International Women's Day : RPF bats for gender equality
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, March 07 2013: Following the UN declaration of 1975 as the International Year of Women, March 8 is being observed as International Women's Day every year across the world.

According to a statement issued by RPF publicity secretary Roben Khuman, even as women have gone a long way in their struggle for equality with men, according to Manu verse of Hinduism, women could be burnt alive while cows were worshipped.

Shastrakara Manu also said "women must be carefully guarded at all stages in their lives".

Such beliefs and doctrines gave rise to the evil practices of Sati system, killing for dowry and now female foeticide.

While discussing International Women's Day, it would be helpful to study women's liberation movements or the feminist movement.

After the alleged annexation of Manipur into the Indian Union in 1949, the Government of India has been exploiting Manipuri women in the same way European women were suppressed in the 18th century.

It is generally accepted that status of women determines civilizational stage of a society and the momentous contributions of women in the evolvement of Manipuri nation and society are clearly written in the history of the land.

It is the mothers/women who would groom future pillars of the nation but in Manipur, the Government of India has been scheming to repress Manipuri with a design to incapacitate them from grooming worthy sons and daughters, it alleged.

Just as Mary Wollston Craft wrote in her book 'A Vindication Right of the Freedom', women can enjoy respectable position in the society only when the society enjoys political freedom.

With Manipuri women living under an alien rule, they are being denied many fundamental rights and they are not placed in any position of respect and dignity.

Female literacy rate of Manipur is 73 per cent and unemployment rate among Manipuri women is 82 per cent.

Majority of the Manipuri women are enduring economic hardships which implies that there is no social or economic freedom for women in a society which is reeling under foreign rule, it asserted.

There have been many cases of rape, rape plus murder, molestation and physical assault on Manipuri women by the Indian military personnel.

Even as many Manipuri women have won accolades and achieved outstanding feats in the fields of sports, culture, education etc, they are not respected by the Indian people.

Whereas Sharmila's more than a decade old fast unto death failed to prick the conscience of Indian public, Anna Hazare's two-day fast was enough to create political turbulence throughout India, it remarked.

Not a single mainland Indian has come out openly in support to Sharmila's unprecedented campaign, it said.

While many women who were taken in by the cajolery of the Indian military have been ruined for life, many men who were handed over to the Indian military by their own parents have been killed.

Now, the atmosphere is filled with cries and pangs of a number of widows and children whose husbands/fathers have been killed by security forces.

The root cause for the social crimes against women as witnessed in Manipur is the socio-cultural-economic system of India where there is no place for justice.

It is crucial to introspect and see whether Manipuri women are enjoying the freedom and rights entitled to other women of the world.

It's time for all Manipuri women to identify who are friends and who are foes.

Manipuri women need to take a firm resolution not to put any faith in the electoral politics of India and also stay away from it.

Manipuri women ought to reaffirm their conviction towards the freedom struggle and stay away from any kind of Civic Action Programme initiated by the Indian military.

It would be impossible to bring women to any dignified position until and unless the nation is independent.

On the occasion of the International Women's Day, RPF appealed to all women of Manipur to come forward and share their responsibilities in the war of liberation being spearheaded by the outfit.

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