You are an airplane. Your job is to fly; fly high, as high as you can. It all depends on the design and the material which is used to make you, whether you are a fighter jet, a spacecraft, jumbo jet or simply a glider. But one thing remains common irrespective of the material you are cast from, the purpose of flying, flying higher than the clouds, higher than the imaginations of the ones who envy your beauty, your qualities, and your ability to never stop. But alas! You are packed in a gift box, wrapped in a shiny glittery layer of packing paper which is very hard to tear apart. All this because you are meant to be someone else’s bride. Right from the time you are born you are seen as a burden, because you are a girl, and the only purpose of your life is to marry and then be a food cooking, cloth washing, and sex providing machine. Where the fuel meant for you is designated to be the look of satisfaction on your family members faces, and sometimes when the season is good then a look of satisfaction on the face of your husband as well, for providing him with a good space between your legs whenever and wherever he wants. Oh, you are a girl! And girls are meant to be quiet, always lowering their eyes and crossing their legs whenever they are sitting in public. Oh, you are a girl! And girls are never meant to speak in matters of family and society because they are not meant to be the decision makers, they are just meant to be the home makers. Oh, you are a girl! And you are just meant to be doing things which have never fascinated you because you are not an airplane, just a girl.
The above series of stereotypes mentioned are the ones which the proverbial aeroplane faces while unpacking and when finally, the unpacking is over, the aeroplane herself (accept my apologies for referring aeroplane as a girl because it is just meant for boys) believes that she is only meant to be a girl and not someone who can fly.
One such fine modeled airplane was Phoolan Devi, famously known as the Bandit Queen. Phoolan was born into the mallah (boatmen) caste, in the small village of Ghura Ka Purwa in Jalaun District, Uttar Pradesh. She was the fourth and youngest child of Moola and her husband Devi Din. Only she and one of her sister survived to adulthood. When her paternal grandparents died she was incensed observing how her uncles were claiming the sole ownership of their family land just because her father had no sons. She openly criticized her cousin brothers and took them to court with the help of local NGO for unlawfully claiming rights over the land. But her own father disagreed to recognize her efforts and instead they married her off to a man 3 times her age. This was the of young Phoolan. At her Husband’s, since women were not meant to be outspoken and were meant to just cook meals and provide sex to the husband, she was not accepted and sent back home. At her home, she was treated as a liability and the family just wanted to get rid of her. It was these circumstances that forced her to run away and live the life of a bandit, going on to be the only female in her group.
Due to some infighting in the ranks of her group she and her lover were hunted down; while her lover was killed by members of her own group she was repeatedly RAPED and assaulted. She somehow managed to run away from the group and succeeded in forming her own outfit of bandits. With her own outfit, she then started looting and murdering the upper caste Rajputs who in her opinion were responsible for her sufferings. The Government was by now aware of her rise as the Bandit Queen in the region and the manhunt began. Phoolan Devi finally surrendered before a portrait of Mahatma Gandhi and Goddess Durga, whom she said provided her the power during all her struggles. Later she became an active politician winning and losing from the seats she contested. By now she was a full-fledged airplane who had gained momentum and was an inspiration to numerous girls all around the country to raise their voice against the atrocities faced by them. But as the men never wanted supremacy of the women, it was hard to digest her rise. There was a deep fire burning among the Rajput community to avenge the deaths of the men massacred by the QUEEN. On the 25th July 2001, she was ASSASINATED outside her residence by the bullets she once used to silence her oppressors. It was considered the end of an era. End of the inspiration to many young women who were oppressed and forcefully told to do as the society demands. But what if Phoolan Devi was not oppressed in the first place? What if she was supported by her father? What if her wings were not chopped off? One can only imagine how many lives could have been saved.
Many in the society claim socially that women should be given voices but it is often them who are the first people to suppress the voice of the women. They claim to be the supporters of women but when women rise up in the society all she has to deal with is oppression and the look of disgrace from the society. We are sitting comfortably in urban areas, fighting for the betterment of the women in cities but we ignore the quality of the lifestyle provided to the women in the rural India. The urban population comprises of 31% of the total population of the country and amongst them, the people who are migrating from the rural areas are far higher than the people who are born and raised in the urban backdrop. This does not mean that people living in cities are devoid of the clutches of patriarchy but the point is if the rural population is not ready to accept the model of equality then we are looking at a very turbulent future.
A future full of revolution, a future full of blood flowing by the murders of men and women equally because history has been the best witness. Whenever someone has been oppressed to such a level when the collars of the society do not let them breathe, every time a sword has been raised feasting on the blood of the so-called policy makers of the society. LONG LIVE THE REVOLUTION.
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