-Pratiksha Rajopadhyaya [Youth wing member]
There’s a girl who is living her life happily, enjoying to the fullest, with her family and friends, unknown of what life has to offer, excited about tomorrow. “You’ll get married someday and you will have a new home , a new family”, says her mother. “Your husband will protect you from all the problems in life like I do”, says her father. She is brought up with the hope of finding a ‘perfect guy ‘ , with the hope of starting her own family, with the hope that someone will accept her and shower her with all the happiness in the world. She’s happy and optimistic about her life.
One fine day, her parents decide to get her married. ‘It’s her age’ , they say! They look for a perfect match for their daughter. After going through many proposals for marriage they finally find one perfect guy, perfect for their daughter. The girl meets the boy, they talk, they get to know each other, they like each other and they are both ready to get married to each other. The preparations begin, her mother is happy, and also a bit heavy hearted that her daughter is going to another house. She thinks to herself, “She will not be in her room when I go to wake her up tomorrow. Who will sleep on my lap after that? Who will I scold? Who will I talk to when I am alone?”. Her father is busy with the preparations of the wedding ceremony, hiding his tears through his work, thinking to himself that his little princess is no longer going to scold him when he comes home late, she will not ask him for money anymore. The girl is happy and excited. Excited about starting a new phase of life. Excited about living her life with a partner. A partner who will love her, respect her and support her through all the heaps and bounds. She shares her excitement with her friends and they too are happy for her.
She gets married and her Utopian fairy-tale becomes a reality. Her in-laws are nice and loving, her husband loves her very much, She felt like all her dreams are coming true. Her life is colorful, like her attire, – bright and colorful. She’s in love with her life. She is happy. Her wardrobe is filled with colorful clothes- red, green, yellow : bright colours,cheerful colours. It seems like nothing can go wrong.
One day, her husband died. What’s the reason? – They blamed her, they said that it’s her bad luck that caused his death.
The girl was amazed , feeling guilty somehow, asking a question to herself, “How?” . How did she become the reason behind her beloved husband’s death? The question remained unanswered. However, she was punished, a punishment for life.
Her colorful dresses were thrown away and she was forced to wear white, – a dull and sad white. She was cursed by her in-laws, she was called an evil person. Her dreams were crushed, she fell from sky to ground, she fell hard. She was broken and unable to understand why she was being punished. What was her fault? She loved him with all her heart, she lost him. Wasn’t she supposed to be supported through her pain? Why did a hug or love become so expensive in the moment when she needed them the most? Why was she left alone? What was her fault?
Let’s try brainstorming here, so what was her fault? Was it that she loved someone who had a small lifespan ? Was it that she took care of her husband and showered him with all the love in the world but he died? Here’s the answer – it was not her fault. People die. It’s natural. But why did the society blame her and took away all her happiness? The society took away all the colours from her life and left her alone to live in a sad and lonely world. ‘Society’ , means a group of people living together and supporting each other through thick and thin. Have we been implementing this meaning in reality? Let’s think about it.. Have we? Why do we punish innocent women for something that’s not their fault? Why such an injustice? If society ever actually implied to it’s actual meaning, the world would be different, – a single woman would not be facing the problems she is facing today. So, why do we always step back from creating such a society?
We live in a patriarchal society, where women have been dominated by men for centuries. Our deep rooted and highly followed, social norms are also biased and women are dominated on its basis. There are rules and regulations stated in our social values which says that single women should wear white clothes. Why? -because women are meant to lead a mournful life. Men don’t wear white after the death of their wives, neither are they disregarded by the society because they are not dominated or discriminated. The law of the country does not say anything as such. But it is followed with blindfolds in our eyes because it is our traditional values. The rules are imposed on women as if they have committed some kind of crime, and the punishment given to them is worse than given to criminals. They don’t deserve it. They deserve better. They deserve to make their own decisions and live with dignity. They deserve to be considered equals. There should be no discrimination on the basis of marital status. Marriage and relationships do not define women’s identity. She isn’t just someone’s wife or widow or daughter or mother, she is a human with her own identity and she has the right to freedom.
Copyright : Nabin Shrestha (Photographer)
Women for Human Rights, single women group (WHR)