A portentous day today?

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Another International Women’s Day dawns upon us but what are our thoughts? For millions of women across the globe this will be just another day of blood, sweat and toil, another day of suffering and sacrifices, another day of abuse, assault, battery, molestations, harassment, rape and murder, another day of the grinding, back-breaking labour and bleeding. These adversities could probably conjure images of women of the most-economically challenged and the most alienated and marginalized sections of society but most of these harsh conditions are also the harsh realities of women in all echelons of the social and economic rung. You see, economic strength, educational qualifications, highly-paid professions and careers and social status, etc are no protective shields against a women’s existence in the patriarchal society. Just the simple fact of being born a woman ignites odium against her ~ and this is evident everyday in all spheres of human interaction, no less in law too. In fact, the culture of patriarchy is so deeply ingrained in the laws of all societies and states that even in the modern era women have to strive and struggle to get our existence as full-fledged human beings ~ entitled equally to all opportunities and resources across the globe ~ acknowledged by the United Nations. The recognition of March 8 every year since over forty years now, as the International Women’s Day is actually a beginning, a milestone towards women’s emancipation from the shackles of patriarchy that bind women. As we can see even in the 21st century, it is not the end and definitely not the culmination of women’s emancipation, much less of equality, justice and respect. In fact, the more there are efforts and endeavours to centre-stage women as full-fledged human beings and acknowledge our personhood, the worse the backlash against us. No, education, economic power, social status, etc., are completely impotent against the discrimination, divisiveness, sexism, misogyny and the like which are deeply-rooted in the ideology and culture of patriarchy. And this ideology and culture of patriarchy is also the source and the foundation of all cultures and religions ~ whether they are ancient or not, whether they are organized or not. Now, coming down to our own situation, the above should explain why Naga women are deliberately and so vehemently excluded from the decision-making process of all issues that pertain to public life ~ this literally means exclusion from everything that determines the quality of women’s lives. Naga men are aggressively assertive that our culture and traditions do not allow women in the decision-making process of public affairs and issues little realizing that they are perpetuating the ideology and culture of patriarchy. Alas, all the economic power, education and social status have not liberated Naga men from the fetters of the small-mindedness and the illogicality of patriarchy. Even more tragic is that despite all their advantages ~ every which way and any which way ~ Naga men have not been able to unchain themselves from the manacles of hatred that the ideology and culture of patriarchy spawns, advocates and propagates in the form of anti-women laws, religions, cultures, customs, traditions, etc. This then obviously casts uncertainty about Naga men’s claims to being Christians ~ for Christ did not discriminate between the sexes. He didn’t discriminate races or anything at all. That the Church remained silent during the anti-women’s reservation riots in early 2017 speaks unambiguously about the Church’s stance on discrimination against Naga women. It may be argued that some Naga women themselves were against women’s reservation in the ULBs but that is understandable because they were also breast-fed with the milk of patriarchy. Besides, even Naga men have a great fear of retaliation so you can imagine how much more this fear haunt Naga women seeing that patriarchal Naga society continues to overwhelm all logic and judgment. But seeing that today, on International Women’s day, a new Government would be sworn in Nagaland ~ albeit it too would be another all-male Government ~ perhaps it is portentous for Naga women? On this very special day for women, we can only pray that the promises the future is said to hold would soon be Naga women’s to hold and have.

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