According to Jawaharlal Nehru “You can tell the condition of a nation by looking at the status of its women”.
In a recent survey, polling 370 gender specialists found India to be the worst place to be a woman among G20 countries, considering policies that promote gender equality, safeguards against violence and exploitation and access to healthcare.
Results of this survey were published in leading newspapers in the world last month and just after one month our TV screens showed us why India is the worst country to be a woman and how woman are treated in India.
A video was aired on Indian TV channels showing a gang of 18 men molesting a young 16 year old girl on the busiest street of Guwathi city in north-east India. A young girl left a bar after celebrating the birthday of her friend was attacked by a gang of 18 men. They dragged her on the road by her hair, tried to rip off her clothes while smiling at the camera that filmed this incident. She was abused for 45 minutes but no one even tried to help her. They were busy in capturing the video of assault with their mobile phones but no one called the police when the girl was begging for help.
This is not the first time that a girl is treated like this on the roads of India. Just after one week of Guwathi incident, similar kind of incident happened in Sewri-Mumbai. Where a 23 year old girls was attacked, abused and slapped by two boys in broad day light.
In a similar kind of incident a girl committed suicide after teasing and harassment by a boy just few days after the Guwathi incident. In Osmanabad- India, a girl set herself at fire and committed suicide after persistent harassment by a 22-year-old boy.
On the New Year eve of 2012, 20-25 drunken boys attacked a woman on Mehrauli-Gurgaon Road and molested her.
In May 2010, a girl was molested and beaten up by a mob in bright day light in Patna Bihar. The girl was striped, humiliated and paraded in cycle rickshaw on the crowded roads of Patna. The crowd was watching the show of woman humiliation but no one helped her.
In Jan 2009, around 40 people reportedly barged into a pub on Balmatta Road in Manglore and viciously attacked girls who were at the pub. At least two girls had been hospitalized.
In 2009 a girl was filmed throwing stones at the Army Jawan of India who tried to molest her.
On New Year eve in 2007, a girl was attacked by a gang at Gateway of India. the girl was stripped and molested in the crowd.
Video not found? Click hereThere is no law in India against sexual assault or harassment. In case of molestation the culprit is charged under the cases of “insulting or outraging the modesty of a woman” or “intruding upon her privacy” and the punishment for these charges if proved is only 1 year maximum.
With population of 1.22 billion, India is the second most populous country in the world. 591.4 million population is female in India that is about 48.5% of total Indian population. According to UN Population Fund, India recorded 56,000 maternal deaths in 2010. According to International Center for Research on Woman, 44.5% girls in India get married before the age of 18. According to UNISEF, 52% of Indian women think that it’s justifiable for man to beat women.
Gulshan Rehman, health program development adviser, explained the conditions of woman in India more precisely. He said “In India, woman and girls continue to be sold as cattels, married off as young as 10, burned alive as a result of dowry-related disputes and young girls exploited and abused as domestic slave labor.”
The birth of a girl, according to a popular Hindu saying, is like the arrival of Lakshmi – the four-armed goddess of wealth, often depicted holding lotus flowers and an overflowing pot of gold.
But in reality being a girl in India is a continuous struggle against life. Her fight against life starts in the womb. “It’s a Girl” are the three deadliest words in India. India is among the top nations where girls are eliminated. In last three decades 12 million girls were aborted in India.
If by miracle or ignorance of the parents about the sex of the baby in the mother’s womb, a baby girl makes it to the world alive; she will be facing other life threatening dangers. Baby girls are killed or abandoned if not aborted as fetuses. Infant girls are killed through different methods. Girls are buried alive and they die because of suffocation. Some are strangled to death. In a trailer of documentary “It’s a girl”, most disturbing scene is one with an Indian woman who, unable to contain her laughter, confesses to having killed eight infant daughters.
Recently an incident was reported by NDTV, of a seven year old girl adopted by her uncle and aunt, who could not have children of their own. The adopted mother accused her father for raping the little girl. The man was arrested, but just after two days the mother stabbed the girl to death and tried to kill herself. She said it was difficult for her to take the pressure, after the family harassed her for going to the police. In another case a 3 year old daughter was raped by her father in Bangalore. In Delhi a 15 year old girl was raped and beaten by her father for 2 years.
If a girl in India makes it to the age of marriage, dowry is the problem she will be facing for marriage. Dowry is the money, goods, or estate that a woman brings to her husband in marriage. Many parents can’t pay the amount or can’t fulfill the demands of the groom’s family. Even the curse of dowry continues after marriage. According to National Crime Record Bureau, one bride was murdered every hour over dowry demands in 2010. Some are “stove burnings” where in-laws pour kerosene, the commonly-used cooking fuel of poorer homes; over women and set them alight, making it appear accidental.
After marriage, problems are even more worst for the woman. Just few days back a 20 year old married woman was tied to a tree, stripped, tortured, and head shaved by villagers on the orders of an Udaipur village caste panchayat “offended” by the “illicit” relationship.
In another report by The Indian Express, a mechanic has been arrested in Indore for keeping his wife’s genitals locked for four years. Sohanlal Chouhan, 38, drilled holes on the either sides of his wife’s genitals after drugging her, before going out for work every day, he would insert a small lock. The incident only came to light when the victim tried to commit suicide.
A country where female goddesses are worshiped, yet they fail to protect woman from such crimes. Brothers are supposed to protect sisters in rest of the world but in India, girls tie Raksha Bandhan or “safety ties” around their brother’s wrists as a symbol of their duty to protect them. Rightly said by Jawaharlal Nehru “You can tell the condition of a nation by looking at the status of its women”.