‘Modern India’ said “Swaraj is my birth right and I shall have it”. Swaraj, as the word suggests, means self-government used for Independent India. But it goes beyond this simple exterior. I would like to interpret its meaning in the context of women of the nation.

Swaraj translates to freedom from all restraints and means cohesive self-rule and self-respect. As a female in the 21st century, living amidst the heart-wrenching horrors of femicide, inequality, harassment and much more, I believe that I have the freedom and the right to a dignified life without fear. As an ardent feminist, I strongly argue that that it is my birth right to be treated equally and provided with the same opportunities as my male counterparts. Be it educational or career options, women have the right to be heard.

Most importantly, it is also a birth right I have to be able to freely opt for unconventional choices without being judged or poorly spoken of. It is my right to move freely in any part of the country at any hour, wearing clothes of my choice without feeling unsafe or threatened by the predators. Not only me, but every female of this country deserves to feel secure in her motherland.

It is my right to express my opinions candidly without prevarication and be heard whenever I raise my voice against any injustice. I should not feel suppressed or have to repress my views because I belong to a supposedly ‘weaker’ gender. I am capable of taking apt decisions regarding my life without being nudged and guided by a male, be it a father, husband or brother. In a largely patriarchal society, I must not let others cripple my independence and crush my dreams.

No one can tie me down or for that matter any other woman to a career, marriage or life that we don’t want. We should not be pushed into the kitchen without a chance to pursue our dreams.

NO MORE! It is now time to stop holding back. India is a free country and every citizen irrespective of their gender has the right to veritable ‘Swaraj’ that cannot be snatched away. Our Constitution guarantees us freedom and equality and it is high time women come forward to bring a change. 

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