Woman's day

 Today is woman's day. I do not know why we celebrate one day in 365 as woman's day! Does that mean that all others are man's day? However I have my own take on this. In India is ranked as the 4th most dangerous country for women. The ranking was done based on six risks:  health threats, sexual violence, non-sexual violence, cultural or religious factors, lack of access to resources and trafficking. Among the G 20 countries, it is the worst. As worshipers of Goddesses this should make our heads hang in shame, but we do not. So at least today, which is woman's day, let us do just that: hang our heads in shame for every woman in our country who suffers in silence and dignity the horrors she is subjected to.

From the time she is conceived, she is unwanted. Often her life ends in the womb and she is thrown away in some gutter or becomes part of hospital waste. Maybe the ones who go that way are spared the abuses they would be subjected to had they seen the light of day.

Every day we are faced with some terrible statistics regarding women. We seem to have become so inured to them that we barely flinch. You see these statistics do not concern our daughter, sister or friend. They seem to belong to some nether world we are unconcerned with. Maybe today is the day we should at least show concern about these horrifying figures and dare to peep into that nether world.

There was a TV programme yesterday evening on a film yet to be released: Lakshmi. One of the reasons for its delayed release is the concerns by the Indian Censor Board on the film's subject and the content. You see it deals with human trafficking and child prostitution! Subjects you do not talk about as they disturb everything we want held as true. But trafficking exists. 44 000 children are abducted every year and 11 000 remain untraced. Some fight and survive like the heroine of this film. Today we should salute such women.

During the programme an activist, herself a survivor, made a valid  point however disturbing. It is time we looked at the demand and not the supply of this heinous and abhorrent trade. As she said, it is not enough to save a few, as is done now, but to cut the demand. She revealed that she the youngest girl she had 'saved' was three and a half years old. Yes there are men, some maybe even closer than we think, who want three and a half years old. And as long as there is a demand, there must be a supply. As the activist rightly said it is time to name and shame those who indulge in such horrors. But it makes good business sense does it not. I ask you today on this women's day to make a pledge to go and see this film. Maybe it will open the eyes of your heart.

None of the abuses a woman has to suffer can happen without the help and connivance of other women. I am not just talking about the Madames of the prostitution dens. In every home women are abused by other women in some way or the other: the mother who prefers her son to her daughter, the mother-in-law who makes the life of her daughter-in-law hell, the women who gang up in the name of some misplaced sense of honour and shield a perpetrator with impunity while a child suffers in total bewilderment. To these women I simply ask: what if the victim was born out of your womb? Today I ask all women to stand up for women against the men who abuse them and to give up the code of silence they abide by.

And is it not time to scream out loud and clear that a woman is not responsible for the gender of the child, that the seed - be it male or female - comes from the man, and thus put a stop to the pain suffered by all women who cannot bear sons. How can they. God did not give them that role.

We need to stop thinking of women as a commodity and accept them being so treated.

Please make it a point to go and see Lakshmi to honour all the invisible women that suffer because of our deafening silence.