Our country is currently dealing with a lot of social issues, which I would like to write on, but what saddens me the most is to see the plight of certain section of women in Haryana. The state of Haryana comes in the news often, with cases related to women and their grim conditions. Ironically, it is a home to great women personalities like Kalpana Chawla the famous Indian Astronaut, Badminton player Saina Nehwal, Bollywood actresses Mallika Sherawat, Juhi Chawla and many more. India is a land where women are worshipped in the form of saints and Goddesses since yesteryears, but despite this we hear of women getting raped, killed, and undergoing ‘ Honour killing ‘ in the name of tradition. It is really surprising that in this age and century there are still a class of people who dishonour women and treat them like door mats.
I’ve listed some of the issues that women face in the state below
* There are several cases of women getting raped here. Minor girls,widowed women are easy targets.
* The women’s population has drastically decreased due to female foeticide. The state has one of the worst sex ratios 877 females per 1000 males. The population of women is far too less. The males here are finding it tough to find brides for marriage. Due to this women are forced to get married early and pressurised to enter the flesh trade. The number of crimes like rapes has increased manifold. Haryana tops the charts in such crimes. Who will these chauvinistic men marry if there are no women ? What will happen to the future generations ?
* Women are not allowed to fall in love with men who belong to the same community. They would be severely punished. The couple would either be killed by the relatives or she would have to accept the man as her brother. The killing is termed as ‘ Honour Killing ‘.
* Most women are expected bring huge sums of dowry ( money and commodities) when they get married. It doesn’t matter whether the boy is uneducated or educated and holding a good job.
* Women trafficking is very common.
* Most women have no say in family matters. If she works then she is considered to be too forward. She’ s not allowed to dress the way she likes. Some of them are malnourished.
I was shocked when I recently came across this news on a television channel, which showed that women have been banned from using mobile phones in a certain village of Haryana. They should not leave their houses unless assisted by a male companion. Who are the people to lay down these rules ? It’s the khap Panchayat. Khap is a system and a group of mostly elderly people. They have the power to form self governments and uplift the rural areas in matters of education, jobs, and economic growth. But they have failed to perform these duties, instead they have become efficient in Moral policing. When it comes to a woman falling in love with a man belonging to the same village, the couple would be punished. Falling in love is a shame but killing for the sake of tradition is an honour according to them.
They have been criticized by the youth who have been snatched of their rights to choose their life partner. The law needs to take strict action against honour killings and such moral policing.
Here I’ve listed the steps that can be taken to improve the situation :
* The first step is to educate each and every member of the state. It should be made mandatory for every girl and boy to be educated. Boys should be taught from an early age in school to respect women as their equals . This will change the mindset of boys at an early age. Co- education system of schools must be encouraged.
* Every member of the state must be made aware and educated about the laws. The leaders should be made aware that the right to choose one’s life partner is personal and has to be respected.This will help in bridging the gap between the older and younger generation.
* Women should also be encouraged to participate in the meetings. They should be encouraged to work and be financially independent.
* Laws to severly punish men who indulge in rape, honour killing and dowry practices must be implemented.
* More and more NGOs should work towards this cause.
The Government should act fast to change the face of Haryana. Many non government organizations have worked hard for this cause like the Himmat Mahila Samooh. It’s time that the women of Haryana live a life of self respect and dignity in this male dominated state.
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