With every passing day, some bizarre news comes our way and makes us want to scream 'What? Why?!' Today, this news comes from a village in UP. Mathura's Madora village panchayat has passed a decision to impose a fine of Rs 21,000 on girls who are found talking on the phone while walking on the street.
Rub your eyes all you want but this is the truth. This decision has been taken to reduce the rate of crime against women and cases of elopement. Setting aside the absolute disconnection between the crimes against women, elopement cases and talking on mobile phones, we wonder why such decisions are imposed only on women.
How come a man is allowed to talk on the phone but when a woman does that, it's a direct threat to her security. It's equivalent to saying the length of our clothes are the reason we are subject to heinous crimes like rape. Not the lack of education, the vicious patriarchal nexus - no, it's our clothes. Our fault.
On one hand, we take a step ahead with women speaking up against the entitlement of men with campaigns like #MeToo, and on the other hand, we go five steps behind by telling women to not talk on the phone! This decision and the large imposed fine is a direct attack on women everywhere. As 2017 comes to a close, a bittersweet feeling engulfs me as I wonder how long until women are actually seen as the equals that we are.
As an educated woman who is aware of her right to life, this comes as a shock to me. But I am only a minority amongst many others for whom this decision is an everyday routine. Being told what to do and what not to do is something a lot of us women have grown up with and just the idea of pushing back is unimaginable. So I urge you all, woman to woman, to not take this standing down. This and every other immature attempt to put women 'in their right place'.
Stand up. Stand up and speak. Stand up and shout. Tell them we won't wear what you want us to wear, we won't eat what you prefer, we won't not talk on the phone in the street. If men can do it, so will we. It's not going to be easy, but I assure you it will be worth it.