THE UNCCOMPLISHED AGENDA

Editorial GREATER JAMMU

While women in India during ancient times especially in the Vedic period enjoyed the highest degree of freedom and equality, it is an irony that as of today there has been a vast gap between the freedoms enjoyed by Indian women as compared to the freedom enjoyed by men. Despite the nation having made tremendous strides to become a democracy to reckon with in the current global scenario, media reports regarding gender violence hitting the headlines almost on a daily basis is ample evidence of the sufferings of Indian women even today. On a thorough analysis of the facts and circumstances of the past and present one can easily come to conclude that the subordinate status of women is the result of so many factors and the main being the strong patriarchal ideologies existing in India. However, the reasons for the current sufferings of women in India are mostly indirect ones like the expanding consumer culture; unemployment and population explosion that facilitate anomie. All these factors collectively tend to influence the manner in which a society reacts to miseries that basically sprout out of misgovernance thus providing an escape route to give vent to the dissatisfaction taking the plea of conventional values based on male superiority. In India the survey figures reveal that women suffer on account of gender violence more in their marital homes, though such sufferings take place even in their parental homes though much less as compared to the former. It is pertinent to mention here that in India generally women do not raise their voices against men because they have been taught to believe that they are the inferior sex. This trend is prevalent in almost the whole of rural India and also among certain sections in urban areas. What is most unfortunate is that multiple forms of violence are experienced by women with some brutalities being unheard of in the past. Not only within the families women also fall victim to predators while in public going to attend their offices or even for routine purchase of essentials in the market. All this does not end here but even there are instances of harassment of women in work places too. It is pertinent to mention here that in view of increasing violence against women in India some special laws were brought to address the issue e.g. the Domestic Violence Act was passed by the parliament in 2005 in the furtherance of the recommendations of the United Nations committee on the CEDAW. However, the acts of violence against women including domestic violence are on the rise. This clearly indicates that despite having achieved independence in 1947 the most important agenda of making women safe in the society where they enjoy rights on equal footing with men devoid of any gender violence remains unfinished till date. The continuation of the cycle of gender violence makes it imperative for all the stakeholders of the society to conduct a thorough analysis of the cause behind this shameful menace in the society despite having brought multiple legislations to check it. While we need more stringent laws to curb gender based violence, at the same time it needs to be realized that laws alone will not help in preventing women’s abuse. What is needed today is the change in mindsets augmented by concerted and coordinated multipronged efforts. This will undoubtedly serve as the key for enacting change and responding to gender based violence at local and national levels thus going a long way in accomplishing the unfinished agenda.