It goes without saying that women are being recognized for their outstanding achievements in all walks of life but there is a flip side too. Beauty and appearance for which she has been admired since ages, has now become a cause for her inconvenience, trouble and insecurity. I witnessed a similar sentiment during my recent visit to Lucknow where I happened to drop in “Sheroes Hangout”, one of its kind café run and managed by acid attack survivors. These women have fought to survive and stand tall after encountering a debilitating blow not only to their appearance but self-esteem too. These women, I feel are the true heroes who have shown an incredible bravery to live and compel the society to reconsider its norms about beauty.
It is an irony that a land where it has been an intrinsic part of our culture to recognize and worship feminine power to evoke the strength to win the battle of good over evil, a land where gender harmony has always been a ritual, a land here people idealize “Ardnareshwar” form of Lord Shiva commemorating coexistence & union of male and female deity, is now witnessing heinous crimes against women sometimes in the name of domestic violence, to that of revenge, gender discrimination and exploitation.
I was truly flabbergasted by seeing the courageous acid attacks survivors who come from different backgrounds. Some of them were so unprivileged who have never been to a restaurant, I saw with awe, how well they were managing the entire operations of that eating joint. From cooking to cleaning to purchase of raw material, everything is being so smartly managed by a handful of these steely determined ladies.
More so, not at all shy of their appearances; they even oblized willingly to click a selfie with me. This was such a strong positive inspiration proving that beauty is actually skin-deep, the way you feel about yourself. The trick is to believe in oneself. The will to fight against all odds and stand like a rock by every decision. Physical handicap can never stop a woman from pushing beyond her limits, the moment she accepts this reality of life then all that is needed is a mindset shift to get past the pain and fear.
There were many questions which left me more distressed like where are we heading. Are we evolving as human beings or are we further losing our values? Should we really call ourselves civilized?. I am not sure when things are going to change but I do believe that how tough it is when the world’s eyes are on you but you can choose whether to allow that gaze to wither you or help you shine brighter.
Let’s take some positive inspiration from these “Sheroes” and seek collective resolution and commitment to create a more positive , supporting, safe and enabling environment for women.
HAPPY WOMEN’S DAY
Rewa Sambal Sinha
She has taught at S.S. Khanna Girls Degree College, Allahabad (Uttar Pradesh)