- Manisha Malhotra.
So, I discovered women empowerment. Yeah. For real!
No. I didn’t find it in a classy NGO where a FabIndia clad lady is smoothly running an adoption centre for children or an oldage home. No. It was our household help.
Who said that women in India need to be empowered? Hell! We are already empowered!
Leave it to the classic Indian woman to take care of the entire household if and when need arises. Our women are unstoppable. They can do just about anything when they set their minds to it. If people think that Indian women were born to sit at home and cook or stay in the kitchen. They are terribly wrong. In fact, we never even realize some of the strongest women that are around us.
I heard a touching story the other day. The woman who comes to my house every day and helps my mother with the household chores has been around for more than ten years. I’ve been watching her come home with a smile and wash, clean and scrub the house with perfection. She hardly gets sick and doesn’t take too many off days. I have been to her place for a festival and she was delightful! She treated us very well and I met her kids who were playing around. She’s got three sons, the eldest being in college. All her kids perform very well in school in addition to their mother being literate. In fact, she has even helped my brother study for his Assamese exams.
But while doing all this, I never knew that she has been a single mother for all these years! Her husband never really stayed at home and barely gave her money. She worked hard by going to at least two to three houses for such work and earned enough money to send her children to school and college. She even takes care of her sick mother and supplies her with all the required medicine whenever required while her brother takes money from her.
A while back, her husband stopped sending money to her, whatever little he used to give, he withdrew. But, she was undeterred. She didn’t ask for a raise but kept working with the same smile and joyous face every day while facing this.
She arranges for everything on her own. Food, clothes, cooking gas, travel money, school fee expenditure and what not.
When I heard this story from my grandmother, my respect for her was heightened. I always called her Didi, but on that day, I felt that this word wasn’t enough. She deserves more respect.
We see so many people shouting about women empowerment these days and talking about the “upliftment of the society” and giving an equal status to the woman. I ask all of you, for women like these, is there an equal status? They deserve much more than some “elite position in the society”.
I keep hearing this from most people around me, “No no yaar. Women in India are still lagging behind. It will be very difficult to implement the concept of women empowerment here.”
Open your eyes. Women have always been empowered. They don’t need to “be given some equal status”. They always had it but this society wasn’t ready to give it to them.