It has been six decades of independence in India; 67 years since the country took its first proud steps as a free nation. Stories of independent India; the freedom struggle, freedom fighters and leaders, the history, has been passed down from generation to generation.
According to India’s constitution, women are legal citizens of the country and have equal rights to men (India Parliament). But because of a lack of acceptance from the predominantly male dominant society, Indian women suffer immensely.
As Mother India celebrates 67 years of freedom, where is the independence for India’s mothers, sisters, wives, and daughters? Due to realities of torturing, raping, kidnapping, sexual harassment and discrimination, woman are not free to live in India.
All women deserve to live, work, and travel without fear. If it’s unsafe for women to travel to India and if Indian women are not safe in their own country is there any point in celebrating 67 years of Indian Independence?
Last December, a 23-year-old Indian woman was gang-raped on a bus that was being driven through New Delhi. She died from her injuries two weeks later. The case sparked mass protests and calls for tougher action to combat sex crimes against women.
In March, a 39-year-old Swiss woman was gang-raped as she camped in a remote forest in central India with her boyfriend. That same month, a 31-year-old British woman was forced to leap from a second-floor hotel balcony to escape an attacker in the city of Agra.
The Indian people have taken to the streets several times this year, protesting about the safety of women in a country where a rape is carried out every 20 minutes. The recent abduction and rape of a five year old child horrified the whole world.
Rape violates Articles 1 and 5 of the Universal Declaration. Article 1 implies that all humans should be treated equally and with dignity, however as rape is used to humiliate sex as well as dominate individuals there is no evidence of dignified treatment. Being born in equal dignity implies that every human is treated with such dignity. Yet rape is not dignified treatment and hence the basic right of a human is violated.
India is not good place to be a woman. There is strong need for all individuals, Government Organization, NGO’s and United Nations to fight for and protect the rights of woman and children in India before we celebrate their so-called independence.
Jacqueline is currently upgrading her skills in human rights reporting in Dar es Salaam. Her goal is become an international journalist, focusing on anti-gender violence.