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If you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family (nation). This popular African quotation should have been sufficient enough for a civilised society to respect its women folk. Unfortunately, it has remain just a quote by some male chauvinist who believe that women are mere objects to be used, abused and thrown away in some remote corner to wither and eventually die a painful death.

Wait a minute, did I say male chauvinist? Yes I did! But then what about those situations and cases where women have turned against women in numerous crimes against them – dowry deaths, domestic violence, female infanticide, child trafficking and child abuse. (I am writing about child trafficking and abuse here because a child can be a girl as well and in most trafficking cases it is girls who are brought from the remote side of the country to big cities and sold off for measly prices to elite and respected people of the high society.)

Anyway, today the reason for writing this post is not to highlight the problems a girl child faces right from the time she is in her mom’s womb to the time she bids adieus to this cruel world, in fact the purpose of this post is to make a promise to myself and other women that I will try to make this world a better place for her to live with her own free will – a world where she will not be told what to wear, eat, drink, how to behave and what is the safe time to come back home.

Hence I am ringing the bell again loud, clear and consistently till someone hears me and promises me that we are in for the cause of creating a better world for our women folk because they DO DESERVE OUR IMMENSE RESPECT and LOVE. I recently read a post from a fellow blogger wherein she has mentioned a case of a father who grabbed his  three days old baby girl from the bed and threw her on the floor and tried to strangle it with his feet – all because he was worried about his dowry and the money he will be needing to educate her considering the fact that he is poor and owns a snack cart for a living. The blogger has raised numerous questions in her blog (Please read the entire blog here http://indianhomemaker.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/the-father-threw-the-baby-on-the-ground-and-tried-to-strangle-her-with-his-legs-no-case-registered/) and one that left me thinking was – Doesn’t woman has any rights of her own? Is she a mere property to be owned – somebody’s daughter, sister, wife and then mother but never a woman with her own name and identity?

So I am ringing this bell to create awareness that these patriarchs take advantage of internal jealousy we have for fellow women and then play on it so conveniently for their own selfish gains. They suppress their wives, daughters, and daughters-n-law as well. And God forbid their mothers if they try to oppose this inhuman behaviours of their son. For then they forget that the woman they are raising their hands is their own mother. Of course the mother who supports this cruel work of wife-beating is hailed by these patriarchs. But then we are again brought to the same question – whether the society gives any right to women or are they just in the paper?

Even as I am writing this I know that I have changed from my maiden name to my marital name, have even added the name of my spouse as my middle name, yet when I introduce myself it’s by my first name. Changing the name was my personal decision, as was adding N’s name as my middle name (for writing and byline purposes) but that doesn’t mean that I will introduce myself with my full name. Interestingly I have been married for ten years and even today Mrs G is my mom at her place and my mom-in-law at my marital home. I have never been able to relate well to that title. Even when A’s teachers refer to me as Mrs G I take a moment or two to answer and politely tell them that my name is S so please refer to me by that.

Another way I can and am trying to ring the bell is by bringing up my son sensitive to gender issues, a man who respects women for what they are not what they have to offer. And I sincerely hope that if I am able to instil this gender sensitivity in my son I will be able to win half of my battle because then he will be able to pass on this sensitivity to his children and the cycle will continue hopefully.

And so with that hope I am ringing this bell loud, clear and with a persistence that somebody has to LISTEN.  Image

Get yourself acquainted with the campaign more at http://www.bellbajao.org/