Empower women is not intended as a book in the ordinary sense .it is rather a measured response to a grave situation in our society today. The increasing practice of sex –selection by killing female infants in the womb is a manifestation of a fundamental flaw in our perception and treatment of women. It is also a manifestation of our blindness to the spiritual foundation and fundamental law of life the law of karma of cause and effect.
The book provokes us to think to bring our actions in tune with the spiritual and moral obligations we have as members of society .to do this we need to change our attitudes drastically. The authors have tried to give facts and figures interspersed with real life stories and experiences to impress upon us the need for this change in attitude
. The book looks at the role of women in the grand scheme of life and how the present situation is an outcome of centuries of misguided thinking that women are inferior to men. it is equally the outcome of our failure to take responsibility for what we do. So while the phenomenon of sex selection and female foeticide is recognized in present day India as wrong unlawful immoral sinful and nationally unacceptable no one is ready to take responsibility for the unfolding crisis .it is easy to blame others so that in the end no one its course . as you sow so you read this world is a field of karmas .if we sow seeds of violence we shall suffer. Responsibility is apportioned by the law of karmic accountability and in the context of sex selection and the ongoing suffering of women we are all responsible.
Traditional patriarchal practices in India have given us a male dominated society where it is the man perceptions and mindset which lay the foundation of our social order. if a man projects a woman in role of mother or sister she is elevated respected and even worshipped. If he sees her with lustful eyes and his lust produces consequences she is branded by society as the temptress while not an iota of blame goes to him. This male dominated projection of life has to change for it distorts reality and an awakening is needed so life is seen for what it is. Since in our society power lies mostly with men the onus of change too lies first and foremost with men.
The situation with regard to sex selection is going from bad to worse. Drastic measures and an immediate response are called for if we want a better world for our future generations. For the right response we need to understand and tackle not just the phenomenon sex selection but the root causes the inequality of women in our society. Empower women does not propose going from one extreme to another by advocating the domination of women over men. Rather it envisages a new and better world that comes from true equality between the sexes and from a healthy where men and women respect the strengths of each other and are tolerant of each other weaknesses. By changing our attitudes towards women each one of us can play a part in uprooting this social and spiritual evil from our lives and our society. The choice is ours.
This slender book is a call to action. It urges us to take a realistic look at the choices and contradictions that are shaping our present day society and the terrible suffering endured by women.
On one hand ours is considered to be a very spiritual nation. Here we will find a temple mosque gurudwara or church at every street corner. Here we will find the greatest concentration of vegetarians in the world. This is the country that gained its independence through non violent means and exported the concept abroad. We have deep rooted spiritual traditions which go back centuries.
On the other hand we live in a society where women are treated very poorly. Girls are so unwanted that many millions are aborted in the womb or killed right after birth. After they are born they struggle through a childhood in which they are second class citizens. Young girls are deprived of the same nutrition education and opportunities their brother receive many are married off in their early teens and to get girls married parents have to pay the in laws a dowry which is often far beyond their means. As a result girls are considered to be an unbearable burden . most women are financially dependent and socially conditioned from childhood to consider themselves inferior . Many are physically and emotionally abused.
On the one hand we worship women we go to a temple and pray to the goddesses laxmi saraswati and durga Mata we revere motherhood to the extent that we call the planet we live on mother earth and our nation our motherland . yet we think nothing of eliminating a child life just because she is a girl . Can a spiritual nation treat half its population with such callousness ? we read in our scriptures that all are equal that our sons and withhold that love from our daughters.
Do we not see the contradictions in our actions? Empowering women is a subject with a vary board scope without a doubt government and non government organizations have done a lot to improve women education health nutrition and safety and will continue to work tirelessly in this area. this systemic response to the broad issue of women empowerment is not the focus of the book empower women focuses instead on a very different and crucial point that true societal change begins with the individual . as the crisis caused by sex selection unfolds us what is our understanding of the issue and what is our individual response ? we as individuals matter because individuals make families and families are the fundamental building blocks of society.
Proposing an awakening the book calls for clear thinking and compassion saying that both these qualities are intrinsic to who we really are. India beloved poet Rabindranath Tagore tells us that our country is not a chunk of earth it is a saga of consciousness. We are all part of this collective consciousness we are all intricately intertwined and connected to one another. The choices we make shape both our lives and the world we pass on to our children.
Empower women urges us to look deep into our conscience and judge whether our treatment of women is morally or spiritually acceptable. it suggests that far from being a burden women are among creations most precious treasures and urges us to empower them.
|1||Valling the women in our lives|
|Her role in society||5|
|Her role in the economy||6|
|Her role in the family||8|
|Her unique feminine qualities||11|
|2||Her current condion|
|A snapshot of inequality||13|
|Son - preference||19|
|3||The consequences of our actions|
|Impact on women||28|
|Impact on children||30|
|Impact on men||30|
|Increased crime in society||30|
|Increased social instability and unrest||32|
|4||What choices are we making?|
|As a society?||33|
|As a family?||35|
|5||The spiritlial perspective|
|Upsetting the balance in nature||38|
|Aligning our actions with our goals||39|
|The essential equality of women||40|
|Taking a life||40|
|Hurting another human being||42|
|Putting limits on our wants||42|
|The consequences of our actions||44|
|Living in the will of the Lord||46|
|Our essential divinity||47|
|6||Old tradition can be broken|
|Why do women hurt women?||49|
|Who is responsible for this crisis?||52|
|What is the solution?||54|
|changing women attitude towards themselves||55|
|changing men attitude towards women||56|
|Becoming catalysts of change||57|
|Wake up my friend||75|
|A final note: murder on a mass scale|
|1||The Scale of the Crisis||77|
|2||Implementing the lew of the land||83|
|3||The Reality on the Ground -A Cry for Help||88|
|Gift of life||93|
|Soureces and referenes||97|
|Book and authors cited||99|