New Delhi, March 8: The situation always perplexed me for the reason why a damn Women’s Day must be celebrated and it really turned me off when people talked feminism in college a few years back. I still remember my conversation with a good friend outside Lady Shri Ram College that Men should not be feminists. I do not know how should I put it. Was I brought up in a society which normalised violence in me, I believe I may have been. I did not understand its logic. I had my own shares of stories with women who were not at all educated enough to understand what feminism is.
Let me tell you a story. I was brought up in the slums of Lutyen’s Delhi. Yes, you heard it right. The slums behind the Hyderabad House. When Britishers made Delhi their capital, they allotted lands to presidencies close to the Empire. That’s why one can find Hyderabad House, Baroda House and Patiala House on the corners of India Gate. The huge structures unsuccessfully hid the wretchedness of our lives. My migrant father found the locality suitable enough to raise his children. Sooner, I became aware of my locality. Rather, I was introduced to the evolving world of violence against women.
Magru Aunty used to live near my home. She was an ordinary woman. Nothing appealed to me about her besides the fact that her son Sonu was a friend of mine. We were both students at a school in Pataudi House run by Municipal Council. Sooner, Magru Aunty became my mother’s friend. Both used to share their afternoons with candid conversations. She did not know how to count notes and my mother’s ability to do so brought the two closer. Sooner, the candid conversations were replaced with tales of domestic violence. My mother could only console the sobbing Magru Aunty. Her husband, a drunkard, used to white wash people’s homes. His daily habit of drinking alcohol sooner wiped out the household’s savings. The situation turned worse when he became violent and abusive with her. We were too young to understand the situation. All I knew was that her children were too subject to violence.
I and Sonu were too occupied with our fun till the day Magru aunty visited my home again. She said to my mother, “Di I cannot tolerate any further. Please give me some poison.” It stunned us. My mother refused to give her any such substance. After few days, we were woken up by my neighbours in midst of the night. He said,”Magru’s wife set her entire family ablaze.” All I could see was my friend’s body along with four brothers and sisters roasted. The incident still haunts me. Who killed Magru Aunty? Was it the destitution? May be. But I know for sure that it was violence which compelled her to set ablaze her family and children. It was the patriarchal arrogance of a drunkard which killed this beautiful lady and her dreams too! It was indeed a murder!
We are celebrating International Women’s Day. Mind you, ‘we’, include all fairness creams. The day will also see many important events where champions of women’s rights will be furthering their struggles. But Magru Aunty still awaits an answer – Will the tyranny end? My feminist man says, “Sure aunty, it will!”