“Thank you for agreeing to meet with me sir, it’s a great honour to meet you.”
“You’re welcome. And to be honest, I must thank you for calling me out for this meeting. Trust me, I am not made for this retired life. But I know you are a busy man, what brings you to me Kevin?”
“Well sir, my school is arranging a small workshop and sort of a camp on the topic “WOMEN EMPOWERMENT”. It’s an collective effort from the faculty and the students to create awareness and fight against the societal stereotypes regarding gender roles.”
“That sounds great , and definitely a need of the hour. How can I help you in that initiative”?
“I thought it would be really great to have you come to our school and give out a small speech regarding the topic to our parents and students. I mean, you are a true hero, a man who has spent the better part of his life serving the country.”
“I will be honoured. And I am sure I will enjoy getting to meet the youth of today.”
I reached my home and wondered what I should talk about. Then I figured, I should take my inspiration from the real word pertaining to that topic. So I waited till the day arrived, and figured I would speak about the morning headlines and elaborate my thoughts on it.
“Now, please, let’s all stand up and welcome our chief guest, A man who has served our country for 50 years of his life time, a man who has seen everything from kindness to hatred, to love to war, and from birth to death. I feel honoured to welcome him on this day and hear about what he has to say. Let’s welcome Mr Rick Johnson.”
As I planned for, I got the topic for my speech in my morning newspaper. I walk to the podium with all the cheers and applause from the audience, I must say, it finally feels good to reap the benefits of serving the country even when it is a small acknowledgment. I cleared my throat and started my hopefully inspiring and eye opening speech.
“A college girl sexually harassed and assaulted by a gang of men”.
That’s the morning headlines I come across when I am sipping my cut of coffee.
I wish I could say that such news are a rare occurrence in our society, but is it? Saying yes to that question is simply nothing but fooling yourself. It has become such a common occurrence in today’s society that we see such news and flip the pages. Why do we do it? Because our mind doesn’t react to anything that happens on a regular basis.
Wondering why I care so much about all this? First of all, I am a man . And second of all, I am not any man but a militant. My specialization is in combat fighting and training. I am retired now for a few years, can’t say the retired life has been too kind to me, but I have been looking forward to this particular day for a long time. The reason is simple. I served our nation, protected our people, but now I got nothing to do since I am out of the force. I can read about the atrocities that happen in our society and swear at those responsible for creating such a monstrous activity, but how does it really help? It benefits no one.
But here, I see a room filled with young intellectual girls and boys. A room full of people aspiring to become whatever they wanted to become. I also see those parents brimming with pride in what their children has achieved. Such a happy sight. While it is absolutely your right to follow your heart and your dreams, it is your duty as a citizen to pay attention to the wrong doings in the society. It may not affect you directly, but one day it will, because you are a part of it when you ignore it.
Coming to the topic, that is the “WOMEN EMPOWERMENT”. Now, at first , I am going to ask the parents in this particular room, an important question.
“How many of you parents have placed your daughter in a martial arts or some sort of a self defense class?”
It was just as I expected, no one raised their hand.
“Alright. How many of you parents have placed your daughter in some sort of a fine arts class such as music, dancing, drawing etc?”.
Around 80% of the parents rose their hands.
“Now, from this response , I can only infer that you parents prioritize the music, dance abilities of your daughters rather than their safety in the society.”
“Now, that statement would be offending to many of you. I will tell you why it shouldn’t be. You are all well aware of the malicious atrocities that surround the girls in the modern day. And yet, instead of helping your girls equipping with necessary self defence skills to protect herself in unforeseen and unfortunate situations, you go ahead and place her in a music and dance class, which to my knowledge, won’t help her to escape from a bad situation.”
I am not arguing that fine arts are vain. I am only arguing that fine arts is an additional learning curve, while self defence must be a basic learning curve. When a girl can protect herself, when she has that confidence and when she doesn’t have to rely on anyone else to come save her , that’s when the true empowerment comes in. The first step of empowerment is becoming independent, and in my opinion, the basic form of independent feeling comes from knowing that you can take care of yourself.
We all come across horrendous injustice done to girls on a regular basis, and we feel for it, and we blame someone else for not bringing the change. In my opinion, as a parent, it is your duty to equip your children with the skills that is required in the real word. When you deprive your daughters the ability to defend themselves, you are not giving them a chance to help themselves or others in a given situation. And worse, it makes you a hypocrite. You want to eradicate violence against women, but you won't equip your daughter to overcome the same violence. Now to me, that's hypocrisy at it's peak. You can’t expect a child to start scribbling unless you give them a pen or a sketch. You can’t expect a girl to fight back unless you give her a chance to.
This is a great day, and we are all here to bring about a change. Now let the first step be a firecracker. Music, dance are all good, but self defence is the need of the hour. I sincerely hope that this message reaches the masses and it brings about a change.”