Recently, USA legalized marriage equality across 37 of its states and Washington DC. Speaking from the White House after calling one of the plaintiffs, Barack Obama said the decision would “end the patchwork system we currently have”. “This ruling is a victory for America,” the president said. “This decision affirms what millions of Americans already believe in their hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal, we are all more free.” Rainbow based Display Pictures started trending in social medias immediately after this.
Along the same time, back in India, inspired by a contest run by a Haryana Sarpanch Sunil Jaglan ‘selfie with daughter‘ PM Narendra Modi started the nationwide contest during his radio program Mann ki Baat. The hashtag #SelfieWithDaughter started trending from Sunday after Prime Minister Narendra Modi asked people to post their photos during his radio address Mann ki Baat. He also appreciated the sarpanch on his show.
Both the news happened almost at the same time and gave rise to almost the same message on a global front – Right to Live the way you are. Although these are just two of the many issues on the same lines, LGBT Rights and Curbing of Female Infanticide has given freedom to a very large number of people across the world.
Although we proclaim to anyone who listens to us that we are actually free as a bird and have all the rights in the world, it cannot be farther from truth. Our very existence requires permission from someone else. Right from the time of birth, whether the baby will be allowed to be born or not depends on the gender / health of the child. Having a girl child or a handicapped child is considered a burden so it is much better to kill the fetus than go through all the trouble later. If the baby is lucky enough to live through the birth, then that is only the first level crossed. The list of discrimination is there at every step of life, for both men and women.
The fact remains that Freedom of Choice is only ever there, if at all, on paper alone. It is almost never practiced. Be it what you wear, where you study, what you study, who your friends should be, where you should live, who you should live with, who should you fall in love, even something as small as whether you should be right-handed person or left-handed person – the choice of all this and more almost always rests with someone other than yourself.
But now times are changing. People are able to look at the other side – the hidden side – of the picture and judge for themselves on what is being missed out. With USA legalizing marriage equality and our PM supporting “Save the Girl Child” movement with examples (Woman officer leads guard of honour for Obama at Rashtrapati Bhavan), things are slowly changing. Women are given the opportunity to scale corporate or any professional heights. Men are happily accepting the roles of House-Husbands. Not only sons, but now daughters are also looking after the family (Bollywood proudly showing the concept in the movie Piku).
Now Mother’s name can also be put up instead of Father’s name on legal documents. Women can choose to not change names, or even surnames after marriage. There is also a choice to use Father’s name instead of Husbands Name on documents (Reference). Social Initiative like MARD and “Teach boys not to make others cry” are working strongly towards ensuring safety of women by educating men and not by putting restriction on women. Disparity among men and women are decreasing by the day.
Till some time back, the concept of love marriage was a taboo to such an extent that those who dared to love were even killed by the families. Marriage used to be a dreaded event with concepts like dowry, women oppression and so on. Today, love marriages are at par, if not higher than, arranged marriages. Brides’ family is not looked down upon and taken advantage of. The life of women after marriage also has improved so much over the years. It will definitely take some time for LGBT Rights to get legalized, but the process of acceptance has started in our society. Now, “coming out of the closet” is much easier than what it was a few years back. Of course there are still some people like Senior BJP leader Subramanian Swamy who says “Homosexual people are handicapped” but then there are also people who say “Chowmein causes rape“. So that cannot be avoided.
Yes, a few years back, although we were a free country, we were not free from the restrictions of our own thoughts. Now, with the change in time, our thoughts are changing, our views are changing. India is becoming at par with the global culture in terms of freedom. “Freedom of Choice” is no longer only on paper. It is becoming a reality now, in so many terms. Although there are still so many aspects which needs to be changed, our current growth is in the right direction. Today it is easier to be the way you are than before. It is easier to choose the way you want to live your life. Society is slowly becoming more understanding and tolerant towards their own. Now it is only a matter of time when the phrase “4 log kya bolenge” will get extinct.