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Women deserve our respect for their endurance and empathy

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By Pakhi Bindal

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the water to create many ripples.” — Mother Teresa

Women are often depicted as helpless, dependent, and vulnerable in news stories especially when cases of physical abuse, harassment, domestic violence, suicides, acid attacks, and murders are covered on an everyday basis. Such incidents leave an impression in our minds that they are the ‘weaker sections’ of our society which eventually makes their position even more vulnerable.  

I strongly believe that women should be judged on their mental strength and endurance instead of measuring their physical strength.  It is in fact very rightly said by celebrated American author Sarah J. Maas, “If you can learn to endure pain, you can survive anything. Some people learn to embrace it- to love it. Some endure it through drowning it in sorrow, or by making themselves forget. Others turn it into anger.”

The concept of “weaker section” should be removed from our minds. The concept of ‘equality’ should be implemented in the true sense instead of only talking about it. I agree that a woman alone cannot make much difference in society but each of us have the potential to bring changes in smaller and bigger ways. Understanding a woman’s enormous potential can help us live up to our responsibility.

Humans should be judged for their contribution in society. Our gender is not part of our identity but the role that we play in society. For centuries women have been struggling to make a place for themselves in society. Thanks to our legal system which has to some extent listened to women’s suffering and recognized her tremendous potential. Women too in today’s date enjoy fundamental rights and equal space in the workplace.  In fact, March 8 is dedicated to women worldwide in the form of International Women’s Day.  

Questioning a woman is easy but understanding her circumstances and pain is tough. Some of us fight and some of us quit but that doesn’t make us any weaker than others. One such example of a woman who was initially looked down upon but she fought for her rights till death was Phoolan Devi. Many see her as ‘Bandit Queen’ and many look up to her as a Female Rights Activist, Politician from the Samajwadi party and later a Member of Parliament. Before rising to this level, it is also important to note that she came from a very poor family in Uttar Pradesh and she endured poverty, child marriage that proved quite abusive. She managed to escape that and fell prey to a gang of bandits, where she was the only woman and was raped several times by the men of that gang. She took revenge by killing several of those perpetrators and she herself became a ‘Bandit Queen’.  She had spent 11 years in jail for her sins. Her tragic life never proved to detriment her determination to fight for women’s rights.   

We have all heard of the NGO Stop Acid Attacks. Its founder is Laxmi Aggarwal, an acid attack survivor,  one the most inspiring and motivational women in the world. She broke all the existing stereotypes and beauty norms and today is the face of beauty brands. She was also felicitated with the International Women of Courage Award by former US Lady Michelle Obama . She states boldly without fear “Usne acid mere chehre par daala hai, sapnon par nahin” A passionate dreamer who decided to fight for other victims’ lives , dreams and justice .

The “Iron lady of Manipur” “Icon of Resistance” and many more such titles have been given to just one woman: Indian Civil Rights activist Irom Chanu Sharmila. Sharmila is a political activist and a poet who went on hunger strike for 16 long years from November 5, 2000 to August 9, 2016 . What gave her the strength to go on hunger strike for such a long time period? She belongs to one of the states of North East India which was under the Armed Forces(special Powers) Act (AFSPA). She witnessed the alleged killing of 10 innocent citizens( commonly known as the Malom Massacre) by personnel of the Armed Forces. This incident triggered her to go on hunger strike demanding the removal of AFSPA . In the ongoing exercise she was arrested several times. Attempts were made even to force feed her but she never gave up her fight. 

Eventually in her fight she became an inspiring figure in the humanitarian activist world.

I urge people to salute all women for their endurance in harsh situations but still making our lives a success full of happiness.

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