We are a country where girl child is worshipped every Navratri. And so are innumerable Goddesses in various avatars worshipped as the harbinger of wealth and knowledge, as the protector of natural calamities or epidemics, or as a benevolent mother who protects all; but the real stories are scary, heart breaking. As an Adi-Shakti, she epitomises the essence of Shakti herself, she represents consciousness, and she is the symbolism of Prakriti. She is Ardhnari without whom the male is void. But as the girl becomes a woman she is not granted her independence to choose her way of life, it is mandated by the family or society at large. What is the point of celebrations such as these?
Today and tomorrow, in almost all Hindu households girl child is worshipped as Kanjak. An even bigger irony is that these very households curb the independent thinking, behaviour and movement of these girls as they grow into women. As a daughter, sister, wife and then mother, the society shackles them in the disguise of tradition and security. And by those very men who worship Parvati, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Durga, Annapurna, Kali and many other avatars as deity.
In a country, where constitution gave voting rights to women and the right to be treated equally years before many other countries, their fate still gets decided by men in their families. How many families celebrate the birth of girl child even today? While some women do get to break through the glass ceilings in their chosen profession, a very big percentage still struggle to go through their daily lives hoping for a harassed free day.
Are women only to be used as tools of recreation and procreation? Is our only duty is to manage household, children and sometimes contribute to family fund? It is disheartening to open the newspaper in the morning and read of daily stories of torture. I have heard of similar such stories in my own home as well.
We do not ask to be worshipped. All we ask is to be treated as independent human beings – can women/ girl-child of this country have the freedom and liberation from age-old notions of women hood? Can we freely roam around in our own country at any time of day? Can we fall in love and marry the person we want to? Can we freely speak our own mind without any inhibitions? Can we eat, drink or smoke without being labelled as something? Can we wear clothes we look good in, are comfortable in and not get stereotyped into some category?
Will we every see a day in this country when women make these choices independently – that will be the day when kanjak-pooja or the worship of girl child would be truly celebrated.