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Feminism - does this term sound like men and women always have to be at loggerheads.

By Sonam Pattnaik

Feminism - what does the term actually mean? It means the advocacy of women rights on the basis of equality of sexes. But some propagandist organisations have made it look like war of the sexes.

First of all, let me tell you why the need for feminism and why the need to fight for the liberation of women. Because history is witness to the fact that women have by and large been treated as secondary creatures. Whether it be in family, society or at workplace. Their needs, wants or desires were never prioritised. Women were always expected to sacrifice for the sake of family. And sometimes even from a very young age.

And lately the common conception has become that men are the wrongdoers against women. But why just men. Some women also treat other weaker women badly. But these days the regular agenda by certain propagandist organisations make it appear like men are women's biggest foe. And I stand to disagree.

I agree that to some extent society 's perception of monstrous men is right. Some men do treat women as lowly creatures and there are many heart wrenching stories of the atrocities meted out to women by men. But at the same time there are also evil women ill-treating other innocent women.

So making it a war between man vs woman seems a bit unfair. Because women have received unfair treatment by both men and women alike.

But we can't picture men as all black. The truth is that without the support of some strong men, women couldn't have successfully come so far. Whether it be a strong man in your family like your father, brother, friend or husband. Or be it a larger social figure like Raja Ram Mohan Roy or Rabindra Nath Tagore.

So in this article, I want to emphasize that no doubt there are many ghastly men in our surroundings and their number is also plenty. But that doesn't mean we can demonize entire community of men. And it would be an injustice and disrespect to our fathers, brothers or husbands who might have contributed in making our world pleasant and more beautiful.

So today here I would like to share the name of few great men who have actually helped champion the cause of women rights and made this fight a success. Who have helped lift the shadow under which women were forced to live for ages.

I would like to begin by talking about Raja Ram Mohan Roy - a great social reformer who advocated widow remarriage and abolished Sati custom.

Then there was Rabindranath Tagore who wrote women centric stories and depicted the plight of women in those days. It helped in social awakening.

Mahatma Gandhi tried to give women a voice by empowering them politically and socially.

Our constitution makers, some of whom were also men made it essential to include very powerful rights for women in the constitution to ensure gender equality and protect girls against bias.

Judge Ravindra Kumar Pandey recently gave a historic judgement by acquitting Priya Ramani in a defamation case by a very powerful man. This emboldened women to speak up against the wrong done to them.

Malala Yousufzai's father stood like a rock with her in her fight against Taliban.

Sabitri Bai Phule could not have succeeded in pursuing her mission of women education without the support of her husband Jyotiba Phule.

Last but not the least I want to thank my father and my uncle. Let me tell you how my father has helped further the fight of women for equality. When my father wanted to give higher education to my elder sister, there were some opposing voices within the family who mocked his courage to dream big for his daughter despite being a mere bank clerk. They told him -" How much money have you got saved that you plan on higher educating your girl. You have to save for her marriage also."

Let me tell you not only did my sister complete her higher education and proved true to her father's expectations. She also bought her own jewelleries on her wedding.

Lesson - my father gave a powerful message - " Instead of saving for her marriage, invest in her education. Then she can herself buy her own jewelleries - which my sister actually did". And I must proudly say it was because of one proud father who believed in his daughter and didn't let financial constraints become a hurdle in her reaching to her dreams.

And my dear uncle. Even after my father is no more, I still have a father always around to listen to me, to guide me, to give me valuable life lessons and also to provide for me. Such is the love in his heart and his selflessness.

So I want to tell that there will always be two kinds of men. One who treat women right and make them feel good about themselves. And on the other hand there are men who push the women to the state of cursing themselves for being a girl.

Whilst we have to be wary and fight with all our grit and might to free society of such hideous criminals. We must also take our time to thank those who are also there for us. Believe me such talks of battle against men raged by women propagandist is hurting our good friends. So let us check such talks be it in television discussions or in our daily lives.

Women and men can be friends. They don't have to be at each other's throats at all times. And portraying the world as such is just a propaganda based on the motives of such organisation who aim to gain something out of creating enmity among the two genders. And we don't have to fall prey to their tactics. We must not forget that one guy friend who stood with us when we were feeling low or who walked with us till our house because it was getting dark. Or our fathers who mortgage everything for our education. It is time we once thank the men in our lives for their contribution in making our lives more joyous, peaceful and vibrant.

By Sonam Pattnaik

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