Sunday, March 8, 2009

What women wear

The obsession with women's dress amongst the guardians of our social culture should be viewed from the perspective of the human right of equality. Under what obligation is the woman expected to adhere to the 'Indian dress' when men have opted for the more comfortable shirt and pant of the west a century back, completely eludes me. Recently a lady who was debarred from entering into the Christ college campus because she was in jeans and sleeveless T, was accused of making a mountain out of a mole hill. I agree clubs have a dress code and so do other institutions but the dress code specifies dresses for men as well as women and everyone is informed beforehand. A club and other such organizations deal with small groups of people, if somebody from outside has come to run an errand in the club then he/she is not expected to be dressed in the dress code. Therefore the lady is perfectly right in pointing this out- she is not a student neither is she a part of the college so her dress does not come in the perview of the authorities there. The right to equality is granted under Article 14 of the Constitution. Discrimination on the ground of sex ( amongst other things) is prohibited under Article 15. Our Constitution is based upon the principles of justice, liberty and equality and is committed toi the preservation of the dignity of the individual. All these lofty principles some defendable in a court of law are blatantly violated and no case is filed on the ground of violation of a Constitutional right. We keep refering to our ancient culture where women are venerated and worshiped and divine goddess, but that arguement does not stand in this day and age. The lofty religio-cultural ideals will for ever bind women to the definition of womanhood within that religio-cultural paradigm. Thus a woman in jeans cannot be venerated as a goddess, only the sari clad woman can evince such emotion-leaving all others who do not conform to that description open to attack. Justice can be brought about only by invoking the Constitutional rights which apply to all women equally irrespective of caste, class, religion, culture and any manner of dress.

Friday, March 6, 2009

The Fundamentals of the Matter

The women of India as citizens of this country received, under its constitution certain inalienable rights. These are the rights of equality, liberty and non-discrimination as well as positive discrimination acknowledging their de facto subordinate status in society. However these rights have been consistently violated by the citizens of this country to keep women in their subordiante position in the name of religious purity, preservation of culture and the upkeep of family honour. There is a common contention among thinkers that it is impossible to bracket Indian women together as the problem of women differ by social strata, religion and region. Can the Indian woman never be united? I hold that they can, and the legal document that unites all Indian women is the Constitution therefore the provisions of the Constitution must be understood by and known to all Indian women and their position and complaints should be addressed keeping in mind this supposed fountainhead of all laws in our country. But do all the laws in our country, all its customs and traditions conform to the Constitution- the answer is in the negative specially in the case of the Indian women. The difference in their expeiences are but superficial, all women whatever their social strata, their religion or their place of origin face the same kind of discrimination. so used are women to this kind of violation of their fundamental rights that they are unable to assert their rights. The Constitution of India, specially the section on Fundamental rights should be taught in detail to all indians no matter what stream of study they choose. The BJP government in karnataka is busy proposing the alteration of the History books so that a more Indian perspective is presented to the students. The sinister attempts at politicians to impose their social ideology on the people of India would be put to rest when the people are made aware of their Constitutional rights. All men and women in india are equal in the eyes of law- however women are unequal right from the time of their birth. This inequality is enforced throughout her life. In this blog I will attempt to measure the predicament of Indian women to the ideals that are put forward by the Constitution. I am sure that awareness of the Fundamental Rights can be enhanced by this discussion.