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“Deconstructing Old Dogmas & Empowering Women”

The change should start with you. In the words of Mother Teresa, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

By Sadaf Hameed
Published on :
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I am sure you must have heard the phrase “Ignorance is bliss” but was it bliss in the case of young Ayesha from Ahmedabad? No, it was not. Ignorance on the part of Ayesha’s husband and her in-laws was a cause of sorrow for her, the sorrow which was so intense that it led to her death.

Ignorance in the case of Ayesha and girls like Ayesha refers to the complete disregard for the rights of the women, disregard for the teachings of the religion, disregard for the marital vows, disregard for the love and feelings of the woman, and disregard for the respect she commands.

Sitting in our homes, we usually discuss that the tradition of the dowry should stop. Not acknowledging that the change should start from us. We have been watching movies and dramas (obviously inspired by real-life events) showing when a girl is born; her mother starts collecting things for her marriage; this is a direct way of affecting the perception of the people.

It’s not right to tell your daughters from their childhood that their parents’ home is not their real home and their real home is their husband’s home. Loving daughters unconditionally and immensely and then telling them that your home is not their home can create a tussle inside them. Tell your daughters that your home is also their home and it’s their first home and their husband’s home will also be their home and it is perfectly fine for a girl to come back to her parents’ home when she is not happy in her second home, give your daughters the confidence that they can feel that you as a parent have got their back. The old saying “Ab us ghar se tumhari arthi hi nikle” instil a sense of isolation, loneliness, fear which can lead to serious mental health issues in girls.

Instead of doing extravagant weddings and spending too much money on the marriage of our daughters, we should be using that money on the education of our daughters, so that when they grow up they have the power and privilege to choose their spouse.

We as human beings need acceptance. Acceptance in our personal lives and our professional lives.  In my opinion, there should be a limit to seeking acceptance; it should not come at the expense of mental and physical agony. Revolving ourselves around only one person despite feeling rejection from them, again and again, is not an intelligent thing to do but shifting focus on ourselves, learning a new skill, fulfilling hobbies, making new friends, going for walks, trying to learn something new can shift our attention from feelings of negativity and despair to being more complacent.

It is very important to dissociate oneself from society’s unilinear concept of success. The timelines for major events are already set by the society. For women and men there are different timelines of success. We usually measure our success and failure by society’s yardstick and fail to realize that the standards of a perfect life can be different for everyone. Divorce is still taboo in our society, it can give rise to feelings of despair and dejection, especially when people feel that they have failed to fulfill the standards of society and they completely disregard other blessings and bounties in their life.

Moving on also requires a lot of courage even when a girl feels that the situation is unmanageable and not reconcilable. The confidence to move on comes from within the individual, influenced by hope and trust that others around the girl can provide. As family members, we must help each other to overcome difficult situations, make a way out of difficult circumstances for our mothers, daughters and sisters, we must empower them!

Let’s empower our mothers, daughters, sisters, and friends by playing our part, by changing our mindset, and by appreciating what we have rather than getting discouraged by what we have lost.

The change should start with you. In the words of Mother Teresa, “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.”

Dr Sadaf Hameed is a health Psychologist based in New Delhi. She works on the affect of chronic diseases on mental health.


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