Monthly Archives: March 2011

Women and Education

Happened to read this horrifying piece of news in newspaper currently –
“A Joint family staying in Mumbai killed 2 innocent children, aged 5 and 7, in the house. This is because they all suspected that the children carried evil spirit in them. Apparently one of the ladies had implanted this very thought in parents’ mind that the children embodied evil spirit and it was best to sacrifice them to the God”
Let’s leave apart the heinous act, the superstition issue and everything else. Let’s come down to a basic problem here – of no education to women. As soon as I finished reading the piece, a single question crossed my mind – what if the woman who led the act was educated enough? The family hails from a small town in Rajasthan. It moved to Mumbai to make a living – the reason enough for me to believe that the women in the family were definitely not educated. I disregard the possibility of the woman being envious of the mother and hence wanted to kill the children. If that was the case, she could have done that herself. Or maybe I’m wrong and she really wanted to get the kids out of the way and like a typical K-serial, she drafted a plot, a conspiracy to get the children killed by their parents. I would still want to stop my CID and come down to the very basic problem – what if the woman was really educated enough? Educated enough to be aware that there are much better issues to be dealt with than really believe that the evil spirits do exist. Educated enough to be aware that the world has anyway become a difficult place to live and every day, one needs to fight through many odds. The life is too short to start paying attention to things like evils.
Women, with all the dignity and integrity they carry, can be very powerful to solve problems that really affect our lives and not create problems n shatter others’ lives. And we have seen this happening in the past. We need Sabrina Lall’s, Medha Patkar’s, Mother Teresa’s in the world. Educated women can really be the epicenters of the quantum change that can bless nations and generations. Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru was not wrong when he said, “If you educate a man, you educate one person. But if you educate a woman, you educate an entire family” I fully agree to this! Of course, there’s a lot of awareness now in Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities of India. But I come from a small town and that too, from a conservative society. I know how restricted views people have when it comes to education of women.
A few counter-argue when it comes to Women-education, saying it’s of no use and after the marriage, kids and kitchen are the only destinations in a woman’s life. While I don’t discard their thought process fully, I have heard from my aunt of a very wise angle to this. She says, “Sure I want to educate my daughter, even though I foresee only kids and kitchen as her destinations after marriage. But if tomorrow, God Forbid, she would have to live a separate life or a life without the husband, she can be on her own at least. Her education would come to the rescue then.” Nice!
Of course one can now start talking about basic rights of women, freedom, equality, etc. and how education is important to women. But not everyone can have a basic level of understanding to accept these values. That’s why I think the aunt’s answer was a solid counter argument to the counter argument behind no education to women. It’s fairly practical, if not ideal. Amen!
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