Men and women are equal. This is what we hear everywhere nowadays. However, a strange suspicion keeps bothering me. Is it really true? Are we really equal?
There are stark proofs against this notion in most of the places I go to. My school is an all-girls Catholic school run by nuns. The teachers and the sisters in school are always emphasizing on how there is no difference in a boy and a girl, and how girls can do everything that boys can. But whenever anything serious has to be done, like signing a report card or writing an absent note, it is mandatory that the father does it.
If men and women were really equals, then why are there special seats kept aside for women in trains and buses? I am hardly someone very well versed in politics, but even with what little ideas I have, it has often been a wonder to me that special seats have to be reserved for women in the parliament. If there was equality between men and women, then I’m sure women would not need special bills to take their seats in the political Houses.
Coming back to much more regular household matters, we see so few women drivers. Women usually need their fathers, boyfriends or husbands to take them to wherever they need to go, but we hardly ever see a man waiting for his girl to take him anywhere. Whenever I go to the market in this town, I find that the overwhelming majority there are men, doing the shopping. Of course, it might be that some of them are loving husbands helping their wives in running the household, but surely not all of them?
Even the movies we watch propagate this sense of inequality. Most Hindi movies have a very common storyline. Somewhere in the middle, the heroine gets into trouble, and her lover comes running to rescue her. He is the one who does the brainwork or the fighting, whichever is required, while she just gazes wide-eyed or emits tiny squeaks like a cornered rat. Now I am not a cinema buff, but most of the Bollywood movies I have watched follow this pattern. In fact I can think of only one or two movies in which the heroine behaves like anything better than a money plant growing on her lover’s shoulders. Ironically, these movies are old ones, those of Hema Malini and Rekha. Equality was not preached so loudly in those days as it is now, but things seemed to have been better then.
On a related note, girls seem to have made out a very twisted version of equality for themselves. Many girls I know love using swear words. When I tell them not to, their invariable reply is that, “When boys can do it, why can’t we?” According to these girls, it is their right to copy all the bad habits of the boys. The good things about boys can be left aside. They are too difficult to be copied, and would mean leaving behind much of the feminine crookedness and meanness.
In my opinion equality, while it is certainly a birthright of every citizen, should be used with much care, and never bent and remade to suit one’s own selfish wants. A nation where every citizen is considered basically equal regardless of their caste, creed or economic status outstrips all other nations in terms of progress.