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I Demand ‘Empowerment’

I Demand ‘Empowerment’

By Sheetal Bhopal

Edited by Liz Maria Kuriakose, Associate Editor, The Indian Economist

This is yet another story. Not quite another story. It is a story lived. A story seen. A story felt. A story which resides deep down inside me and today it finds its audience. It is a story of a woman who was born as a human. Society made her. Society was supposed to be a reflection of me. I am a reflection of her. Society consumed me!

Sex differentiated me. Religion chained me. And caste ill-treated me…

My mother gave me identity. Hers was taken away after birth. Me on one shoulder and the entire household on another, she tried to make the ends meet. Hauled up by her in-laws, beaten up by her ‘Other-Half’, she fought for my rights.

Undeterred by rain, deterred by society she made ‘home’ as my school. ‘Abused’ by father-in-law, ‘used’ by my father, thresholds limited her. Illiterate, the long queues for her son’s admission never tired her.

Compromising her own dreams, she saw a vision. For me!

Blood defined the relation with my sister. But hers was defined by service and sacrifice. She cooked for me. Ironed my clothes. Packed my bag. And one day, she packed hers. We bid goodbyes. She was no longer our own. Marriage suffocated her. Divorce was a taboo. She breathed. Life became an after-death concept.

My friend was always there to meet my needs. We shared the same bench.  But couldn’t share the lives ahead. She was ‘Polluted’. She taught me how to love but love ‘Killed’ her!

Sold out in markets, I saw someone’s daughter, someone’s sister, someone’s mother fighting for dignity. Society looked down upon her. Law denied her existence.

Stared upon by my fellow men, molested by her brethren, she was raped by her own countrymen. People protested. The flame flickered. And fire ‘Engulfed’ her.

Believed to be a ‘Responsibility’ and an ‘Entity’ worth protecting, the social structure threatened her. Reinforced by its people, the ‘Power Ideology’ degenerated her!

I do not ask for ‘Politics of Reservation’. But I challenge ‘Politics of Power’. Standing at a crossroads today with a burning desire in me, I refuse to submit to society and its norms. I refuse to submit to the ‘Ideology’ manifested in us through socialization.

I demand change. I challenge ‘the way’ we think. I challenge the status-quo.

I Demand ‘Empowerment.’

Sheetal is a Political Science(H ) student in her third year of graduation. An avid reader and photographer, she aims to join active politics. She has been organising events at her college level through discussion forums like The Symposium Society, known in the University for its Mock Indian Parliament simulations. She is also actively engaged in the National Service Scheme (NSS) of her college where she reads out to blind students. “Elevation of humanity through the smallest efforts” is what guides her day to day actions.


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