I am writing this to you during very disturbing times. By the time you read and truly understand the importance of what I am writing today, you will be a strapping young boy too old perhaps to spare time for some crucial lessons. Today, a week away from your 10th month birthday I begin your life’s instructions by giving you your first lesson. The first lesson of your entire lifetime, and one that will perhaps be the most significant in your future.
God made you a male. A gender that we in India traditionally believe and until now preach is the superior one. I tell you today, men and women are equal. God created them equal and never in your life must you disrespect a woman. By the time you read this you would perhaps have seen young girls and women who are different from your mother. Your mother as she writes has given up her career because she felt discriminated against. Discriminated because she had a baby…you. Today, far from pitying her state of affairs you know she is successful. Though I must admit that at the time of writing this she has no idea which path her career will take, but then, what the hell. You will know the story from here to your future, right?
Women are different from men. As an adolescent no one would know it more than you. But what you must know is that a woman though she may seem weak and fragile she is as a strong as a man in every other way. She will be beaten down, she may lose a battle, carry her scar, but she will rise again and fight the odds. What I tell you today is not that, you have seen that in every woman in your life…but what I teach you today is that you must never be the one to hurt a woman. Don’t disrespect a woman, never outrage her modesty, don’t assume that as a man you have the moral right to insult her dignity and right in society.
I grew up different from my mother. Our struggles have been different. She had to fight her family to complete her studies. I fought the world to make a career. Your girlfriend or your sister, if there ever is one will again be different. She will have struggles of her own, but what I wish is that she should never have struggles. I imagine a world where a woman is not trudged upon. I imagine a world where women are free to make choices of their own and a world where her choices are respected. I imagine a world where no man assumes that he has the right to punish her. I imagine a world where a woman is never hurt, humiliated, insulted, molested or raped. I imagine a world where ‘Women’s Rights’ is not a fancy term on placards. I imagine a world where ALL men truly respect and honour women as equal citizens. I am sad to tell you that today young girls are raped and murdered, teenagers are molested by a mob of thirty men, that a policeman rapes a young girl who goes complaining for eve-teasing, that a woman is punished for wearing short clothes by being abducting and being raped inside a car. I am sad that I can do precious little that write such disillusioned posts to you, my ten month old. But really, today when I see such atrocities on women, I don’t say “Thank God! I don’t have a girl,” I say, “Oh! God I have a son…what kind of a boy and a man will he grow up to be?”
I have only you to teach, dear V. I can only hope you grow up to be a better man than what we see in society today. You are the future, my son…remember you will be responsible for the world you live in. I will be gone someday, but remember this lesson all your life.
With lots of love and a fearful heart,