Enlightenment and Empowerment is what even a little kid is always aspiring for. Acknowledgement and appreciation of a kid for throwing a wrapper of his favorite lolly pop or chocolate in trash bin, to attaining good ranks in his exams boosts him further. Right applause at the right time to the deserving is very necessary and it works miraculous. As elders, parents, teachers or guides we must appreciate our pupils and younger ones for the positive efforts they put in into something constructive for themselves and their surroundings. The appreciations help them do better in their life and they end up as happy social beings.
Simultaneously, women also crave for the appreciation, applause, acknowledgement and empowerment. Being a supporter of gender equality I believe women not to be less potent for the family and the society. In turn they are equally talented and productive and shape up the modern societies. Women do not need to be felt pity upon, neither should they be considered weak. In today’s world women deserve equal rights and respect. Both men and women are distinct from each other, but none of the gender has a right to disrespect and abuse the other. Though, it is a fact that mostly women and kids are most vulnerable to violence and criminality. Women are robbed of the due respect in the shadow of patriarchy and male domination.
Being vocal is atoned as the only parameter to women empowerment, which is a mistaken and a mislead notion to a large society. Holding a stirring debate, speaking boldly and being self sufficient is only a part of real women empowerment. By empowerment we mean to be respected and considered equal humans as well. There are a lot of women who despite being vocal face lots of criticism, taunts and disrespect by the dominating gender. That is the absurdity and repercussion of narrow mindedness. The real empowerment lies in being disciplined and civilized to carry social, cultural and moral values and duties along while being successful.
In today’s society the debates around women is largely about rights and duties of a women being someone’s wife or daughter-in-law. The discussion about education and career prospects are missing. Equally missing is the sense of inclusion to build a just and robust society. This othering of the women in today’s society reeks of patriarchy and misogyny. The attitude of men in society is largely negative towards the overall idea of women empowerment. They can’t picture a strong women standing shoulder to shoulder next to them. They are oblivious to the fact that women empowerment is not new in our society, but culturally Kashmir was always an inclusive robust society where women had an equal role in day to day life.
Woman is considered to be a blessing for being dynamic and versatile for many reasons. On one end she is a true home maker and on the other end she is also a very competitive professional. From being excellent mothers to being doctors, teachers, engineers, writers, women have always contributed substantially to a modern society. It is the women of Kashmir who are the backbone of cultural ethos of the society. Modern yet conservative they have always maintained the fine balance between the two. Their parley of being modern doesn’t attribute to their embracing of the western culture but instead they are redefining modernity with traditional cultural sensitivity. They have not let the westernization take over our cultural, moral, social and religious values.
Women of Kashmir deserve all the respect and dignity for being the pillars of our cultural ethos. The real empowerment for women is to be recognized and respected for being the front runners in nation building. Concluding it little poetically…
Am I only a Muslim, See me wearing a pheran, I am a Kashmiri too.
Samavaar is our teapot, and kaanger is the heater,
Although we can talk in English, But English cant be our culture.
Woman over here are less privileged, for conflicts she was destined with.
Since the prelude of her birth, only miseries she has visualized.
Men are quite protective and possessive they are too,
Kids of this land know nothing, except being humble and kind.
But do not forget me I am a Kashmiri, be there any situation you can’t underestimate my hospitality.
Kashmir is unique for its culture, I a woman swear that I will not let it puncture.
(Refat Wani is Social worker and founder of NGO: Kashmir Servers Foundation. Email id: email@example.com)